How To Tell If A Subaru Hub Assembly Is Failing

Wheel hub assemblies take more abuse than most of the other parts on your Subaru. It’s actually pretty impressive that engineers have gotten wheel hub assemblies to last about 100K miles. It’s still possible for a wheel hub assembly, also called "wheel hub" or simply "hub", to fail earlier than 100K miles. If you have a hunch that you’re driving with a bad wheel hub, it’s a good idea to diagnose the issue right away.

This diagnostic guide will walk you through the process of inspecting your hubs and identifying a bad one.

What Can Cause A Wheel Hub Assembly To Fail?

Subaru wheel hub on car

Image Credit: George Melnik

In an ideal situation, a wheel hub will start to fail after 100K miles from wear and tear. Unfortunately, plenty of hubs fail earlier than 100K miles due to:

  • Pot holes
  • Car accidents
  • A bad component within the assembly (for example, some aftermarket companies refurbish wheel bearings)

Telltale Signs Of A Failing Wheel Hub Assembly

When a wheel hub assembly on your Subaru fails, you’ll notice some obvious signs. Here’s a list of the most common symptoms that will crop up:

  • Grinding noise when the vehicle is moving
  • Wheel vibration or wobble
  • Vehicle moving to the left or right when braking
  • Clicking or weird sounds coming from the wheel

Diagnosing A Bad Wheel Hub Assembly In 6 Steps

Subaru wheel hub being installed

Image Credit: George Melnik

It’s pretty easy to check your wheel hub assembly. You don’t need any fancy diagnostic tools. All you need is:

  • A pair of hands
  • Lug nut wrench
  • The following set of instructions

Here's a step-by-step guide on checking your wheel hub assemblies:

  1. Lift the front end of your Subaru.
  2. Safely prop it up with jack stands.
  3. Stand in front of one of your front tires. Place your hands on the 12 o' clock and the 6 o' clock positions on the tire.
  4. Wiggle the tire back and forth, toward and away from your body (not left and right).
    1. Does the tire move back and forth? There won't be any play at all with a good wheel hub assembly. If there's some play, then the wheel bearing is bad. In this case, you need to replace the wheel hub assembly.
  5. Spin the tire. If you hear any grinding, clicking, or vibration noises, then the wheel hub assembly is bad.
  6. Repeat the above steps with the front wheel on the other side.

Do you have any questions about checking the wheel hub assemblies on your Subaru? Feel free to contact us!