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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just bought a 2012 Outback in November. Twice now we have had vibration issues starting at 45 mph & up. Been told 2x now that it is dirt on the inside of the wheels and I have to wash it out. Some times it feels like a hesitation and I have to push on the gas even more. Then it feels like a wheel bearing.

I live in SW Colorado in the mountains. We get feet of snow in the winter. We have dirt roads. I can't go 40 miles over the mountains in snow to the next town without the vibration. Last week the weather was beautiful. Sunshine and warmer weather. I took the car to the dealer for an oil change and lube (2 hour drive). On the way there I went through the car wash (did tires and under carriage) Then on the way home the vibration started again. Didn't drive the next day but my husband drove on the following day and complained.

Wash it out? In below freezing weather? I'd like to see those who designed this get the hose out and dig out the faucet, get wet and freeze! How ridiculous! The car wash is 35 miles away in the opposite direction I need to drive! I can't be expected to drive 70 extra miles everyday and every time there is a snow storm!

This is so frustrating! RRRRRRRRR!!!! We can return other things we buy in life when we are dissatisfied. Why can't we return this crappy car!?!? Now we have to make payments for the next 7 years for a car we hate.

Don't advertise a car for this type of weather and road conditions it if it can't take it. False advertising Subaru.
 

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Pattie this is an issue with all cars which have wheels that can trap or hold ice. Nothing to do with your car. Two ways people address this they put cheap steel wheels on the car with winter tires for the winter months these wheels have much less ice and mud holding ability so the issue is diminished. The other trick done by many folks - the local auto store sells a spray can of silicone spray which you can spray on the wheels not the tires but the metal wheel front and back side this coating makes the metal wheel slick and much harder for the mud and ice to stick or it sheds easily once your moving. The one thing to keep in mind when you treat the wheels every so often you will get over spray on the brakes which might be less effective sort of like wet brakes for the first time or two you use the brake. So just knowing you need to ride the brakes a little to burn off the over spray and your fine.

This issue is not specific to the car you have now it impacts ALL cars some more than others pending the type of wheel design they have and how easily the wheel will hold ice and mud.
 

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This Google search should show you that it happens to any brand of car.

Saturn, Subaru, Nissan, VW, Ford, Mitsubishi, Mazda, BMW & Honda are all represented in the first couple of pages. I'm sure you'd find all the others if you kept reading.
 

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I've used cooking spray on off road motorcycle fenders and wheels to help keep mud from sticking.
 

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This Google search should show you that it happens to any brand of car.

Saturn, Subaru, Nissan, VW, Ford, Mitsubishi, Mazda, BMW & Honda are all represented in the first couple of pages. I'm sure you'd find all the others if you kept reading.
Worst I've ever seen was on an Audi A4 after we got stuck in a mud bog that looked like a properly graded dirt drive way. Anything over 15mph would have literally shook the car to pieces. We had to drive 15 miles with the flashers on to a local gas station where we spent 30 minutes knocking sticky mud out of the wheels before we got the car shake free.

I recall some foul weather location types keep a cut off broom handle handy which they can poke through the wheel slots and knock mud and ice off the wheel without bending over or getting their hands grubby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've had numerous vehicles in my 40 years of owning (and usually 2 to 3 vehicles at a time). I've NEVER had this issue - even on my last Subaru.

I'd rather use my Prius, which has the same type wheels, over the Subaru in the snow (unless it is too deep).

I wonder if this is the reason Subaru is no longer the car of the Olympic Ski Team?

I'll be selling/trading as soon as it is economical to do so for me.
 

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I've had numerous vehicles in my 40 years of owning (and usually 2 to 3 vehicles at a time). I've NEVER had this issue - even on my last Subaru.

I'd rather use my Prius, which has the same type wheels, over the Subaru in the snow (unless it is too deep).

I wonder if this is the reason Subaru is no longer the car of the Olympic Ski Team?

I'll be selling/trading as soon as it is economical to do so for me.
Good luck seems maybe the best approach is to go find another vehicle though wheels that pick up ice and mud are more and more common as wheels have gotten larger to allow for larger brakes. Add the style vs ability to hold ice or mud and its a wheel issue not a car issue.

If you can use a Prius for your needs then the OB was never needed anyway.
 

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I wonder if this is the reason Subaru is no longer the car of the Olympic Ski Team?
Nah, Subaru stopped giving out freebies once their sales picked up. Same thing in Rally. Sports & especially Olympic organizations will endorse anything for free stuff.

Good luck with whatever you try next!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yea, we'll only use the Subaru when the conditions are that the Prius can't be used. It will also keep the mileage down so we get a better trade-in when the time comes.

I'll also try some of the suggestions that were posted above.

Thanks everyone for your posts.

Have a wonderful day.
 

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Balance wheels?? They should be balanced new, but there could be a chance they're off.
What dealership did you go to?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We had this problem at 6900 miles. They rotated and balanced the tires, told me there was a ton of mud in the wheels and it was fine until 10,000 miles.
First there could not have been a ton of mud because I don't drive through mud - I go the long way to avoid the dirt road when it is muddy and it was the middle of winter and frozen; and I had washed the car including wheels and undercarriage before they saw it.

