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Subaru Forester Tire/Wheel Questions



  • tazerelitazereli Posts: 241
    My wife's 02 Forestor recently got a flat tire. the flat was rather new (less than 3k on the tire). i replaced it with the same tire and size just a different speed rating. the old one was a T rating and the new one is a H rating. Any big deal having 3 t rated tires and 1 h rated? they are BFG traction t/a's size: 215-60-15. Any help./comments are appreciated.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    H is higher-rated than T, so you got a slightly superior tire. I think that's fine. If you'd gone the other way, I'd be concerned.

  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    An H rated tire *may* be a bit firmer riding than the T rated tire as well.

  • poodog13poodog13 Posts: 320
    Looking at replacing 4 tires on 05 Forester with an 80k tire. Wondering if anyone has any experience with a Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring or any other 80k tires. It's my wife's car, not interested in paying extra for high speed ratings. Thanks!
  • asaasa Posts: 359
    The factory Geolander tires on my wife's '04 Forester 2.5X are all showing the exact same wear pattern -- tread depth is good across the width of the tire, but the outside and inside shoulders are badly worn and perfectly matched in wear on each shoulder. I've kept them inflated to about 30 PSI, just a few pounds above the recommended pressure. They have 38,000 Miles on them.

    Why are all four tires showing this identical wear? Knowing that the tread is good elsewhere, are they still safe to drive? I hate to spend money on tires, but I want my family safe. Any thoughts are welcome. Thanks.
  • poodog13poodog13 Posts: 320
    The factory Geolander tires on my wife's '04 Forester 2.5X are all showing the exact same wear pattern -- tread depth is good across the width of the tire, but the outside and inside shoulders are badly worn and perfectly matched in wear on each shoulder. I've kept them inflated to about 30 PSI, just a few pounds above the recommended pressure. They have 38,000 Miles on them.

    Why are all four tires showing this identical wear? Knowing that the tread is good elsewhere, are they still safe to drive? I hate to spend money on tires, but I want my family safe. Any thoughts are welcome. Thanks.

    My wife has an 05 and had the exact same treadwear. Those tires are only rated at 320 treadwear (or maybe 360) which equates to only about a 30-35k tire. OEM tires never seem to last much longer than that these days. I just replaced my wifes tires w/ 4 80k tires. Did lots of research and was leaning toward Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring from Wal Mart but ended up getting a great deal from a local guy on Goodyear Assurance ComfortTreds.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    38k miles is plenty for an all-terrain tire like that. I would consider it a full life of use and replace them when you get the chance.

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    But to answer your question, the shoulders are wearing faster because the tires aren't inflated sufficiently for optimal tread wear. Because of the way radial tires are designed, at lower PSI rates, the shoulders carry most of the vehicle's weight. Meanwhile at higher PSI rates, the center of the tread wears faster because it's having to carry the whole load. For the most even (and therefore longest) tread wear, you want to find the PSI where the vehicle’s weight is spread across as much of the tire’s tread as possible.

    Now perhaps you’re asking why the recommended TP wouldn’t be the one that maximizes the tire’s life expectancy? Well the answer is because the vehicle’s manufacturer (not just Subaru) chose to sacrifice some tread wear in exchange for improved ride comfort. That’s because generally speaking, the higher the PSI, the stiffer the ride. Now to be fair, there are some handling and safety concerns since an over-inflated tire doesn’t grip the road as well and is more prone to overheating (as is a severely under-inflated tire).

    Personally, for tires rated at 44 max PSI, I keep them at 36. This seems to provide for almost even tread wear (and improved gas mileage) while not negatively affecting handling. The trade-off is that I have to put up with a slightly stiffer ride.

