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Subaru Forester Tire/Wheel Questions



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    What bugged and still bugs me is that there is little information available about this issue. My suspicion is that the Subaru AWD can deal with more than the 1/4" circumference difference required, easily. Your own story proves that the Subaru AWD system can take a lot.

    I completely agree with you. For short periods of time, such as under the heavy load scenario you presented in that same post, it will not cause any significant (lasting) stress. My goal here was simply to provide fair warning that stress will be introduced and it can lead to failure of very expensive systems.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Wes, as you and I both said, short (even 1,000 miles) trips won't cause damage, however prolonged (over 1,000 miles) use of mismatched diameter tires will begin to wear down your center differential.

    This effect is similar to using the wrong offset of wheel, while using the wrong offset won't destroy your wheel bearings instantly, PROLONGED use will lead to premature failure.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • Hi,
    I just want anyone who is interested to know that I got new tires for my Forester, after being told be the dealer just to put on two new Yokahamas. I went and spent the money on Michelin Primacy tires the day before the two and a half feet of snow hit Chicago. I put on four tires, not two, which was pricey, but well worth it. I am getting great traction and these tires handled the snow and ice pretty well after our monster storm. Good choice! Thanks for all your advice-I appreciate it.
  • hutch52hutch52 Posts: 1
    I just replaced one tire on my 2002 Subaru Forester. I have been reading the forum comments about the possible problems with mismatched tires. Three of my tires are Firestone tires with a 55K warranty. Firestone does not make that exact tire anymore, but replaced it with a new model number with a 65K warranty. the tread pattern, and apearance of the tire is virtually identical. I would like to replace all four tires eventually, but am wondering if having replaced one tire with a new one of virtually the same tire is a problem. Any comments from the forum?
  • laredo13laredo13 Posts: 6
    edited June 2011
    How many miles are on the original 3? If they will need replacing in the next year I would have replaced all 4 now. Unless your tires are really worn down you shouldn't have any problems as long as you stick with the same exact brand and size. Go to and look up the specifications for your specific tires. Rev per mile, circumference, width etc. Different tires and manufacturers may have slightly different specifications even if they are listed as the same size (ie. 225 75R 15.) A good set of tires that STICK to the road in all weather conditions will probably last only 30K - 35K miles. I would be leery of a tires overall traction ability with a 60+K warranty. A tire that really STICKS to the road will never last 60K miles. Read the reviews, surveys and tests before you buy any more tires. Good luck.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Even if it is an identical replacement, whether it is "okay" to replace just one all depends on how much wear is on the other three. You need to know the original tread depth and the current tread depth of the used tires. If the used tires are more than about 2/32" worn, you should have the replacement tire shaved to match so that you don't put excessive strain on the car's differentials.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Hi guys,

    I had my '09 Forester XT Limited at the dealership for some routine maintenance yesterday. They found a roofing nail in the interior sidewall of one of the tires. The dealer quoted me a price for 4 tires including alignment, and I opted to go home, research on tirerack instead. I ended up buying the Kumho Ecsta LX Platinum tires, which should be delivered Mon or Tues next week.

    Dumb girl question 1: why would I need wheel alignment after replacing the tires if I don't need wheel alignment before replacing the tires? The service guy at the dealer was insistent that I compare prices including wheel alignment. I don't get it. Are they going to knock my alignment out while installing the tires?

    Dumb girl question 2: my tire sensor light came on 2-3 weeks ago. I added air to all four tires (can't remember if one was significantly lower than the others, but I think so), so I assume that's when I picked up the nail. However, the light had not been on since. I drove home from the dealer, and then an hour later went back out to run a short distance errand. The tire light came on almost immediately. I stopped for air and the bad tire was at 10 psi. Sorry, but WTF? So now what do I do? Not drive at all for three days? Carry a portable air pump with me and only drive short distances if necessary? Can I put a can of fix a flat in there for the interim (I read that can damage the TPMS).

    BTW, I hate hate hate the Geolanders, so although I am pissed about having to replace 4 tires at 21K miles, I'm not sad to see them go. That 's why I didn't even consider the option of shaving a tire down to match.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would ask the tire shop that installs the new Kumhos if they think an alignment is necessary.

    Did the old tires wear evenly? If so I'd be tempted to pass.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I think it is far preferable to do one's own research and make a decision based on that versus taking the recommendation of a shop on faith. I couldn't agree more regarding the Geolandars, plus the cost of a single tire (at least at my location) is north of $200, which is just insulting considering the quality of the tire. I'm facing a similar situation to yours due to a sidewall puncture.

