2010 Subaru Forester - Rear bearings

We have a 2010 Subaru Forester, with about 135K miles. We took it in for a front brake job, and the tech told us he heard “bearing noise” coming from the rear axle area. Has anyone had to have bearing assemblies replaced at this point? We were told each assembly (2 per side) is $230. Ouch!

135,000 miles is a good life for bearings.


And $230 a side doesn’t seem so high to me for a car repair at 135K.


No necessity to replace both bearings if only one is noisy.


I vote totally normal as well. Is the loud side the curb side? Usually they are the first to go. Potholes I guess.

1 Like

This is a common Subaru problem. The sound gradually gets worse over time, so maybe you’re used to it. But I agree, it’s normally just one side. Are you noticing any unusual noise?

Curbside because road water, salt, sand and dirt is collected on the curbside of road.

1 Like

Thanks for the info…and, frankly, this car has been so prone to transmitting/magnifying road noise from the start that, no, we have not noticed anything unusual, but we’re going to find a quiet stretch of pavement where we can get up to 40 mph, as the tech recommended, and listen. I suppose this is at the point–since we are not millionaires–of wondering how we can measure just when real damage to the car will be happening.

If there is any noise, replace that side’s bearing. Sitting in the back seat helps figure out which side. They can go from noisy to BAD pretty quickly.

There is only one assembly per wheel, you have to replace the whole hub assembly. It has two bearing assemblies in it. They run $82 to $100 each at Rock Auto so the quote you got installed sounds about right for each wheel.

If you have watched any car races, you see at the beginning while they are following the pace car, they will swerve back and forth. Find a safe place to do this and do it at around 55 mph. If you hear a rumbling or propeller like sound, or a growl and it gets louder going from one side to the other, you can determine which side of the car the bad bearing is on. Going left, you put more weight on the right side and if it gets noisier then, the bad bearing is on the right side. Just figure out is it front or rear.

If it gets louder when you swerve in both directions but a little quiter going straight, both side are bad. I’m guessing this is another Subaru thing. I usually get 250k+ miles out of wheel bearing but my 2014 Legacy is starting to make noise from the rear, both sides at only 105k miles.

GREAT INFO… I appreciate it… 'will copy this out and try it! Yeah, when the service manager described the assembly, I was trying to match that to the last time I did bearings ('70s), so to make sense of it mentally, I’m imagining an “inner” and an “outer” assembly, and he was quoting over $200 apiece. Can you get genuine Subaru parts thru Rock Auto? If so, I may order my own, as opposed to the dealer using Napa. 'Will look up the assembly drawing myself. Thanks again!

Thanks very much for your replies! As to the parts cost, I was getting that the cost would be TWO TIMES $230 (plus labor), for one side.

i would say show me! have tech demonstrate the noise.

But now you know it’s just one required, right? Looks like this:

I guess how long wheel bearings last varies car to car. Both front bearings on my Rabbit gave up the ghost at less than 100K. Contrast that with original wheel bearings at over 200K on both my current vehicles, Ford truck and Corolla. One thing that definitely damages wheel bearings is when they get wet. Shops will often have a run of complaints about wheel bearings about 6 months after the local area was subjected to flooding. Driving in standing water deep enough to get into the hubs is best avoided if you want to maximize the life of the wheel bearings.

Let the dealer supply the bearings. If you have a problem right after, they will fix it. If you supply the bearings, they will blame you for getting bad bearings and won’t fix it.

The two per side could have meant two per side of the car, one for the front wheel and one for the rear. More likely the mechanic or service advisor meant two per vehicle for each part number. The front and rear are different. $230 per wheel installed would be a good price as it doesn’t take long when you replace the whole hub assembly. Although the $230 could be the parts cost per assembly and labor would be extra, totalling upwards of $350-400 per wheel. Get a complete estimate. BTW hubs are usually replaced in pairs, both front or both rear.

1 Like

That only happens when the mechanic replaces the wrong hub and bearing on the first repair attempt. I have never replaced hubs in pairs, why replace a good hub and bearing assembly?

If the hubs are near the end of their expected service life, why would you replace them one at a time? If there is an early failure, then I would only replace the one, but otherwise I’d replace the pair.

1 Like

The “end of the expected service life” is subjective. Some cars may need 2 wheel bearings at 40,000 miles, while other cars may need only one wheel bearing during the life of the vehicle and most vehicles will never need a wheel bearing replacement.

The wonderful world of Subaru may be different from the rest of the vehicle manufactures, they seem to have a lot of complaints and warranty extensions for wheel bearings.
Also with some vehicles the hub is reused with a wheel bearing replacement.

I think we live in an age of unrealistic expectations when people are obsessing about replacing a wheel bearing after 19 years and 135000 miles.