  • asaasa Posts: 359
    Thanks for the tire information everyone. I was kinda thinkin' too that factory OE tires rarely last long, but had never seen my sort of tread wear -- I feel better knowing that it's not uncommon. Looks like I need to start the buying process sometime soon; my wife won't rest otherwise.
  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    Keeping the pressure up helps, but it also may pay to have an alignment. My original Geos (old design) lasted 30K and wore badly on the edges in spite of my keeping the pressures at 33 all around. The replacement Goodrich T/As lasted 42k, also with lots of edge wear. When I replaced them, I had 4 wheel alignment. My current set, Bridgestone Turanza LS/Ts have 53,000 on them and 7/32 of tread left. They will easily surpass their 60k Mile warranty and still have 4/32 tread, which I consider minimum for safety. They have been great in snow and wet weather. The H rated model is a different design and will not last as long.
  • gmginsfogmginsfo San Diego, CAPosts: 116
    Finally replaced my OEM Geolanders at 41.5K miles today. I went with Goodyear Assurance Triple Treads, which were the No. 1 choice in Consumer Reports' last full tire comparison. Paid $493 at Evans Tires here in Chula Vista for all 4, including balancing, alignment, enviro-fees, and they threw in a free oil change and some other goodies. I noticed the difference immediately upon leaving their premises - man, these tires are SILENT! It's a completely differnt experience now when driving on the freeway at 74 mph, compared to the road hum I used to get.

    Which brings up the issue of knocking/pinging, which has been pretty much constant while going uphills, especially long steady grades, since I got the car. It checks out OK and I'm still running COSTCO 87 in it, so I wonder why I'm getting the knock/ping and if it might be harming the engine.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    New tires should be...even my Nitto tires were, but now they're kinda loud. I hope yours hold up better (though to be fair, mine have lasted 5 years).

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Finally bit the bullet and oredered a new set of tires. I have a set of Falken Ziex 512s on my Miata and was really happy with them, so I ordered the same tires for my Forester.

    I went back to 215/60R16 instead of the slightly wider 225s I have now. The size better matches my full size spare (205/70R15) that I had to use on a trip from the beach, 2 hours away. Got a little worried about the difference in circumference, so I went with the closer match.

    They should arrive next week, I got them from Ordering on-line saves you a bundle, I got them for $35 less than similar tires at Costco, and that's shipped, plus I don't have to pay tax! Saved me about $160 overall.

    Ordered a 2nd set for our Legacy, too, since my wife just got a flat and it's not fixable. Luckily the tires were already old, so no big loss.

  • smittynycsmittynyc Posts: 291
    I'll be interested to hear how you like those on the Forester, juice.

    I just ordered tires online myself, and agonized over getting Falkens or Yoko Avid H4S. It was basically a coin flip, but I went with the Yokos. I'm comfortable with the brand based on my positive experience with the OEM tires, I read/heard good things about tread life, and I like that it's (AFAIK) the only AA/A-rated tire anywhere close to that price point. It was tough to go against CR's recommendation, though!

    The new shoes are going on tomorrow. I'll post impressions in a few weeks after they're scuffed up a bit.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    So far, so good, as far as the Falken tires.

    We took a road trip to the beach, about 3 hours each way. Two things I noticed that are different than the last set I had:

    1. They are not as quiet as the Nittos were when new, but certainly tolerable.

    2. Straight line tracking is *MUCH* improved.

    I'm not getting the tram-lining that I was with the Miata when it got the same tires (that's when the tires try to follow seams in the road), but boy does it track straight. You point the steering wheel in one direction and it really holds that position, especially if you're going straight.

    I'd choose tracking like that over the noise any day so I'm satisfied so far.

  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    I hope you like the Avid's - That's what I replaced my GEO's with and I've been thrilled so far. About 6k on them.

    In fairness, I'm not sure they'll be as good in the winter, but I don't have anything but a gut feeling on that one. In my case iit doesn't matter since I run snows from dec 1st to mid march.
  • smittynycsmittynyc Posts: 291
    I'm taking the new tires out for their first extended highway/back country miles this weekend, and I probably won't be able to speak to driving characteristics for another 1-2K. anyway. But the two local drives I have taken thus far have been noteworthy for their quietness. I knew the Avids would be an upgrade in that area, but not by *that* much.

    I also doubt the Avids will be as good as the Geos were in the snow. My wife is an MD and has to show up for work regardless of what's happening with weather. The Geos got her there through some pretty nasty stuff the last two years, often times with one or more coworkers along for the ride because they were either stuck or not willing to chance it in their cars. I'm hoping where the Avid really shines is with wet handling. I never had any serious problems with the Geos in that respect, but it felt like wet was their Achilles' heel. Still, I would have kept them indefinitely if it weren't for the fact that the shoulders were getting dangerously worn.

