The driveline begins with the engine and ends with the wheel bearings. Wheel bearings do their job in the background and are not noticed until they start to wear. If maintenance is delayed too long catastrophic failure could result and a wheel could become detached from the car.
Subaru's AWD system is precisely balanced and has helped make Subaru a leader in motorsports, especially rallying. The excellent roadholding and cornering capability of Subarus means that owners tend to drive them a little more spiritedly than average and the lateral forces generated when cornering tend to wear the wheel bearings.
Type 1: All Subarus from 1991 to 2006 used the same three-piece wheel bearing. These contain a roller bearing with an outer shell cone and are pressed in with specialised equipment. They require repacking with grease when repaired. These were a very reliable unit until later models, particularly Forester models, where these bearing have given some problems. Replacement of these units is labour intensive, and there are traps for the unwary. If a new bearing is fitted to a worn or damaged hub the repair will not last long. Many workshops have made this error leading to a high level of customer dissatisfaction. All Drive Subaru carefully inspect all three components of the early wheel bearing assemblies to ensure a reliable repair.
Type 2: Since the mid-2000s Subaru models have been fitted with robust integrated wheel bearing and hub assemblies that are easier to replace, but more expensive. When replacement is required, the integrated unit incorporates a new hub and bearing. The bearing is not serviceable. Replacement is easier, requiring fewer tools and a much simpler procedure. Labour costs are low, but overall costs are higher compared with replacement of the bearing only. Virtually all auto manufacturers have moved to this wheel bearing design.
Subaru wheel bearings are part of an integrated assembly that includes the bearing and hub and knuckle. At assembly Subaru wheel bearings are packed with heavy lubricating grease and sealed. But if the seal wears or splits and contaminants get in, the lubricating grease turns into a kind of grinding paste causing the bearings to overheat and fail. Alternatively, the wheel bearing just wears with age and the bearing surfaces become pitted, generating heat and noise.
Warning: there are many parts distributors using after-market Chinese sourced wheel bearing assemblies. While much cheaper, the quality is poor and many of these units fail catastrophically in a short time. At ADS we use only genuine Subaru wheel bearing assemblies.
Wheel bearing noises can be subtle, perhaps a rhythmic grinding sound that varies with the speed of the car, or the car might not always steer straight if a front wheel bearing is badly worn. The noise you hear might be louder when cornering. Locating and eliminating vibrations and noises in a Subaru powertrain, especially AWD models, is a mix of science and art requiring specialized tools and skills plus a certain “feel” for the car in motion. ADS has the most skilled and experienced Subaru specialists in the business and all necessary parts in stock. Whatever model Subaru you drive, we can smooth it out for you. We use only OEM Subaru wheel bearings.
Subaru replacement wheel bearings or assembly kits can be installed to most Subaru models within one (1) day at our Subaru workshop in Peakhurst. We can provide loan vehicles for your convenience. A complimentary car wash is included after a comprehensive Subaru quality inspection, conducted by a senior Subaru mechanic before you collect your Subaru vehicle.
If you're good with tools and want to replace the Subaru air compressor or evaporator kit yourself then we can supply you with all the necessary Subaru air conditioning parts, compressors, TX valves, evaporators and hoses. Our Subaru parts online website also offers a comprehensive range of new, pre-loved and reconditioned Subaru parts sourced locally and internationally. Our skilled technical staff will match you to the best part, at the best price. We will also provide technical advice and assistance in the installation of your parts.