3rd Dec 2005, 01:59

My 2000 Subaru Forrester had left/right rear bearings changed at 18,000 (Feb/02), left rear bearings changed at 21,000 miles (May/02), both rear bearings changed at 28,000 (May / 03). All of these were under warranty. My warranty just expired after 5 years. I just paid $500 to get both rear bearings changed at 43,000 miles (Dec 05). I take my car in for oil changes every 6 months and I have followed the Subaru maintenance schedule.

Do not buy a Subaru Forrester because of the rear bearings problem. Must have something to do with the All Wheel Drive.

12th Mar 2006, 06:49

My 2001 Forester had right rear wheel bearing replaced 1 year and 19,000 miles ago at local Subaru Dealer. The same one is bad again. I really don't want to pay the $ 362.29 to have the dealer replace. I am a pretty good back-yard mechanic, but don't have the so-called special tools to perform this job. I've read several posts about replacing these with Legacy bearings. Has anyone had any success?


Durham, Maine

20th Mar 2006, 13:56

2000 Forester. Based upon the other comments on this site, I am the lucky one. My right rear bearing let go at 120,000 miles. Seal went first allowing moisture in and rust to axel. Cost me a new half shaft. Other nagging issue is the check Engine light. This time it's the Knock Sensor. How many sensors on this car anyway?

26th Oct 2006, 15:36

I bought a 99 Subaru Forester brand new in 99. It now has 83,000 miles on it. Overall it has been a great car. Repairs are however extremely expensive. Speedometer quit working after I took it to my local dealership for work. $300.00 is quit a bit for a small round piece to go in dash. I however will replace it, an continue to love my car because it has been well worth the money and I have not spent any money on repairs to this car in 7 years. (you should buy and extended warranty it did come in handy.) Blown head gasket, timing belt and various electrical problems.

5th Nov 2006, 11:15

I too, have a 99 forester. In general, I love the car, but... I just replaced both rear wheel bearings for the second time. I had the last one done at the dealership on Friday, due to time issue; he had the part in stock and could perform the repair in a couple of hours. Problem is, the cost was $640.00! for one wheel bearing! The last one was done last month at Sears for $300.00.

I felt ripped off, but I needed the car that for the weekend, etc. I drove 30 miles from the dealer after the repair, and my alternator went out. I had to be towed and can't use the car anyway, as it happened on a Saturday and today it is Sunday and shops are closed...

All in all it has been a great car, but... I drove my old Volvo almost 300,000 miles without ever replacing a wheel bearing!

13th Apr 2007, 11:41

I have had the same problems with the wheel barrings and alignment as other posters with my 2000 Subaru Forester. I have need the right back barrings changed 3 times in 50,000 (50,000-100,000) miles and the left twice, along with front CV joint and axle and now the right rear axle needs replaced. I would advise staying away from the Forester.

1st May 2007, 08:52

I'm not going to try to defend Subaru here, because I too had a run in with a bad wheel bearing, which I replaced myself (and let me tell you, what a pain it is to replace!). However, I would like to make a couple points -

(1) Frequent bearing failure after the first failure is not a defective wheel bearing, it's a bad dealership. If you drive the car a lot with a bad wheel bearing, it will score the spindle on the hub, or damage the inside of the knuckle. In this case, you have to have the whole assembly replaced, or it will eat bearings like pancakes for breakfast. This is not Subaru's fault, it's the mechanics fault for not replacing the parts that needed replacement, as indicated in the factory repair manual, and possibly your fault for driving around with a bad wheel bearing.

(2) Subaru's are not expensive to fix. The parts are relatively cheap, and the labor is *normally* only 0.8 hours per side using the special tool. HOWEVER, it gets more complicated/expensive if the lateral link bolt is rusted into the knuckle, requiring a lot of hammering, twisting, burning... etc to get it out. Thank your local Department of Transportation for dumping tons of salt on the roads for this one.

No, I don't work for Subaru, and I hate doing stupid repairs as much as everyone else (especially being a poor college student and thus having to do all the labor myself), just wanted to say that it's not the fault of Subaru that repairs aren't done properly.

3rd Jun 2007, 17:59

I have a 1998 Subaru Forester with 52000 miles on it. I have had the car into the dealer four times for a rear wheel scrapping noise. They remove and reinstall the backing plate on the rear wheels and call it an adjustment. The noise then goes away for a few weeks. I asked the mechanic to replace both rear wheel bearings, but he told me that wouldn't correct the problem. He said "they tried that before and it didn't work". He said they called Subaru in regard to the problem, but no one knows how to fix it. I now have a slight high pitched squeal and a sound that sounds like a bad differential. Hums at 50 mph or so. Having been a HVAC mechanic for 38 years I find it hard to believe that no one knows how to fix it! I am going to keep the car and use it for running around town only. I will buy a new Honda Pilot, no more Subaru's for me.

11th Jun 2007, 07:54

I now have a 2002 subaru forester with 145k miles on it. About a year ago I had the O2 sensors replaced. It cost around 600 dollars, which I guess is expensive, but to put this into perspective I had a Jaguar XJ8 for one year and put over 7000 dollars into it just to keep it on the road. Timing chain, new transmission, realignment, steering column leaking fluid, etc.

Subaru's really arn't that expensive to maintain.

12th Jun 2007, 09:02

Hi everyone.

My wife has a 1998 Subaru Forester with 95,000 miles. So far this year, I have spent close to $2,000.00 to repair issues with this car. To attempt to resolve an annoying burning oil smell due to oil leaking on the exhaust, I have replaced the valve cover gaskets, plug seals, cam seals, and crank seal. And I'm still getting the burning oil smell!! I suspect it may be the rear main seal now, which I hear is pretty expensive to fix.

Other issues: Rear brakes and rotor are going again, after having been replaced only 2 years ago. That's something I can do. But I've also had to install new front rotors and brake pads recently. Then, the inner right CV joint boot ripped, so I had to replace the whole axle. More issues? Yep, there's more... My "airbag" light has been on for over a year. The problem here is with the clock-spring in the steering column, because both the horn and the cruise control don't work either. Replacing the clock-spring is a VERY expensive job.

Check engine light was on about a year ago. It ended up being the knock sensor, which I easily replaced.

What kills me is that I actually like the Forester (I am not one for Japanese cars, having previously owned a Buick Regal and a Ford Probe, and currently drive a Mercedes-Benz C230), but as for reliability, it is severely lacking. I know some of the above issues are normal maintenance wear-and-tear items, but certain things should not have to be replaced at less than 100K.

A friend of mine has a 2000 Outback wagon with less mileage than me, and his issues include the car hesitating and then surging while stopped at a traffic light, check engine issues, overheating, losing anti-freeze, stalling, and dead CD player. And now, he's taking it in for a blown head gasket, which will run the tune of between $1,200 and $2,000 to replace.

With that said, just due to my constant oil burning problem, I will never consider buying another Subaru again. A baby's diaper can hold oil better than these cars. So much for customer retention. To those of you thinking about buying a Subaru, consider closely your decision, especially after reading all these comments!! All of this can happen to you. Consider this, and then ask yourself...is it worth it?