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I have a 2003 subaru forester. I had a subaru mechanic take a glance underneath and he said he thought both front wheel bearings needed to be replaced. He flaked. He didn't follow up. I took it into firestone because it started making really squeaky noises and that whooshing windy sound while driving. I looked it up and it said its pretty dangerous to drive when its gone bad. The mechanic there said only one of the rear ones needed replacement. They said $792.99. I'm starting to doubt if I even want to keep the vehicle after hearing that. They also said wheel cylinder, belt, front pads, battery corrosion package, wheel cylinder all needed to be replaced. It came to about $1500. That is how much i payed for the vehicle itself. It has just over 200,000 miles on it. I just don't know whether I should keep it and get it all done or just get a newer vehicle and make car payments. Help..
 

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@taygrob No ones knows the condition except yourself. All I can say is I had a 2003 Explorer I owned since new. In 2014 it needed a transmission that would have been about 3k, decided on a new vehicle instead. Just recently finished the payment on the new one. There have been many times over the last 5 years where I wished I had just spent the 3k. As I get ready to unload this one, I wish I had kept the Explorer.

Wheel bearing at 200k isn't a bad thing. If you're looking at used cars, you have a payment and depending on the mileage, it'll still need work as well.
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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@taygrob The Firestone place is great for taking it in to get a free diagnosis, but don't get them to do the work. Find a good local shop with reasonable prices that is off the main drag. The Firestone dealer has big payments to make every month. I am not sure but if you can do stuff yourself or find a mechanic that lets you supply parts, a quick check at Rock Auto shows very good quality rear bearings under $50 each, front ones under $30, brake wheel cylinder under $15, serpentine belt $10. A rear bearing should be less than 2 hrs labor including pressing, front brakes pads are 30 or so with hardware. You have to expect that you will have to fix things on an older car, and everything above is really minimal stuff and its normal for those parts to wear. Your challenge has to be to either learn to do some stuff yourself or find someone reasonable. You don't really need a Subaru specialist for any of the above work.
I suspect the Firestone dealer is selling you a complete rear hub assembly with pressed in bearing
More Information for DORMAN 698417
Something like the above and charge you close to 400 or 500 just for the part and then 1.5 hrs for the install. Unless you were in an accident I very much doubt you need to replace the whole hub assembly.
 

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2001 Forester
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So what is a fair price to have a wheel bearing replaced? I was rough quoted $200 a corner.
2003 and older front bearings and probably rear bearings, need to be pressed out of the hub and the pressed back in. I could be wrong on the 2003. But I do know the 2001-2002 needed a press. So this means complete removal of the entire hub and reinstall of hub. So you are looking at several hours to pull it apart and put it all back together. So approx., 3-4, maybe 5 hours in total x $90/hour labour.......plus cost of bearing, at $80ish.....
 

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A 15+ year old car is expensive to maintain if you have to pay someone to do the work, There will always be another repair.
 

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2003 and older front bearings and probably rear bearings, need to be pressed out of the hub and the pressed back in. I could be wrong on the 2003. But I do know the 2001-2002 needed a press. So this means complete removal of the entire hub and reinstall of hub. So you are looking at several hours to pull it apart and put it all back together. So approx., 3-4, maybe 5 hours in total x $90/hour labour.......plus cost of bearing, at $80ish.....
How the heck do you get to 5 hours a corner??? In some cases with the right equipment, they can be pressed in directly on the car. Most Japanese vehicles of that era and now have pressed in bearings, and its a common wear item. Most mechanics are quite experienced with them.
 

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2003 Forester 2.5X 5 MT
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You can also look for mobile mechanics in your area on CraigsList. They can usually tell you over the phone what the price will be for the work before they arrive. Shop around on CraigsList. You should be able to find someone to do the work for less than half of what you were quoted.
 

