Are OEM Hub Assemblies Better Than Aftermarket Hub Assemblies?

When it’s time to replace a wheel hub assembly on your Subaru, you have two options:

  1. An OEM replacement wheel hub assembly
  2. An aftermarket replacement wheel hub assembly

You can get an OEM wheel hub assembly online or at your Subaru dealership. Aftermarket wheel hub assemblies are available at independent auto parts stores.

Most aftermarket replacement parts are cheaper than OEM replacement parts. But not always, though; skip ahead to the last section of this post to see how to save money on OEM parts. In a few cases, it’s a good idea to get an aftermarket part to save a few bucks. For example, car seat covers. But when it comes to parts that play even the smallest role in your vehicle’s performance or safety, always go the OEM route. This includes wheel hub assemblies.

OEM wheel hub assemblies are the much better and safer option than aftermarket hubs. Here’s why:

1. OEM Wheel Hub Assemblies Are Always Made To The Exact Right Specs For Your Car

New OEM Subaru hub

OEM wheel hub assemblies are exact replicas of factory wheel hub assemblies. Subaru (or a third party company hired by Subaru) manufactures them. That means OEM wheel hub assemblies come with exactly the right:

  • Materials
  • Dimensions
  • Tolerances
  • Bearings

So you’ll have the peace of mind that an OEM replacement wheel hub assembly will fit your car perfectly. The fitment and compatibility of OEM hub assemblies always exceed those of aftermarket hub assemblies.

Third party companies make aftermarket wheel hub assemblies. That means most aftermarket hub assemblies aren't built to OE specs. In fact, many aftermarket manufacturers make their wheel hub assemblies to fit a variety of makes and models. A poor-fitting aftermarket wheel hub assembly will cause some issues. Amazon has tons of negative reviews from disgruntled Subaru owners who had aftermarket hub assemblies on their cars. We rounded up a few:

  • "My aftermarket wheel hub assembly looked and fit OK, but the magnetic induction ring did not work. This caused the ABS sensor to throw a fault and my car to go into limp mode. I tried to save a buck with this aftermarket part, but it ended up costing me 3 times as much in the end. It also took my car out of service for a week."
  • "This aftermarket wheel hub assembly doesn't fit my 2013 Impreza AWD Limited hatchback."
  • "This aftermarket wheel hub assembly is 4 millimeters thinner than OEM. The sensor did not read it correctly. It caused the check engine light to go on, and it put the car into safe mode. By the time I figured out the issue, this part cost me over $400. Don't buy this part."

2. OEM Wheel Hub Assemblies Are Stronger Than Aftermarket Wheel Hub Assemblies

Subaru Hub On Car

Image Credit: The Suburban Experimentalist

When it comes to wheel hub assemblies, strength matters a lot. All the wheel hub assemblies on your Subaru support the weight of the vehicle, and stand up to the forces caused by driving. The wheel hub assemblies at the front wheels support more weight than those at the back wheels. It's because the heavy engine is in the front.

You want to get a wheel hub assembly with good bearings that can handle your car's weight. OEM wheel hub assemblies come with high quality bearings that handle everything thrown at them. Bearings are one of the most expensive parts in a hub assembly. It's hard to trust aftermarket manufacturers to pay up for high quality bearings. Chances are they'll build their wheel hub assemblies with either:

  • Low quality bearings that won't last very long
  • High quality bearings that are physically smaller than OEM bearings.

It's common for Subaru owners to experience serious issues with their aftermarket wheel hub assemblies. Some Subaru owners have had their aftermarket hub assemblies make clicking noises. Others said that their aftermarket hub assemblies made their vehicles shake violently.

3. OEM Wheel Hub Assemblies Usually Last Twice As Long As Aftermarket Wheel Hub Assemblies

Like the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Aftermarket manufacturers often mass produce their wheel hub assemblies with cheaper materials. That leads to an inferior quality product that won’t last as long as OEM wheel hub assemblies.

It's common for aftermarket wheel hub assemblies to fail after about a year or two. An Amazon user wrote that his aftermarket wheel hub assembly lasted only 13,000 miles on his Subaru.

If your aftermarket wheel hub assembly fails, you'll have to replace it. That means another couple hundred bucks out of your wallet. Not to mention the time you'll waste replacing it. A Subaru Legacy owner wrote on Amazon, "Do not get an aftermarket wheel hub assembly. I barely got 6 months out of mine. An OEM assembly is about $200, but it lasts a decade."

Like that reviewer said, OEM wheel hub assemblies last a long time. In fact, Subaru builds its wheel hub assemblies to last 100K miles or more. That means you'll get a lot more value out of an OEM wheel hub assembly than an aftermarket hub.

4. OEM Wheel Hub Assemblies Are Cheaper Than Aftermarket Hubs

OEM wheel hub assemblies may cost more upfront, but they're actually cheaper in the long run because they last longer.

What if we told you that you can get a genuine OEM wheel hub assembly at wholesale pricing, though? Often times, it's cheaper than aftermarket pricing. At Subaru Parts Plus, our overhead costs are so low that we're able to sell genuine OEM Subaru parts at wholesale pricing. Check out our inventory of wheel hub assemblies and see if we have one for your Subaru model!