What is this rubbing noise?



I own a '94 Subaru Legacy. I have this annoying rubbing noise that seems to come from the driver’s side front. It sounds kind of like a rubber strap that is rhythmically thwacking against something in time to the engine speed. I looked to see if I could see anything hanging down, but couldn’t. I listened to the Car Noises samples and maybe it sounds like “Sticky Levers” but I don’t really think so. I hear the sound when I first start moving in the morning, but it gradually disappears as the car warms up. The colder the car is at start, the louder the noise is and the longer it takes for it to go away. I’ve been a bad owner and have been ignoring this noise for several months. Is something about to fall apart… related to this noise I mean?


You might have a bad left front tire. You don’t mention any shaking of the steering wheel or wiggle in the car so I was a little hesitant about this. If you cannot feel any inconsistency on the tread of the tire, you might rotate the left side tires front to back and see if the sound migrates. If it does you know the tire is a problem


Actually, I wondered about the tires also. However, I have recently replaced all four tires (for other reasons). That has not changed the noise one bit. I was kind of hoping replacing the tires would have killed two birds with… well… four stones.


This does have all the symptoms of gummed up lifters/tappets, or if the lifters/tappets aren’t hydraulic, need for an adjustment. How many miles on the vehicle? Does the Owner’s Manual specify a periodic lifter adjustment? I confess to extremely limited Subie familiarity.

Post back.


I see… well… this car has about 110,000 miles… lots of city miles. I must confess, I don’t even know what lifters are or what that means. Is this a costly service to perform generally?