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How the heck do you get to 5 hours a corner??? In some cases with the right equipment, they can be pressed in directly on the car. Most Japanese vehicles of that era and now have pressed in bearings, and its a common wear item. Most mechanics are quite experienced with them.
Maybe, if you have a bearing press-tool-set, you can do it while it's on the vehicle, but you still need to get the CV shaft out of the hub. Which brings me to the following issue:

There's a long, big bolt that almost always seizes and snaps.It attaches the Control arm to the hub. It's a massive pain in the arse! Ended up having to replace a control arm (rockauto) because the bolt was stuck inside. Ordered the bolt and nut from Subaru (ended up being almost as cheap, and they had it in stock)

I had to replace the RR one on my 2004. I took the hub out myself but had a shop press the old bearing out (and the new one in). If I recall correctly, I was still done for under $200 though.

If you can get them done for $200 per corner, go for it!

How many months worth of car-payments would add up to the same as the repair-bill? And when was the last time you had a major repair bill? Did the repairs (including the one you're facing) over the last year exceed what car-payments would have been for the same period? No? Then don't give up yet...
 

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I have a 2004 with 150K miles and hope to keep it another 2-3 years, but honestly, given a 2003 with that kind of mileage and the needed repairs, I'd probably trade it and get something newer.
 

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No matter what car you drive, you will need to replace parts eventually. The only way to get out of replacing anything, ever, is to lease. I see replacing parts like a car payment but not as frequently. I have owned my Forester since new in Aug. '14. I have replaced the front control arms twice, once at 130k and again at 240k, rear hubs at 230k, then another rear hub under warranty at about 275k, front cv axles around 220k, clutch at 130k, transmission at 230k and did clutch while in there. Replaced all struts at 130k along with control arms the first time. Replaced front brake calipers at about 240K. All of these parts were not replaced because they had failed, but started to show signs of doing so, like making noises.

I currently have 296,400 miles on my Forester. At this point I have yet to see exactly how many miles every part will be able to go. But I have a pretty good idea when they may fail and will buy parts ahead of time so that when the noises start, I can get it into the shop and have the parts replaced. The only thing that will keep me from relacing parts, even the engine, is if the body rusts out too badly to drive anymore. This is a 6 speed manual. As you know, they dropped the manual for generation SK.
 

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My two cents from doing bearing on 09-13” forester that used to live in Colorado(snow=salt=corrosion) buy the bearing hub assembly (if applicable) and the knuckle (if applicable), attempt to take hub off knuckle...if it won’t come apart from the knuckle(which is what happened to me) then replace with previously said parts as one whole assembly.

Pushing the axle out the hub/knuckle and then loosening the less then hand full of nuts and bolts to remove the knuckle from the rest of the suspension and swap in your new hub knuckle assembly is hell’a faster and less troublesome then taking everything apart borrow car go to press shop, wait, go home and put it all back together. Then get an alignment.

I’m sure the 2010 suspension is different than 06” but I still think my experience is useful here.

Don’t work on cars much? Hint: lefty loosey righty tighty. Patience andPB Blaster > Strength.

No change back.
 

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I've done rear wheel bearings myself...

I found items to use to help me push the bearing in and out in the press. The biggest thing is not to forget to put anything back on there before you push the bearing in, because if you need to push the bearing out again you'll likely damage it. Be systematic. But even paying someone if you take the strut assembly into a workshop it shouldn't be more than an hour and a half per side.
 

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I had a 2000 Forester that, as much as I loved it, I knew I needed to sell. Something had to fixed all the time and was in the shop enough to the point of annoyance. I didn't enjoy driving it anymore because I knew I'd have to take it in for something at some point soon. Plus, there is the reliability. I worried whenever I made trips outside of the county for hikes, visiting friends, etc.

These two, combined, finally convinced me to sell it. Bought my new girl, paid her off quick, and feel great driving my '18 around anywhere I want to.
 

