June 10, 2011. Author:

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Can anyone tell me what noise(s) should I be listening for to distinguish the difference between a bad front wheel bearing and a bad CV joint on my 2002 Outback Wagon?

Hello, and welcome to the site.  The front axles usually will make a clicking sound in sharp turns when the outer joint is going faulty. Then the clicking becomes more pronounced, then it starts doing it in even slight turns, then eventually they can just click all the time.

The wheel bearing is sometimes more of a wooshing sound.  With the wheel lifted off the ground, and a hand on the coil spring, while spinning the wheel by hand, it is often possible to feel the wheel bearing in the coil spring.  If the wheel bearing is worn enough, you will be able to feel freeplay when shaking the wheel back and forth, even with the vehicle on the ground.