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Replacing tires with a different size

We have a 1996 Subaru Legacy Outback. Someone offered us a full set of four studded snow tires at a great price, but they said they are slightly bigger in height than what's on the car now. Would it be ok to use them as long as we're putting on all 4 at the same size?


  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 856
    The issue with larger tires is that they may rub - and all kinds of crazy things happen when tires rub on the bodywork - the worst of which is letting all the air out.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    True. There is not a whole lot of extra clearance on the '96-'99 (actually the '00 through '04 is similar in this respect), so it really depends on how much different in size they are. I think the stock size is 205/75R15.... what is the size of these tires, klynnknits?
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Sorry, took a while to get the sizing info from my husband. The tires on the car now are 205/70/15 and the ones the guy would sell us are 205/65/15. So, would these be smaller then?
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 856
    edited November 2011
    You do NOT want to be going smaller in size. That increases the risk of a load related tire failure and those sometimes have tragic results.

    So "pass" on those tires.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    The 205/65R15 is a slightly smaller tire: 3.2% to be exact. What that means: The odometer will have clicked off 37,140 miles after you have actually driven 36,000, and your speedometer will read 61.9 MPH when you are actually traveling 60 MPH.

    There shouldn't be any increased risk of tire failure if the tires carry the same speed rating as the car requires (such as H, V, T, Z, etc.), so that part wouldn't bother me personally. If you are using them strictly as winter tires, and if they're studs, I would probably just use them. Studs don't last very long generally, in terms of being effective, so I would plan to use them a single season and then get a better fitted tire moving forward.

    I like to keep my tire sizes with in 2% of stock, but would never go more than 4% out. If you ever have questions on that, there are size calculators out there on the web that are easily accessible.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,552
    It's not the speed rating that matters, it's the load rating.

    Regardless, this is a case were it doesn't matter ... because the Outback is just a jacked up Legacy with bigger tires. I think the same year Legacys came with 195/60-15.

    The main issue is speedo error, as wes explained.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My other concern is ground clearance.

    Remember, these are snow tires. So she would be mounting tires that would result in a little less ground clearance, and you can use every bit of that. Angle of approach also would suffer a tad, and the Outback already has a long front overhang.
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