Car Doctor Q&A: Why Does My Subaru Squeal and Would You Recommend Snow Tires?

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This week, AAA’s Car Doctor, John Paul, fields a question on a squealing Subaru, and answers our favorite question about snow tires.

Q. I own a 2014 Subaru Outback and it has been a great car so far this winter. I live in the Northeast and the all-wheel-drive has performed beyond my expectation. I have two questions; the first is there is a slight fan belt noise (chirp/squeal) when I start the car. This doesn’t happen every day but one in a while. My local repair shop looked under the hood and said everything looked fine. My second question is, even with all-wheel-drive do you recommend snow tires?

A. Snow tires will enhance winter performance of any car (all-wheel-drive included). As next winter rolls around the factory all-season tires may be worn enough where your car won’t deliver the handling you have come to expect. If it were my car I would consider four dedicated snow tires and spare wheels, use them in the winter and maximize the life of the original tires. Regarding the belt squeal, go back to the Subaru dealer. Subaru has an updated belt to eliminate the noise. The replacement belt should be covered under the factory warranty. Reference TSB number 02-156-14.

John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England. A certified mechanic, Paul tests dozens of new cars each year and also hosts a radio show on AM 950 and 550.