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Hello, I am driving 2013 3.6R Outback since Fall of 2012 bought brand new. Mostly highway miles, occasional trips to the mountains, ocean beaches and national parks. I maintain my car very well and so far had not have any problems. At about 64K miles I started to hear constant humming noise coming from the front of the car on its both sides. I have a set of hard rubber Firestone tires. So initially I attributed this sound to the tires rubbing against the road. But this noise was becoming louder at higher speeds. After it became unbearable to my nerves, I took my car to the dealership. They determined that both of my front wheel bearings are bad and need to be replaced. Even though my car's drive train warranty has expired, I called SOA and insisted that it is highly unusual for the wheel bearings to go out in just 60K+ miles. It must have been a latent factory defect that slipped through their QC. I drove a 1999 Mercury Sable wagon before this car for well over 200K miles without any problems related to the wheel bearings. To their credit, SOA agreed to pay for fixing this defect as their act of good will. Otherwise I would have to spend around $724 out of my own pocket. I intended to keep this car for as long I could based on its reputation for durability and longevity. But now I have a reasonable concern, for how long can I drive my Outback before similar problem occurs with my rear wheel bearings or reoccurring with the front ones? Could somebody share their thoughts or suggestions on this matter?
 

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I've noticed wheel bearing noise issues coming up more frequently on 2005 & later Subarus vs. previous models.

2005-2009 models are associated with relatively short life in the rear wheel bearings- several threads on the topic, including some fairly detailed failure analysis.

Any chance you were given the old parts? It would be interesting to compare photos.

My own 2006 is currently presenting a lot of wheel bearing noise but I haven't worked out which corner(s) are to blame, and it's already on its second set of rear bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello, The dealership did not give me back old failed hub assemblies. So I cannot provide any photos. In your opinion, which bearings tend to fail more on Subaru cars front or rear ones?
 

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Lifespan of any given wheel bearing is impossible to predict. Nothing to do with any "latent factory defect". They just can fail.

I had an '03 Explorer had one bearing fail inside 30k miles and the next didn't fail until 120k miles. First one was covered by warranty, second I took care of myself. I certainly wasn't going to expect Ford to pay for it.
 

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Yep, wheel bearings can and do fail prematurely on any marque/model regardless of how well it is cared for. One of my buddies on the Jaguar forum experienced a front wheel bearing failure on his well-maintained 2005 S-Type sedan at only 45,000 miles. My nearly identical well-maintained 2005 S-Type sedan just passed 104,000 miles and its wheel bearings have never given me any trouble.

Wheel bearing longevity seems to be a roll of the dice.
 
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