    In somewhat related news, I'll be at the dealer tomorrow am. The tire place that installed the new Avids called me at work and did the old "Sir, we've got your car on the lift and did you realize you've only got 5% of your brake pads left?" routine. I'm fairly certain they were attempting a fast one, but might as well have the dealer check it out and make the most of that 7 months and 7K I've got left on the warranty.
  • My 03 Forester X 5 speed is ready for new tires. I was ready to go with the Goodyear Assurance TripleTreds - but my local dealer wouldn't put them on because they're not H rated. How important is is that I go with an H-rated tire? I've got a good set of Bridgestones and another Michelin tire - both H-rated - as options as well, but I like what I read about the Goodyears.
  • applejfapplejf Posts: 40
    Newbie owner of a new Forester. It has what I assume are the normal Original Equipment Geolander G900's. I'd like to pump these babies up to max safe pressure for getting the best MPG, but the messages on the side of the tire are not clear as to what that pressure is. I've never seen what is on the side of these tires, something like: "Do not exceed 40 psi during seating of the bead" or something like that. Is 40 the max running pressure also?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's not that you'll ever go 130mph on public roads, but rather that the H-rated tires have better resistance to heat. If you want, check out the ratings on the sidewall, it'll say something like this:

    A A 460

    The first A is the traction grade. AA is best, then A, then B. Try to get A or better.

    The second letter is the grade for heat resistance. Most H rated tires get an A here. S rated tires usually get a B. The Firestones in the big Explorer controversy were B rated. I'd avoid that, so I have to agree with the tire shop.

    The last number is for treadwear, relative to a reference generic tire. Higher numbers mean they last longer. I've seen anywhere from 180 to 500+.

    Pressure - Subaru's recommendationos are on the low side, 29/26 on mine for instance, but I use 32 psi all around. You don't want to go any higher than 35psi or so because the ride becomes real stiff.

  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    The GY TT is not H rated in stock 215/60 size, but if you go to 225/60 (or "plus zero") it is H rated. A lot of owners prefer this size anyway as it gives you more options and a wider tread.

  • Any downside - in principle or in practice - to going with the 225/60s?
  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    The increased surface area may result in an ever-so-slight drop in gas mileage; more or less depending on how performance-oriented the tire is. But that may be the small price you pay for better traction.

  • rjweissrjweiss Posts: 20
    I have just about 50k mile on the Geolanders on my 03 Forester so it's time for new tires. What tires would the dealer supply? my guess is the Geolanders again or do dealers have better choices?

    The reason I would go to the dealer is to use up my Subaru Bucks.


    Ron W.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    Different dealers have different stock. Check with them.

    I am very happy with the wear I have gotten from the Geolanders, and they like all makers have several different quality/use levels. If you are happy with their performance, replace with the same! :)
  • Hi,

    At my latest service visit, the dealer said that my treads were down to 5/32nds. The car has 37,500 miles and is mostly driven on the highway at high speed. They suggested replacing my OEM tires with a set of Cooper all-season tires. I live in NY state where we get significant snow.

    Do you have any suggestions or are there any things I should look out for?


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I didn't like the OE Desert Deuelers that came on my Forester. Poor rating all around.

    Then I replaced them with the Nitto NT460. Better, and more quiet at first, but as they wore they were noisy. They also leaked air towards the end, but they did last a very long time.

    My third set are Falken Ziex 512. I got them on my Miata first, and liked them so much we got them on our Legacy and on our Forester. So we actually own 12 of those tires!

    I love them, they track straight, grip like crazy, and the cost is very affordable, only slightly more than cheapie generic tires.

    Consumer Reports also rated them a Best Buy, and I can't disagree. Discount Tire carries them, so does

  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    Juice is right about the Falken. Other proven performers in the Falken's class are the Dunlop SP5000 and the Bridgestone Traction T/A. I've run both of the latter two and was very happy with them, even in moderate snow.
  • My Geos were getting pretty worn on the shoulders at 29K, so I replaced them about 1,500 miles ago with some Yokohama Avid H4s. I can't vouch for how they do in the snow, but in every other respect they have been simply outstanding. The difference in grip and handling is stunning (and I always thought the Geos got a bad rap). They are one of only a small number of tires that get a AA traction rating.

    You should be able to get them for $70 apiece. My only beef so far is kind of a weird one -- the center channel is very wide and tends to suck up lots of gravel and road chunks and other detritus. I spend a lot of time digging these out of the treads.
  • how about putting 17" tires on a 2007?
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