Subaru Wheel Bearing Repairs | Subaru Service, New Haven, CT

All You Need to Know About Subaru Wheel Bearing Repair and Replacement

Subaru wheel bearing replacement is a common requirement especially for older Subaru models that don't have the type 2 bearing design. Although wheel bearings tend to last a long time, it's always a good idea to take your car into service if you suspect that there might be a problem and you experience strange noises while driving around. Wheel bearing problems can sometimes be hard to diagnose, and while your car can still run for months without anything happening - other than the noise gets louder - it's still a good idea to make sure you have your wheel bearings replaced at the right time.

What Is a Subaru Wheel Bearing and Why Do You Need It?

So, what is a wheel bearing anyway, and how can you tell if you might need to replace it in your Subaru car? Wheel bearings are essentially components that facilitate the smooth functioning of your car's wheels with minimal friction. They are similar to common ball bearings, featuring a mechanical system made up of metal balls that are encased in a ring called a "race" and sealed inside a container that prevents water contamination. Typically, there is no maintenance required for your Subaru wheel bearings, but a replacement is usually needed after 100,000 miles of driving.

Subaru features two different types of wheel bearings, and your model might have one or the other, depending on how old it is. The first type is simple in its construction, and it is common for most Subaru cars that were built before the year of 2006 and after 1991. This is a three-piece wheel bearing that features an outer shell cone and is pressed in using specialized equipment. After the mid-2000s, most Subaru cars no longer had this type of bearing, as it was considered obsolete.

If you got a car from your Subaru dealer that's from 2006 or newer, then you might find that fixing a wheel bearing problem is much less tedious. The type 2 bearing replaced the type 1 successfully, as it had a much stronger integrated wheel bearing with more expensive, but easier to replace hub assemblies. This bearing is not serviceable, and has to be replaced as soon as something is wrong with it. The advantage is, however, that in this case, bearing replacement is much cheaper, and the labor required is far less difficult as well.

The Need for Professional Wheel Bearing Repair

The problem with fixing or replacing wheel bearings as a DIY practice is that the work will take a long time, and it will rarely be just a walk in the park. Even for newer models, experts recommend taking them to a Subaru service, since the wheel assembly is so complex that you'll have to remove a significant number of small parts just to get to the bearing. Replacing it and putting everything back together can be a real nightmare.

The more difficult task is repairing older, type 1 Subaru bearings, if you don't want to get a new one. While Subaru experts can perform the work extremely efficiently, the labor costs are high, as they require repacking with grease using specialized equipment. Replacing them is also difficult, especially when a new bearing is fitted to a worn out assembly - in which case, the repair would not last long. Experienced Subaru specialists will be able to detect such risks and act accordingly to notify you that the assembly may have to be replaced as well.

Finally, keep in mind that, even though there are affordable wheel bearings that would fit your Subaru, these are typically made from flimsier materials than the originals, and they won't last long. Your best bet is to consult your local experts and get the best Subaru wheel bearing out there, which, although more expensive, will last you for another 100,000 miles or more.

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