So last week the weather was beautiful. Dry roads. Washed it like before on my way to the dealer (2 hours away in Grand Junction). They did not rotate the tires this time. But on the way home it started again - out of the blue!

Anyway, to answer your question, the dealership is in Grand Junction because I had bad experiences with the one in Montrose with our last Subaru. We actually bought the car in PA while visiting family because the vehicle we drove there broke down and was worth fixing and we had already decided on an Outback.
 

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Pattie what tires do you have on the car? The stock continentals are complete garbage and will develop vibration if they are curbed - we live in SF where you curb your tire or get an $85 ticket. Even with the tires very lightly curbed those crappy continental tires would shake like a wet dog for 500 miles or so before they sorted them selves out. Add cold weather and they would shake for longer than that. I could never get them to hold balance for more than 8000 miles and they needed sizable weight change when I rebalanced them. The dealers hate those tires!!!!!!!!!

I replaced them with BFG Touring tires which are built WAY WAY WAY!!!!!!!!!!!! Better and tolerate being curbed without shaking like a wet dog. Find out what tires you have on the car and report back.

Also by about 25K I had one tire that no longer could go on the front given it was too out of round to go up front as it would cause vibration in the steering wheel. Keeping it on the back the steering wheel was fine as long as the tires were balanced and I hadn't curbed the tires in the last 500 miles or so. The continentals were complete garbage. The BFG Touring tires have been fantastic we have about 10K on them now zero complaints and two other OB friends have also replaced the crummy continentals with the BFG tire also and are very happy with the decision.
 

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Wow. People who buy new cars will find any reason possible to complain about/decide they hate said car.
 

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Wow. People who buy new cars will find any reason possible to complain about/decide they hate said car.
The more money people pay for cars and the less they know about said car the more complaining you tend to hear. Oddly enough with todays cars being pretty maint free compared to the old days very few people really know much about their car beyond how to start it by turning the key and how to move forward and backwards and stop it. If anything is perceived as not normal they haven't any idea what to think so they complain about it.

How many people use a screw driver to start their car or keep a baby food jar with some gas in it to get their car started in the morning these days? LOL My mom drove a Studebaker pickup for 12yrs she started it with a screw driver on the starter and kept a baby jar with gas in it to spike the carb when it was cranky and didn't want to start.

She hated the old rusted out Bug my dad used because she could see the road through the floor boards. ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So Thursday they are going to do a road force balance - under warranty. Hopefully this will fix it.

All winter we diligently cleaned out the snow. Have to - the tires will rub. So we've been on top of it.
I've stopped at top of summits in blinding snow because of the snow buildup. I carry a small shovel that fits perfectly around the tire. When I get home I knock out all the crap that accumulates. So it isn't as if I'm expecting to not have to do any type of maintenance in bad conditions.

Just seems crazy that I paid ~$28,000 for a new car that is suppose to be able to handle all types of conditions and the wheels are out of balance with the slightest bit of dirt. I work hard for my money and to make a living so yes, I do expect my new car to perform.

In the 40 years that I've own vehicles, I've assisted in putting in transmissions, dropping engines, new brakes, etc. I've driven flood tainted cars with chicken wire for a grill cover, parked on hills to pop clutches to start the vehicle, etc. because we were dirt poor at the time. At 56 years old I'm the one who checks the fluids, washes the cars, takes them for service, etc. I'm not some ignorant woman who relies on her husband - I do it myself. So I do expect that I can complain when my brand new expensive car does not perform.

There have been some very nice people who have offered solutions and I will be trying them as this goes along. Thank you.
 

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Just seems crazy that I paid ~$28,000 for a new car that is suppose
to be able to handle all types of conditions and the wheels are out of
balance with the slightest bit of dirt.
I wouldn't be so sure that the problem is out-of-balance wheels
(for whatever reason). It could be a bad tire (belt separation),
defective wheel, or something loose/broken in the suspension.

Don't tell the dealer it's a wheel balance problem, just tell him
that it vibrates at 45+ mph -- and let him figure out the cause.

good luck,

Looby
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yea, that is pretty much what I tell them. Don't want to put ideas in their heads because then they have tunnel vision.
Oh, and I looked up the tire warranty. If they give me some lame excuse I'm going to ask for new tires.

It actually feels like when the wheel bearing went out on our Chevy conversion van. Or like the suspension is screwed up.

But hey, it is still under warranty. Let them mess with it. Just a pain having to keep spending time at the dealership though. Oh well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
4th time

Ok for all of you who really think this is mud/snow/dirt related...

Went to the state where we originally purchased and had them check it out because it was doing it for the 3rd time. We were treated like second class citizens and we should not have a complaint. So they looked at the balance - did not need - and sent us on our merry way after 3 hours and not completing the oil change.

Within 500 miles it started again and continued the next 1780 miles home on DRY CEMENT/ASPHALT roads.

So it is not related to mud/snow/dirt. It is Subaru's f***-up!!!!!
 

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I have a 2013 that begins a vibration at 45 and at 65-70 it is at the worst. For mine its not dirt on the tires. Suburu dealer shop manager and shop say they cant feel anything. I do wonder why he(the shop manager) went to the sales manager and told him they might need to file with Suburu to get me another car? I know my car has problems with only less than 4000 miles on it and Suburu is dragging their feet on this.
 
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