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Drivers who ignore their engine oil lights do so at great risk. Why? Running low – or completely out of – motor oil can be very dangerous. At a minimum, drivers with low oil run the risk of their engines being worn out much sooner than it would be when operated with an appropriate oil level. And, running out of oil can ruin an engine forever.

Despite the importance of maintaining proper amount of engine oil, some research suggests that more than a quarter of all cars are driven with low oil levels. Many owners wait until the red light appears on their dashboard before thinking to check their oil. Sadly, engine damage has already occurred before the red light flashes or remains on.

You should pay particular attention to engine oil if your vehicle is one of several manufactured by Subaru, including Legacy, Forester, Outback, Impreza and XV Crosstrek. Many owners of these vehicles have registered complaints of excessive oil consumption, despite regular oil changes.

Checking oil levels at least one time each week can help prevent engine damage to your vehicle. Follow these steps to safely check your oil:

  1. Park you vehicle on level ground
  2. Make sure your transmission is in “park” and set the parking brake
  3. Stop the engine
  4. Wait several minutes to let the oil drain from the engine
  5. Pull the oil dipstick and wipe it clean
  6. Insert dipstick and pull out again
  7. Confirm that the oil level is between the “low” and “full” marks on the dipstick
  8. If the oil level is below the “low” mark, add oil and visit a qualified oil change mechanic as soon as possible