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Subaru Forester Tire/Wheel Questions



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The usual industry standard is 3% variance, so you'd be within that tolerance.

    If I had a choice, though, I'd go 3% taller, to gain clearance for the snow, so you don't high-center.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    AJ, it cracks me up that you are focused on clearance, considering the amount of snow the DC area tends to get per year.

    I agree that extra clearance can come in handy, but in this situation, I think I would use up the current tires and then go to the 215/65/R16 after these wear out. Why not stick with the 17" size? 16" tires are much cheaper, plus the taller sidewalls offer better rim protection, and you never know when you might hit a large chunk of ice or some other object hidden in the snow.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Nearly none.

    We've had one ice storm this year and it was less than an inch and mostly freezing rain and ice.

    I'm just thinking of the folks that do get real snow, though.

    I might even choose 205/70R16 tires, narrow and tall, to dig in and increase clearance.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Here's a handy Tire Size Calculator that you can use to compare tire circumferences/# revs per mile.

    From what I've read, it's preferred to use smaller diameter wheels for winter tires with the marginal loss of clearance more than offset by the advantages of taller sidewalls.

    Oh, I'm pretty sure that in 2002 the L and S models both had 16" wheels.


    P.S. Juice- I gotta agree with Wes, you're seriously worrying about fractions of an inch clearances when you live in DC? :P
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Hahahha! Darn the Internet, Frank! Oh, well, I may have wasted a few minutes calculating those numbers, but at least the link you provided gives me added faith in my numbers. :blush:

    Agreed about the small diameter wheels and taller sidewalls for winter driving. I think, at least on snow/ice covered roads (which are the ones I get - consistently - for 6+ months a year), the better handling characteristics of lower sidewalls are a moot point because the car is going to slide well before a difference in handling is realized. ;)

    Keeping a car over many years means at least two sets of winter tires will be purchased, and possibly more depending on the wear characteristics, miles on the road, road conditions during those miles, etc., so the savings involved in not having the tires swapped between one set of rims will cover a second set, and if buying a second set, the tire cost savings from purchasing smaller rim-size tires will further offset that investment. It seems like a win all around, to me. And, the best part is that the same set of rims will accommodate any of the three 16" tire sizes discussed here, so the preference of the owner (slightly taller 16" tires, slightly shorter, or slightly skinnier) is left to the owner's discretion! :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My Miata has about 4" of clearance and bottoms out all the time!

    That's why I take the wife's Forester when it snows. That's got enough clearance even for our (very) occasional blizzard.
  • With all this great help, my way foward is clear: get second set of 16" rims for the 'zaks and have them ready for next season (I'm optimistic CHI is past the worst of winter!). This gives me time to find a set of cheap rims vs. urgent / must do - have enough of those!

    The variation in odo output and ground clearance, etc. should be minimal and certainly any negative trade-offs will be offset by the better performance in snow & ice condtions.

    02 L's have 15" as standard size; S's moved to larger 16"

    Thnx again!
  • Hi All

    I just purchased a 2002 Forester L. The stock sized 205/70R15 tires need to be replaced. I'm thinking of purchasing a set of Blizzaks in this size for winter use on the stock steel wheel as I live in the NE. Then I would purchase a set of the optional 215/60R16 size tire and a set of 16" aluminum rims for the rest of the year. I was looking at the General Altimax HP in 16" or the Altimax RT in 15" as they are highly rated on Tire Rack.

    This vehicle will be used by my wife and driven approx.12-15K per year. Any thoughts and opinions on going to 16" vs 15" or should I just stick with the 15's? I'm new to Subaru so any information would be appreciated.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I like your plan, I'd go with 16"s also.

    I had a 98 and made that upgrade and the handling improved notably.
  • cargalrncargalrn Posts: 1
    Hi, and thanks for any responses. I have a 2008 Forester, love it, had a puncture last summer, new tire obtained and my right origanal geolander wore on the outside pretty badly, got an alignment and put on snow tires for the winter. I like to be sure I'll get around to ski. So that leaves me with having to replace all the tires (3 geolanders, two of which are fine, and one odd one which is fine). I have searched this forum and until now I am very confused. I have a friend that says Continentals are overpriced and is suggesting a TigerPaw (AWP?) for $95 a tire with mount and balance. I will put my winters on in about early December and remove them in early March.
    Does anyone have any suggestions?
  • Got 45k out of the Geo stock in rain, snow in Wisconsin, (no doubt it will pass the 50k mark), not bad at all. Used SubaruBucks to purchase a set of General Tires/Altimax HP in stock size, plus alignment and oil change.

    The Geo's got bad rep from a lot of users, it all depends on the way you drive, period.


    So far it seems quieter than Geo ( only had them for a day), was looking at Kumho's but came across this GT which got good reviews across the board.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Your dealer accepted Subaru Bucks for tires?

  • 204meca204meca Posts: 366
    I have my eye on those General Tires/Altimax HP also for my next tires to replace my Kuhmo Solus (been a good tire much better than Geolanders - a notch short of great tires). I would appreciate an update on how these Generals are working for you. Especially the noise & ride quotient.
  • Hi Juice,

    Their parts dept let me order any tire I want, and the price they quote is within $5 compared to a local tire store, plus they are a new dealership which offers 10% discount on all parts and I end up getting a better deal than going to a tire store.

    The review of this tire on tirerack is even better than the good year triple tread.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Cool. We have $400 saved up so I may look into that, see if my dealer will take 'em also.

    I kinda wanted a trailer hitch and a bike rack but it's her car and she used veto power.
  • fandcfandc MinnesotaPosts: 48
    Coincidence. I just put these on my son's Legacy to replace the SP5000s (no longer made). The reviews on Tire Rack were compelling. So far he says that the traction is better, not surprising since the SP5000s were around 30K miles.

    I had thought of RE960s, as he uses dedicated winter tyres, but these seemed to be a better all-around tyre.
  • My wife recently got a 2009 Forester and I ran across the issue of having to replace a flat tire. Basically I don't want her to have to change out two tires if she has a flat on the front. The car has seventeen inch aluminum wheels and the dealer recommended that we buy a steel rim (he said he would have to charge full price for a replacement 17 inch alloy wheel) and mount a new 17 inch Geolander.

    Any advice or recommendations?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We did this for a 2002 Legacy.

    What I recommend is shop around for used Subaru rims, you only need one. Find someone that had an XT and did a Plus One, maybe.

    I got alloys, so I had 4 spare steel wheels. Sold one to a friend who did the same thing I did - mounted a new tire and created a full sized spare. The other two I think I ended up recycling, noone wanted 15s.
  • I'm not sure I understand.

    In looking for used Subaru rims, do you mean check with salvage yards? I think it's going to be hard finding the 17" rims. The guy at Discount tire said a new steel rim to fit the Forester would run me ~$90.00.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think that price is waaaay high.

    Tire Rack was selling WRX take-offs, alloy, for less than that.

    Should be $50 or so.
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