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Here is a good video of a Subaru rear wheel bearing replacement. It looks like a newer model than yours, but should give you an idea of the work involved.

 

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I’d keep it, just replace the bad wheel bearing. I had to drive 600 miles on a squeaky bad front wheel bearing. Brakes are easy to self-replace on these cars if you don’t mind getting a little dirty. I would also take it to an independent shop, not a corporate shop. S
I have a 2003 subaru forester. I had a subaru mechanic take a glance underneath and he said he thought both front wheel bearings needed to be replaced. He flaked. He didn't follow up. I took it into firestone because it started making really squeaky noises and that whooshing windy sound while driving. I looked it up and it said its pretty dangerous to drive when its gone bad. The mechanic there said only one of the rear ones needed replacement. They said $792.99. I'm starting to doubt if I even want to keep the vehicle after hearing that. They also said wheel cylinder, belt, front pads, battery corrosion package, wheel cylinder all needed to be replaced. It came to about $1500. That is how much i payed for the vehicle itself. It has just over 200,000 miles on it. I just don't know whether I should keep it and get it all done or just get a newer vehicle and make car payments. Help..
[/
 

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Outback 05 and up, hub assembly. 03 is bearing only, pressed in and out. I bought a press at harbor freight and it paid for itself after the first replacement. 4 done with it. You can buy the assembly for your 03 but it is quite a bit more... Find a local shop that works on Subarus if you don’t want to tackle this job yourself. Oh, and consider a brake job while you are in there.
 

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I have a 2003 subaru forester. I had a subaru mechanic take a glance underneath and he said he thought both front wheel bearings needed to be replaced. He flaked. He didn't follow up. I took it into firestone because it started making really squeaky noises and that whooshing windy sound while driving. I looked it up and it said its pretty dangerous to drive when its gone bad. The mechanic there said only one of the rear ones needed replacement. They said $792.99. I'm starting to doubt if I even want to keep the vehicle after hearing that. They also said wheel cylinder, belt, front pads, battery corrosion package, wheel cylinder all needed to be replaced. It came to about $1500. That is how much i payed for the vehicle itself. It has just over 200,000 miles on it. I just don't know whether I should keep it and get it all done or just get a newer vehicle and make car payments. Help..
Does the first mechanic have x-ray vision? Either way his eyes don’t won’t. If he glanced and thought he saw two dud wheel bearings, he/she probably takes too many drugs.

Wheel bearing more likely to make a gritty, whirring sound. Or grinding sound if real bad. 800 bucks for one wheel bearing, it would want to be a Ceramic bearing with titanium casing.

Battery corrosion package. You probably don’t need that. And they can’t do anything for a worn out, damaged, or heavily sulphated battery.

Assuming yours is not the XT, in which there are only two brake slave cylinders (which can be rebuilt using 2 seals and 2 dust covers. So long as there is no heavy corrosion). If yours is the XT, they are scamming you as it has 4 wheel disc brakes.

If they are referring to the Timing Belt (and they are including the cost of belt, and water pump), and all other parts to be used are Genuine Subaru, then that price is Ok. If they are referring to the accessory drive belt... your paying for their next holiday, retirement, and kids tuition.

If they are not referring to the Timing belt, all those parts could be bought for $150 (for the cheap stuff). For good quality $250-350. For 1000 bucks labour, I’d want them working on the car for a whole day, with it being washed and detailed inside and out.
 

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Hopefully the original poster has read some of this. Of course none of us can see the vehicle, the amount of rust, or what if any fittings may have seized. As a rule of thumb though, the poster needs to realize that places like this Firestone are often more expensive than even the dealer. Never say yes immediately to an expensive repair. Always give it a day, do some research yourself, and call a few places. You could easily be changing bearings on a 2013 or later model as well. Checking bearings is fairly straightforward and it would be good to know if your front ones are in fact on the way out. And PS battery corrosion is easily cleaned with a mixture of baking soda and water.
 
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