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Are wheels interchangeable

triumphertriumpher Posts: 58
I have a 2003 Outback with an extra set of wheels with winter tires on. I am looking into buying a new 2012 Outback. Can I use my "old" winter wheels with this new vehicle?
With other words, are the hole patterns and offset the same between the 2003 and the 2012 Outbacks?


  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,507
    What are the rim and tire sizes on the old car? The bold pattern is the same, and a 16" rim will fit over the brakes, so unless the new tires are upsized significantly, the old ones should work.
  • triumphertriumpher Posts: 58
    Thanks, the wheels are 16". As long as the bolt pattern is the same, I can use those tires again (they have only two winters on them)
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,507
    edited June 2012
    Looking at the stock numbers, the 2003 is a 225/60-R16 on 16x7.5 wheels with a 45mm offset. The 2012 is either 215/70-R16 on 16x7.5 wheels or 225/60-R17 on 17x7.5 wheels, both with a 45mm offset, depending on whether it is base (2.5i) or any higher trim level, respectively. All have a 5x100 bolt pattern.

    So, the wheels are definitely compatible. The tire sizes are also compatible, with the 2003 tires being 3.8% smaller than the stock 17" tires on the Outback (4.6% smaller than the stock 16" tires). Assuming you are not planning to get a 2.5i base, then the 2003 tires will put your speedometer over-reading by 2.25 mph (when you're going 60 mph, the speedo reads 62.25). This means that over 36,000 miles, your odometer will accumulate 1,352 miles more than you actually traveled. ;)

    If you can live with that, you're good to go!

    I should also note that if you decide to keep using the 2003 rims after the current tires are ready for replacement, I recommend 225/65-R16 as the best match to the 2012's stock 17" tire size. That tire will be 0.4% smaller, meaning your speedometer is only over-reading by a whopping 0.25 mph, and your odometer is only off by +149 miles over that same 36,000 mile interval.
  • triumphertriumpher Posts: 58
    Because of the very optimistic speedometer display in my 2003 I did the tire size calculation, and selected the tires in a size to bring the speedometer closer to reality by selecting the appropriate tires (a little bigger). In reality, I don't care if the odometer records a few thousand miles more over the lifetime of the vehicle.

    Thank you for your help, this way I will save a few hundred dollars .

    I case I would want to buy a Forester instead of an Outback, would those rims/tires fit a Forester?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,507
    The stock size on the 2003, 225/60-R16, is a perfect fit for the Forester (0.4% smaller), which is 225/55-R17 on all trim levels except the base. The base has, I believe, 225/60-R16 as its stock size.

    Whether or not those tires fit depends on how much you upsized them. If they're no bigger than the 2012 Outback stock sizes, they should fit just fine.
  • triumphertriumpher Posts: 58
    Thanks for the info. I checked the tires and they are 225/60-R16.
    this means that I can use the set of Wheels/tires, no matter which of the two Subarus I would buy.
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