2010 Subaru Outback: First Oil Change

The odometer on the Outback turned over to 4400 miles, so I decided it was time for its first oil change.  The following post is how to change to oil in a 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i…or at least how I did it.
What you will need
  • Oil Filter, Subaru PN 15208AA12A, I used Purolator L14612 because there are no local Subaru dealerships
  • 4.2 quarts of 5W-30 oil, actually you need 4 liters but oil is sold by the quart in the US
  • Funnel
  • 14mm wrench
  • Oil Drain Pan
What might be helpful
Step One: Do not warm up the engine
With most vehicles I would recommend running the engine for a few minutes to warm up the engine so the oil drains easier.  On the Outback, and I assume most other 2.5L Subarus, the exhaust is routed around the filter so if it is hot it will most likely burn the crap out of your hand.  Removing the fill cap will also allow the oil to drain faster.
Step Two: Find the oil filter and drain plug
This is not hard, the drain plug is the first thing you will see.  The oil filter is just forward of the drain plug, as I mentioned, surrounded by the exhaust.
Step Three: Drain Oil
I was able to get the drain pan and myself under the car without lifting the front end…barely.  If you want more room to work, lift the front end up on a set of  jack stands, refer to owners manual for lifting points .  Use a 14mm wrench to break loose the drain plug, if this is the first time the oil has been changed it may be incredibly tight.  Once the plug is loose, make sure the drain pan is positioned to catch the oil and remove the plug the rest of the way by hand.  You will get oil on your hand.  Once all the oil is drained, reinstall the plug.  It is recommended that the crush washer be replace at every oil change.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t replace mine but if you notice oil on the plug before removing it or drops of oil on the concrete it should be replaced.  Torque drain plug to 33 ft-lbs, if you don’t have a torque wrench just make sure it is good and tight, but don’t kill yourself trying to tighten it you could damage the threads.
Step Four: Remove Oil Filter
Position the drain pan under the oil filter and  unscrew the filter by hand.  Again if this is the first oil change the filter may be incredibly tight.  This is were lifting the front and using a socket type oil filter wrench would be a good idea, of course that isn’t what I did.
I didn’t want to lift the car or buy a wrench so I end up struggling more than I needed to.  I couldn’t get the filter loose with my hand so I put a hole in the bottom with a punch and hammer to let the oil drain out of the filter, this is a trick to relieve any pressure in the filter so it is easier to loosen…it did work.  Next I use a set of channel lock pliers to squeeze the filter, which shot more oil out of the hole, and twist. After a few tries the filter came loose, note the carnage I inflicted on the filter in the header photo…but I digress.
After loosening the filter unscrew and remove, your hand will end up covered in oil.
Step Five: Install New Oil Filter
Before cleaning off your oily hand, take a finger and rub oil on the seal of the new oil filter.  This lubricates and helps it seal properly.  Spin filter back on until it stops then tighten one full turn.
Step Six: Add Oil
Pour in 4.2 quarts of 5W-30 oil, just eyeball the .2 quarts.  As far as I can find Subaru does not recommend a certain brand of oil, I prefer Castrol GTX standard oil, there are a number of good oils out there.  Be sure to pick a name brand, there is a difference.  I also recommend using a small funnel to prevent spilling.  Put the fill cap back in place, start the engine and let it run for about a minute.  Turn off the engine, pull the dipstick and check the oil level, add oil if needed.
Step Seven: Change Air Filter
I always change the air filter when I change the oil.  There is not much to it, just unclip the air box, pull out the filter and install the new one.  It does take a little wrestling with the box to get it open enough to remove the filter.  Also make sure to unclip the coolant overflow hose from the box, not sure why they do that.
All said and done it only took about 30 minutes, and with the right tools even the inexperienced Outback owner can make a big oily mess in the garage…I mean change the oil.


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6 Responses to “2010 Subaru Outback: First Oil Change”

  1. DIY 2.5 2011 oil change?? - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums Says:

    […] probably have already done it, but I found this guy's instructions and pics very helpful. 2010 Subaru Outback: First Oil Change Frozenrobot Subies are easy as **** to change oil/filter. My old Impreza 2.5RS was even easier than the 2010 […]

  2. Jamie Lyne Says:

    Cool and in depth article. I liked it very much. I liked how you hit many topics that many people have questions too. Also, this whole site is pretty cool so I will more than likely be back.

    Keep provided great information.

    Thanks and take care.



  3. Kyle Says:

    Thanks for your how-to. I went to change the oil in my 2010 outback for the first time and couldn’t find the filter for the life of me. Your pictures were very helpful.

  4. Ethan Says:

    Thanks so much for an excellent how-to guide! Well organized and very helpful. Can’t believe I have been paying for oil changes since I bought my Subaru. Thanks for taking the time to create this!

  5. DIY: Gen 4 2.5L Oil & Filter Change - Page 3 - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums Says:

    […] I did some web surfing and found this website that details an oil change for a 2010 Outback: 2010 Subaru Outback: First Oil Change | Frozenrobot And this pic of the oil drain plug: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanfr…7623724164870/ And […]

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