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2015 Subaru Outback - High Cost of Rear Wheel Bearings

Dear Car Talk:

I read with interest your discussion about replacing the front wheel bearings on a 2015 Subaru Outback that appeared in my local newspaper (Providence Journal) on September 22, 2019. Recently I replaced the rear wheel bearings on my 2015 Outback to the tune of about $850. I brought the car to a dealer for repair, thinking that the rear humming noise might be related to a drive-train problem still covered by warranty. The cost seems excessive to me for what was once a “routine repair,” but admittedly I do not know if repairing Subaru’s all-wheel drive system involves extra labor costs that justify the repair bill. Any comments you may have on the amount of this repair bill will be greatly appreciated.

The bearings run $100 for a Timkin to $162 for a Moog on Rockauto. so $200 to $324 for just the parts alone. A dealer is likely more so figure $400.

A lot of parts need to come off before getting to the bearings. Even more on the AWD models. Maybe 2.5 book hours for the job at $150 a shop hour (I am guessing high because RI dealer labor rates) So now we are at $775 plus 10% sales tax and shop misc, bolts, nuts ect. and we are right there at $850

What would you have done if I said I’d have swapped them for $450? Be upset? Complain to the dealer? If you want a lower price, shop around. The dealer is likely not the place to find the lowest price and you don’t have to take 4 year old car there. The dealer DOES have to pay for that nice waiting room with free snacks somehow!

I just looked up the 2015 Subaru power train warranty, it is 5 Years and 60000 miles and the wheel bearings are included.

The hub and bearing ass’y is replaced as a unit apparently, about $200 each.

Their not called Stealerships for nothing. As a general rule of thumb. In warranty go to the dealer, out of warranty, go anywhere but the dealer.

My independent mechanic replaced the front wheel bearings on my 2000 Blazer for ~$800 back in 2005. The dealer would have been at least $300 more. The entire hub with the ABS sensor is replaced as a unit.

Ed B.

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