I changed the oil on my wife’s Forester for the first time over the weekend. We let the dealer do it while it was still under warranty... I also decided to order an oil analysis kit from Blackstone Laboratories. The forester has always “used” a little oil so I figured it would be worth the $28 bucks to find out if anything seems a miss.

The Blackstone kit comes with an oil sample bottle, absorbent cloth, plastic bag, forms, windshield sticker, and instructions all packed neatly into a larger bottle. The kit itself is free, you pay when you send in the sample for analysis. You get the sample from the middle of the stream, cap off the smaller bottle, put it in the bag wrapped with the absorbent cloth, stick that in the larger bottle, fill out the form, and stick in your mailbox. Really easy.


I have changed the oil in 3/4 cars now. The M3 is the most complicated because I have to use ramps, remove a panel on the bottom and the filter is in a slightly awkward location. Don’t get me wrong this is still a really easy change but the other cars are easier so I have to stretch it as far as I can. The most painful part here is the price of the oil.

The 02 I can do without ramps even though it is very low. The drain plug is looking you right in the face as you look under the front bumper and I have fashioned a funnel type thing that hooks to my catch pan. The oil filter is angled perfectly to be able to be removed by hand. Again the oil is a little on the pricey side. I go for the Brand Penn (green oil) for around $7 a bottle. The car takes 4.5.

The Forester is hilariously easy. Made even easier by the techs at Subaru who decided not to replace the plastic cover for the oil drain...Thanks... I know some Subaru filters are deep in the heat shield minefield, not mine. It’s just sitting up there like an upside down cup. I had to use a pipe wrench to to get this one off. WTF happened to “hand tight”!?

I went with Idemitsu oil, which I have never heard of before, but was well reviewed, and cheap. Stuck with the Subaru Filter and a new crush washer.


I decided to quickly look at the steps for the Alltrack. I think this one is the easiest. The pan and plug are plastic, you don’t have to remove any splash guards, and the plug requires 1/2 turn before it pops out. The filter is in a similar location to the Subaru...This is another car I can do on the ground.


Anybody else have a particularly easy or particularly difficult oil change?

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