After the oil change, I drove around and felt that the car seemed slightly lower on power and that the noises it made were also slightly different. I wasn't sure if something was truly wrong with my car of it I was just paranoid, but I spent the next hour reading up on it (1/3rd of that time while on the toilet).
One common reason for a lack of power for my Subaru seemed to be piston ringland cracking, which was a costly thing to fix. Other symptoms of piston ringland cracks were:
- Low power - I had this issue
- Not reaching target boost of 14.5psi (or 0.1MPA) - I had this issue
- Rough idle
- Smoke upon startup and acceleration
- Car taking oil (engine oil seems to disappear, some say as much as a quart per 100 miles)
- Check engine light
Being paranoid, I also thought I began to see some smoke from the tailpipe when I started the car, but I couldn't be sure if it was just condensation or vapor.
Anyway, I ended up googling the heck out of it, and there's one forum where another Subaru driver asked how many miles have people driven with a cracked piston ring. (Because I wanted to see how bad it can get if a cracked piston ringland was indeed my problem, since I'm in no financial condition to replace the engine short block).
Some answers were quite cautious:
"I wouldn't drive it at all personally. Sure you can drive the car but you risk making things worse. When mine went i drove it home and parked it until i was ready to replace the pistons"
Others were more adventurous:"I had 2 cracked ringland on my 2011 at 12,000 miles and drove 2 months, ate almost two quarts of oil and liked to backfire and idle rough sometimes. Currently in process of a rebuild."
"cracked mine last sept and drove it till march. drove it everyday as well. was at 65lbs of comp on #4"
"Just passed 3000 miles. Still no symptoms except blowby -- the CEL even stopped for the past several days"
And then there's this BAMF who just DGAF:"My 99 2.2 wagon had cracked ringlands when I bought it, went through a quart of oil a week but just kept an eye on it every time I got gas I checked the oil. Drove it regularly for 40k or so with no change. Ive torn down several EJ20 and EJ25 blocks to find many cracked ringlands. Never did they ever dislodge. I just scrapped a heap of 20 or so cracked pistons. lol."
So it kinda put me at ease. I'll just wait it out until the symptoms become undeniably overwhelming.