Bad rear wheel bearings both wheels 2006 34k mi subaru outback

Anyone having similar problems with this year and model? Just had problem diagnosed at a tire place -as I thought I had a tire problem! Noticed wheel noise a few weeks ago. Had mechanic check tire inflation-it was low so he corrected holiday weekend skiing trip from St Paul, Mn to the iron range. Winter road conditions weren’t the best but the car handled terribly and the humming grew louder. The car seemed to swerve and fishtail unless the road was dry.I was a bit freaked out as I’m thinking I have this 4wd car that is supposed to be great for winter travel. On the way back the road conditions were not the best and I couldn’t go over 40mph on the interstate with feeling loss of control with the handling. All other traffic was able to travel at near normal speeds. Some internet reasearch has revealed a tendency for this trouble in Subarus.

Since you are apparently not bothering to check the tire pressure at all maybe the handling problem and the humming both are caused by irregular tire tread wear.

If you’ve been driving around with seriously underinflated tires it’s also possible that you could be heading for a blowout.
It only takes a comparatively few miles for an underinflated tire to wear the sidewall thin and the car can become dangerous to drive.

My 2005 Legacy (similar car) has had no issues now at 60k but they extended warranty for 8yr/100,000 miles on this issue and sent me a notice.

Although swerving of a vehicle is not likely to be symptomatic of bad wheel bearings, if you even THINK that you have defective bearings, you need to have this situation attended to before you lose a wheel, which is what can happen in extreme situations involving bad wheel bearings.

At best, you could get into an accident if a wheel bearing suddenly seized up (visualize the brakes locking up suddenly on one wheel at high speed, and you get the idea).

All of this being said, I hope that you realize that wheel bearings–and everything else on the car–are warranted by the car mfr for 3 years/36,000 miles. So, if there is a defect in a wheel bearing, you pay zero, zip, nada. Your post is not written clearly enough for anyone to figure out if the tire store that diagnosed the problem also did the repair. If they did, you spent money needlessly.

Prevention is the best cure. Read the details on all of your warranties (there are several of them) in order to avoid paying for repairs that should be free.

Do you have the original factory Bridgestone RE92a tires on the car? They are subpar in winter traction for about 20k miles and they fall off rapidly after 20k or so. (I have had the displeasure of owning these tires from the factory over three vehicles so quite experienced).

If you are in the 3yr/36k warranty(sounds like yes) use the dealer always. Subaru covers so many things in that period including brakes, windshield wipers, clutch, and other items. The only exception is tires.

If it is the bearings ->>>>

I have an '05 Outback and had the driver’s rear wheel bearing go out at about 52K or so.

Regarding your traction issue, is your situation similar to mine? Here’s a post I just put elsewhere on this forum:

I have an '05 Subaru Outback Limited. I’ve had it for almost a year and traded in my '97 Outback limited. I loved my first Outback and so far like this one but have had a couple of situations that have me questioning what is going on. My biggest reason for concern is I don’t recall this issue with my '97.

I live in Minnesota and twice this year have had occasion to be driving on a somewhat slick, icy freeway. Certainly I moderated my speed for the conditions but found an unsettling issue appear to be occuring.

Routinely as I drove I felt like the back end was breaking loose slightly to the right. It seemed like it only moved a couple inches and between me and the car itself would correct itself, then the cycle would repeat. Over and over and over. At first I thought it was just the effect of wind pushing the car and causing me to correct it, but as it happened repeatedly, and then happened the 2nd time we were on the road in similar conditions, I began to question what was going on.

While I moderated my speed to where I felt I could pretty much eliminate the issue for the most part, I was getting passed by front wheel drive sedans, vans and semi trucks going 5-10 mph faster than I. I tried to pay attention and they didn’t appear to be struggling with their control like I felt I was.

Again, I wasn’t dealing with large swings of the back end, just small swings and always seemed to be to the right.

On a Subaru forum there were some posters who said their Outbacks had problems breaking lose on ice but since I’ve never had trouble with my '97 I pretty much discounted this. Now I’m starting to think there might be something to it.

I have all-season tires on it. If anyone has any thoughts, fixes or similar experiences I’m all ears.


It could well be those crappy Bridgestone Potenza RE-92 tires, particularly if they have some wear on them. They are absolutely treacherous in winter road conditions, and Subaru should be ashamed to have chosen these tires for many of their cars.

Because of those terrible original equipment tires, I use Michelin X-Ice tires in the winter and I believe that they increase your traction about 300% over those ridiculous Bridgestones.

I concur if you have the factory all-seasons(RE92) they are junk in winter conditions after about 20k in wear.

For what you describe you overdriving the conditions for your given set of tires. AWD helps get you moving and a bit with stability IF and only IF you have traction to put down onto the ground. Sounds like your tires a big fail.

All-season is the loosest term in the tire industry. It has little to do with the amount of winter traction available. What it really means is the rubber compound is still able to work on dry conditions below an ambient temperature of about 35F. Basically separates all-season labeled tires from winter tires(wear rapidly above 55F and get squirmy) and summer tires which turn rock hard below 40F allowing for a little traction on any road.

What tires and amount of wear(miles)?

When I traded for this car the Volvo dealer had replaced the OEM tires with Dunlog Signature tires. My guess is those are made for ride quality so they can get the car off the lot. ?

I just had to replace both FRONT wheel bearings of my '05 Outback XT Ltd at 83K miles. I had heard of the rear bearing troubles but not the front. I wonder if the fronts will prove to also be subject to trouble, maybe as more people get to higher mileage?

I wonder too. My wife’s 2005 Legacy GT(equivalent of Outback XT)occasionally has scrape sound up front with 63k miles. I wonder if it is a similar issue.