How to Prime Your Subaru Oil Pump and Boost Engine Performance: A Step-by-Step DIY Guide

If you are a Subaru car owner who is passionate about maintaining your vehicle’s performance through DIY maintenance, then it is crucial to know how to prime your Subaru oil pump properly. By doing so, you can ensure that your Subaru’s engine has optimal oil pressure, which can lead to better horsepower, fuel efficiency, and engine longevity.

In this article, we will guide you through every step of the process so that you can keep your Subaru running smoothly for years to come. We will also provide you with some expert tips on how to maintain your vehicle’s oil system to prevent future problems. Let’s begin!

How Does an Oil Pump Work?

Before we dive into the priming process, let’s take a quick look at how an oil pump works. The oil pump is a critical component of your Subaru’s engine, as it is responsible for circulating oil throughout the engine at the correct pressure.

The oil pump typically consists of a rotor assembly that has two rotors that mesh together inside a housing. As the rotors spin, they create a vacuum that draws oil from the oil pan and pushes it into the engine’s oil galleries. The oil then lubricates critical engine components like the bearings, camshaft, and pistons, ensuring that they operate smoothly and efficiently.

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Signs That Indicate a Problem with the Oil Pump

Most Subarus have an oil pressure gauge on the dashboard that will give you an indication of how the oil system is performing. If the gauge needle is too low or fluctuating constantly, then it may be an indication that your Subaru’s oil pump is not working correctly. Other signs of a faulty oil pump may include knocking or ticking sounds from the engine, increased engine wear, and reduced fuel efficiency.

Why Is Priming Your Subaru Oil Pump Necessary?

Priming your Subaru oil pump is necessary because it ensures that there is oil in the pump before it starts running. When you change your vehicle’s oil or replace your oil filter, it creates an air pocket in the oil pump that needs to be flushed out before the pump can function correctly. Failing to prime the oil pump can cause significant damage to your engine.

Steps to Prime Your Subaru Oil Pump

Now that you understand why priming your Subaru oil pump is necessary, let’s explore the step-by-step process. We recommend using a priming tool that is specifically designed for Subaru engines. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Prepare your Vehicle

Ensure that your Subaru’s engine is cold and have all the necessary tools and equipment ready. You will need a priming tool, fresh oil, and an oil filter.

Step 2: Remove the Oil Filter

Remove the old oil filter and replace it with a new one. Be sure to lubricate the new oil filter’s gasket with a small amount of fresh oil before installing it. This step helps to prevent oil leaks and makes it easy to remove the filter during the next oil change.

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Step 3: Insert the Priming Tool

Insert the priming tool into the oil pump and attach it to a drill. Ensure that the priming tool is secured correctly to prevent any oil leaks during the process.

Step 4: Prime the Oil Pump

Turn on the drill and run it at low to medium speed. Let the drill run for around two to three minutes, ensuring that the priming tool is still securely attached to the drill. The oil pressure gauge should start to show an increase in oil pressure as the pump is primed.

Step 5: Fill the Engine with Fresh Oil

Once the oil pump is primed, add fresh oil to your Subaru’s engine. Use the correct grade of oil as specified in your owner’s manual. Fill the engine with the recommended amount of oil, and check the oil level using the dipstick.

Step 6: Start the Engine

Start your Subaru’s engine and let it idle for a few minutes. Check the oil pressure gauge to ensure that the oil pressure is within the normal range. Rev the engine a few times and let it idle again. Recheck the oil pressure gauge to ensure that there are no fluctuations.

Tips on Proper Maintenance of the Oil System

After priming your Subaru oil pump, it is essential to maintain your vehicle’s oil system to prevent future problems. Regular oil changes, using the right type of oil, and replacing the oil filter at every oil change can extend your engine’s life and improve its performance. Check the oil level every few weeks and keep an eye out for any leaks or signs of engine wear.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often should I prime my Subaru oil pump?
A: Ideally, you should prime your Subaru oil pump every time you change your oil or replace the oil filter.

Q: Can I prime my Subaru oil pump without a priming tool?
A: It is possible to prime a Subaru oil pump without a priming tool, but we recommend using a priming tool to ensure that the process is done correctly.

Q: What happens if I don’t prime my Subaru oil pump?
A: Failing to prime your Subaru oil pump can cause serious damage to your engine, including increased wear, reduced fuel efficiency, and reduced power output.


Priming your Subaru oil pump is a simple but crucial process to maintain your vehicle’s engine performance. By following the steps outlined in this article and maintaining your oil system regularly, you can keep your Subaru running like a charm for years to come. Remember to always refer to your owner’s manual and use the correct grade of oil to maximize your Subaru’s performance and longevity.

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Billy Covington

With a passion for all things automotive, Billy is our go-to expert on Subaru performance upgrades and modifications. He's been featured in several car magazines and blogs, and his extensive knowledge and expertise make him a valuable member of our team. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys playing guitar and writing music.

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