Excessive Road Noise/Original Tires?


Asked by Dec 26, 2008 at 07:22 PM about the 2006 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited Wagon

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My wife's 06 Outback has ~57,000 miles and we still have the original tires that came with the car.

I noticed that when we take the car onto the highway there seems to be a lot of what I would call "road noise". (It is a pretty loud humming/droning when you get over 50 mph and seems to even out a little at about 70 mph - but no steering wheel vibration or pulling.) Is it time for new tires? I rotated the tires every 10k (+/-) and they were okay at ~51.5k (i.e., "a little cupping by tread looks good. The road noise maybe because the tires are probably getting harder as they are getting older").

So my questions are:
- How many miles did you get out of the original tires? (I'm over 65k on the original tires on my Honda Accord.)
- Is 10k for tire rotation too long for an Outback? (Bridgestone manual recommends every 5k, Subaru manual recommends every 7.5k)
- If the tires were not rotated correctly, could that have caused the premature tire issue/road noise issue? According to the Subaru manual, the tires should be rotated on the same side (not crossed). The only places that have done the tire rotation on the car were: the dealership, a local mechanic that I trust and a local tire guy that I trust...except for one time...I went to a tire chain for it. As soon as left the parking lot and drove down the street (maybe 3 blocks at the most), I felt like something wasn't right so I went back and asked him how they rotated the tires and he told me he crossed them so I showed him the manual and he flipped the tires that were crossed. Do you think driving a half mile on incorrectly rotated tires could have caused damage to the tires that lead to the road noise?

5 Answers


I have same problem but no fixes.....did you get a response from anyone, or find a successful fix?

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

The manual states 7500 miles but I do mine at 6000 or every other oil change this keeps them even. and makes it easy to remember. No 1/2 mile will not do damage to them unless they were practically flat then I would worry. Tire life depends on brand and the compounds they put in them when they are made. soft tires make less noise but ware faster then hard tires. Also the edge is either squared off or rounded and if they are squared like truck tires they will make more noise then others. Most passenger tires are rated from 40,000 for cheap tires to 85,000 for a good tire. At 65,000 miles I would start to look for newer tires get a good all season tire. maybe look at the Pirelli P4 Four Seasons they have a great reputation and the reviews are good as well but they are a little expensive around $80 - $90 each but the also have a life span of 85,000 or better. Good Luck

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

We put new Michelins on our '06 Outback and it made a HUGE improvement in ride handling and especially road noise... if yours came with the garbage Conti-pro Continental tires, you will notice a huge change. That all being said, it wont change the fact that Outbacks simply have loud engines...

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Hi, I have the same symptom with loud road noise level at certain speed range on my 2005 Subaru Outback . I am pretty sure the noise is not from the engine. I don't think it's the tyres either as I am using Michelin Primacy HP tyres (one of the quietest ones on the market) with decent tread depth. I've read through SubaruOutback forum and learnt this might be due to the wheel bearings. However, nothing has been confirmed yet...

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Yes premature wear can occur on improperly rotated tires. Some tires are meant to only be used on one side of a car and not the other. You may see kids driving around in VW golfs or similar hatchbacks that are lowered and the tires stick outwards at an awkward angle. The weight of the car puts pressure on the part of the tire most in contact with the road. And in those golfs it usually causes half the tire to be gone leaving the other half intact and ruining the tire very quickly Factory tires are never the quietest or best riding. Its time for a new pair and there are a ton of deals out now. Pepboys has a buy 3 tires get a 4th free.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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