    As far as your questions go, you wouldn't "need" an alignment when replacing the tires. The benefit, if you did opt to have one, could be two fold: 1. you would ensure (presumably) the new tires would wear evenly, and 2. you would put some extra profit in the shop's pocket. ;) As AJ suggested, unless you see uneven wear on the current tires or the car is not tracking true, I wouldn't bother with it.

    The shop may (probably?) fiddled with the nail when they were inspecting, which may have caused the leak to worsen. Since you don't plan to keep the tires, I would just opt for the refill often option. Or, you could get a tire repair kit (pretty cheap, $5-10), pull the tire off and put a plug in it (absolutely an extremely short-term fix) and hope it holds for the day or two you need. if nothing else, you do have your spare on-hand should you need it. I'd recommend making sure it is at full pressure (60 psi) now, just in case.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    I've had several nail flats fixed by the plug method. I'd always been taught that the only proper way to fix a flat was to dismount the tire and patch the inside. Come to find out that "Discount Tires" aka "Americas Tires" has been fixing them with plugs for many years, and I've never had a problem with them so far.

    I've been using the Kumho KR21 Solus for several years, they are great tires (quiet, good riding, long lasting) at about $60-$80 (price has really been going up on these).

  • danielldaniell Posts: 128
    edited February 2013
    Hello Subaru experts.

    I recently bought a 2013 Forester Limited with the 17" wheels. I have an extra set of OEM 16" tires and wheels from my 2002 Forester S with all season tires. Bolt pattern and offset match. So today I installed the old wheels + tires 215/60-16 instead of the 225/55-17 the 2013 came with (as those old tires still have a lot of life in them). I realize my odometer is about 2% off, and the TPMS light came on as the old tires had no TPMS in them. My question however is about the front brakes - they only have 3/8" or so clearance with the 16" wheels. Wheels rotate freely, and a test drive including highway showed no problem. Is there any scenario in which this tight clearance could be a problem?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't think so...the brakes move with the wheels.

    You lose a tiny bit of ground clearance, right? I would just get taller tires when (if) you replace them.
  • danielldaniell Posts: 128
    Thanks Juice!

    Yes, I am losing 0.5" of ground clearance. The plan is once I use these old tires to put snows on in the OEM size (for lower trims) 215/65-16.

  • danielldaniell Posts: 128
    Meant 0.25", not 0.5"...

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, half inch diameter. So not a big loss in clearance.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Daniel, those 16" rims work just fine, and the planned 16" replacement tire size is perfect going forward, so if you are fine with the smaller size for now, go with it. You will be accumulating miles a little faster than actual, though, which will (slightly) shorten your warranty period depending on how long (miles-wise) you use the tires.

    I have a set of 16" steel rims off a 2007 Forester that I use on my 2010. I use those with my winter tires (same size as you noted - 215/65R16) and then use the 17" alloy wheels for the summer tires. No TPMS in the winter wheels, which is fine by me.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 856

    Between 2002 and 2013, the Forester put on weight. So Subaru put on tires with larger load carrying capacity.

    I STRONGLY recommend you do something other than put those 16" tires on your new Forester. Overloaded tires can fail - sometimes catastrophically and with little warning. You do not want to be part of that statistic.
  • danielldaniell Posts: 128
    edited February 2013
    Thanks capriracer (and Wes) for your answers!

    Capriracer, I am fully aware of that. Weight went up by about 200 lbs., and tires went from 215/60-16 to 215/65-16 on base models and 225/55-17 on my limited. Load rating is 95 on my 225/55-17 vs. 94 on the old ones, very minor change. However for this very reason I am keeping my old tires 215/60-16 inflated by an additional 2-3 psi. I have them at 33 psi in the front, 32 in the back, so that should cover it. We also never get close to the load rating of the car of 900 lbs...

  • danielldaniell Posts: 128
    Hi Capriracer,

    I accidentally saw some of your posts in an engineering forum (you are/were an engineer for a "major tire manufacturer").

    Very good stuff there, I agree with you 100%. If I have a choice, I try to buy tires rated H and above for the reasons you mention.

  • Heads up, DTD has pre labor day sale, 215/60R16
    96 X 4 = 384
    MFG rebate = 50
    DTD rebate = 75
    Free shipping
    = 259

    Other tires available, I ordered Conti PureContact, $376 shipped.
    Sale ends Mon...
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