I have a 2015 Outback that needs the rear brake pads replaced- the problem is that the fronts are still at 75%, while rears are around 5%.,,,,,,


Asked by Apr 10, 2017 at 10:02 PM about the 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

So that leads me to my questions....1) what could be causing such uneven
wear?  and 2) my mechanic friend was a little stymied by the integrated
ebrake design on the rears and didn't want to change them before doing
some research...do you know of any "how to" sites on the interweb for this
year Subie?--youtube's got nuthin'. Thanks so much!

25 Answers


That is not normal. The rears typically last far longer than the fronts. Since your is probably still under warranty I would have a talk with your Subaru dealer. Is the e-brake dragging?

1 people found this helpful.

How many miles on the pads?


56k. To the best of my understanding- the electronic e-brake is either all on or all off, so there shouldn't be an instance where it would drag. I suspect that it may be a caliper issue, though. This is my sister's car, so I only drove it for a few minutes- but the one thing i noticed was the sensation that it wasn't "free wheeling" when I put it into drive- seemed a little sluggish when at an idle.

2 people found this helpful.

Can't be a DOUBLE caliper issue unless you tend to get struck by lightning a lot.

1 people found this helpful.

I have the exact same issue with my '15 Outback. Rear brakes are worn and the front is still fine. We do haul heavier loads and even sometimes tow a small trailer but it still doesn't seem right. 76k miles. If learned anything, please share.


Rear pads are really small, and with the newest (2010+) OBs seem to wear faster than the fronts. I'm replacing rears on '13-14 OBs, so yours seems a bit premature; sounds like you've a heavy brake or live on a hill?

I have a 2015 legacy with 100k miles and the rear pads need replacing (front are fine). I have 2 VW Jettas and the rear pads wear out much quicker than the front. It seems to be normal.

I am having the same issue on a 2015 Legacy 2.5i. 45,000 miles. Rear pads are down t0 5% but the fronts are fine. Found out when car had the brake fluid replaced. The mechanic had no idea what could be causing the uneven wear. My other question is do the rotors need to be replaced as well or can I just replace the pads?


How do the rotors look? If very clean on the contact surfaces certainly don't bother to replace them, as they generally last 3-4 winters here in the northeast, for example. Slapping in pads will take you barely a half hour. This premature wear is still a mystery. I'm replacing rusty rear rotors 'n pads on a pair of 2014 OBs this week, but indeed the fronts are fine. Not sure if 2015-2018 are identical to 2010-2014 predecessors. BTW, if you DIY you'll need only 14mm socket, waterpump pliers, some spray-grease, and maybe a flat screwdriver. You should have zero chance of caliper slider issues at this young age.

I have the same issue with my Subaru outback 2015, rear brakes 80% down and fronts only 30%. When I come out of a stop and drive I feel the brakes make a thumping noise but it goes away. The service claims its normal and then said it was'nt unusual wear and tear so my vehicle coverage will not cover it . I think they know what the problem is they just wont say

Same here -- on my wife's 2014 Outback and my son's 2015 Legacy. Mileage on both is in mid-60,000s. Both have rear brakes in last 10%. Fronts are fine. My independent mechanic is hesitant to work on them. Says the ABS sensors on are prone to breakage when they go back in. He's recommending we go to the dealer.


S/he is being way too wary, as there's no reason to disturb the ABS sensors when pulling the rotors off. But if the rotors are still pretty clean (try to check the INNER surfaces too) just slap in pads...but don't expect to get more than another winter or two at best from the rotors. Rotors for 2015+ are bigger and still pricier, but 2010-2014 are cheap, and thus not worth reusing. While you're back there with your 2015 I'd add the 19/20mm OE thicker rear anti-swaybar to dramatically improve handling and body control, as it's a cheap ($125) mod that really works, restoring chassis dynamics to the decent 2013-2014 level. But this is another thread....

1 people found this helpful.

This is not uncommon on AWD cars that the rears wear faster then the fronts. The rear pads are significantly small in thickness then the fronts. Usually you will wear the rears 2 to 1 to the fronts. There is no need to replace the rotors provided they are not scored, warped or glazed, then you should replace them

3 people found this helpful.

Well...not really. The job of rear brakes is to keep the vehicle straight as deceleration occurs when weight transfers forward onto the front brakes...where all the "work" is done in heat absorption by the double-thick rotors. The predominant reason the rears can "wear" first, especially in the rust belt, is that their rotors rot first because of lack of wind drying them AND that, yes, the pads are small to begin with. But sometimes folks replace them early because they look thin, when they actually can last a long time IF the rotors are clean. So it's a funny dance we do, especially up here in salt country.

1 people found this helpful.

So I have a 2016 Forester with 40000 kms or 25000 miles which my mechanic says only has 4 mm of pad left. Is this normal? Do they need changing at this point? I've never had a car need brakes changed this soon. Does the warranty cover brakes? Thanks!


Yes. No. Not brake pads. 4mm is HALF the original, you have at least another yea remaining.

I found its typical for 2015 Subaru Outback rear pads to wear faster than the front due to the brake proportioning control valve. This valve shifts the braking to the rear brakes to reduce forward acceleration during a hard stop and prevents brake lock up. This new technology maintains CG balance when stopping.


"reduce forward acceleration during a hard stop"? Surely your high school physics teacher is weeping.

1 people found this helpful.

I found this the same case for my 2016 Legacy. Almost 40k. My mom borrowed my car for couple days and complaining the brake pads are thin as she feels it when driving. So I took a picture of the pads to see how "thin" they are. Interestingly I found the rear pads are much thinner than the fronts. I took 4 picture of each of the pads. Well... seems the forum only allow me to post 1 picture per post. So here is one of the rear pads.

And here is one of the front pads. I checked the brake fluid too. They are not clean but as well not dark that needs a replacement and the fluid is full. I believe they(dealer) did a brake fluid flush when at 30k maintenance. So I wouldn't say it's the brake fluid causing any uneven wear.

As you can see one of my rear rotor is not that clean and has some scratches there. But the pads are even as I'm posting the picture of the other one here... Looks like the pads can last 1 more year and I'm planing to change both the rotor and pads next year.


They're fine. Inspect in another year.

E-Brakes on the Gen 4 and Gen 5 Outback are entirely unrelated. So is hill-holder. The Gen 4 and Gen 5 Outbacks employ a dual brake system in the rear. Driving brakes are disc brakes. E-Brake and hill hold are drum brakes inside the rotor.


Huh? An answer looking for a question?

TheSubaruGuruBoston, no, alas, this place didn't let me tag and respond where I thought it did, which was to these comments: Answer 1: "Is the e-brake dragging?" Answer 3: "To the best of my understanding- the electronic e-brake is either all on or all off, so there shouldn't be an instance where it would drag." The e-brake is irrelevant, as I noted.

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