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Subaru Forester Tire/Wheel Questions



  • mseramsera Posts: 23
    As we all know stock size on a 2001 Forester S is 215-60-16. Even when new this tire is new it has the appearance of being so small. Now that it is time to replace I want to increase to 215-65-16 which will increase the overall diameter just under an inch. It might even give me a better ride with the slight increase in cushion.

    Any experience or opinion??
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    It should clear w/o a problem. I have an 05 LGT and I run 235-45-17 v. 215-45-17 which is stock size on it. :)

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    The difference in diameter (3% larger) will throw your speedometer off (it'll read too slow). The good news is that you'll "put fewer" miles on your Forester because your odometer will also be off :)

  • I've put over 33,000 miles on my Forester XT Sport in just over a year. The tires are OEM: Yokohama 215/55 R17. The two rear tires are very worn (1/32 or 2/32 remaining), while the front tires are OK (6 or 7/32). I am thinking of getting the Yokohama 215/55 ZR17, which (I think) is a little better than the originals. I do chiefly freeway/city driving in N. California, with little or no snow driving.

    My question is: should I get 2 tires or 4? If I get 2 now, does that affect tire rotations? :confuse:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would replace them as a set of 4.

    1/32 is basically "bald". They are overdue for replacement.

    Frank got some cool Plus Zero sized Kumhos, FWIW.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "On my automatic transmission, when I put on the spare tire I disconnect the AWD and turn the vehicle into a FWD, so is the 50 mile limit only for the stick shifts? Could somebody explain this to me?"

    On disabling the AWD, the manual says that only applies to the 4EAT. On page 9-3 the manual says:
    "All AWD AT non-turbo models without Vehicle Dynamics Control system: Before driving your vehicle with the temporary spare tire, put a spare fuse inside the FWD connector in the main fuse box located in the engine compartment and confirm that the Front Wheel Drive warning light "AWD" in the combination meter comes on. The all wheel drive capability of the vehicle has now deactivated. After re-installing the conventional tire, remove the spare fuse from the FWD connector in order to reactivate all wheel drive."

    So, the steps called for by the Owners Manual are:

    1. Remove a rear tire.
    2. Install the temporary spare in its place.
    3. Remove the flat front tire.
    4. Install the rear tire in its place.
    5. Remove the storage tray and its contents from the spare tire well.
    6. Put the flat tire in the well.
    -- And for the 4EAT automatic transmission:
    7. In the fusebox, install the spare fuse in the FWD slot to disable AWD.
    8. A sticker on the temporary spare warns not to exceed 50 mph.
    9. Don't drive too far in FWD or damage to drive train may occur.
    10. After the flat tire is fixed, put all 3 tires back in their original places.
    11. Remove the fuse to restore AWD.

    1. Remove flat tire.
    2. Install the temporary spare in its place.
    3. Remove the storage tray and its contents from the spare tire well.
    4. Put the flat tire in the well.
    -- And for the 4EAT automatic transmission:
    5. In the fusebox, install the spare fuse in the FWD slot to disable AWD.
    6. A sticker on the temporary spare warns not to exceed 50 mph.
    7. Don't drive too far in FWD or damage to drive train may occur.
    8. After the flat tire is fixed, put the 2 tires back in their original places.
    9. Remove the fuse to restore AWD.

    In view of all that, I have put a full size spare in my 4EAT. Goes anywhere on the car quick and easy, with no restrictions on speed or distance, or affect on traction if off-road or in snow.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,858
    Absolutely replace all four. From the sounds of it, you have not rotated your tires properly. By doing so, you shorten the total life of your tires and put added stress on the AWD system. Rotating tires is simple and fast - you should consider doing it or having it done every 7500 miles.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • bayarea_s40bayarea_s40 Posts: 19
    My '07 Sports XT automatic now has about 34,000 miles on it. Last week I changed out the four OEM Yoko Geolanders for Yoko Avids (same size), plus had the the wheels aligned and balanced. My early impression is that my MPG has dropped a bit. Where I was getting 22-23 mpg overall, I now seem to be getting around 19-20 mpg. Will increasing the tire pressure possibly increase mileage. I don't want go as high as the stated max psi of 40, but I'm thinking about 37-38 psi.

    Opinions and expertise are welcome!
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 370
    Very late reply but I have had both the Traction TAs & Kumho Solus KH!16. The Traction TAs had very stiff sidewalls resulting in what I considered an harsh, unpleasant ride. After 15K miles on the Kumhos I am satisfied with them in dry, rain & snow and would consider buying them again.

    I recently put Avid TRZs on our Audi A4 & am very pleased with them (no chance to drive in the snow) & will also consider them when buying my next set of tires (note that these are T rated rather than H.
  • casecom2casecom2 Posts: 72
    After five years and 43,000 miles, it's finally time for me to replace the stock Geolandars on my Forester. The tread is nearly gone on the edges -- I think the recommended psi kept them a tad underinflated. For the past year or so I've kept them at a pound or two over the recommended psi, which seemed to help the wear but made the ride a bit more jarring.

    At any rate, now I'm ready for new tires. I'm considering the Michelin Pilot Exaltos, which get great reviews over at Tire Rack, and I put them on my wife's Jetta and she likes them.

    Does anyone have any experience using the Exaltos on snow on a Forester? I live in Minnesota and don't own a separate set of winter tires, so that is a concern for me. I did like how the OEM Geos handled in snow. My wife had trouble in snow a couple of times this winter with the Exaltos in her Jetta, but otherwise they've been great. Any Forester owners here using Exaltos in snow?
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Never heard of the Exaltos so can't help you there. However, you are indeed correct that Subaru's recommend psi is to blame for your tires wearing faster on the outside edges. Subaru not surprisingly determined that a lower psi resulted in a better ride (but to the detriment of uniform treadwear). IIRC, I kepy my Geolanders at around 35 psi which was approx halfway between what Subaru recommended and the max pressure rating for that tire.

  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216

    I purchased the Pilot Exalto A/S for my '03 Forester back in 2007. See previous posting here:

    I live in Philadelphia and did get to throw them around in the snow a few times the last two winters.

    Bottom line is that I have to say for the money, I'm generally disappointed. They seem to do everything average -- they're not as quiet as I thought they'd be, they don't hold corners as well as my previous Falken Ziex's (which wore too quickly), and they do OK driving on fresh snow, but I think the competence is due more to the AWD than the tires. I wouldn't feel very confident in a blizzard with these. I've even felt the wheel go numb momentarily as I began to hydroplane in a heavy rainfall.

    The worst is that they've definitely made the ride feel slightly harsher.

    This is partly my fault for thinking high performance all-seasons wouldn't have any negative compromise over touring tires, but if I had to do it all over again, the all-new Michelin Primacy MXV4 would be at the top of my list for the Forester, pending further research.

    This is all relative. They're still way better than the OEM Yoko Geolanders, but I'd have been happier if they were closer to $80 a tire for my experience. On the positive side, they seem to be wearing well after ~15k miles, but I don't have any hard numbers at hand to back that up.

    I have yet to find a tire with an ideal balance between quiet and smooth ride, good handling, and good foul weather performance. There's always a compromise.

    Just my two cents.

  • zippy7zippy7 Posts: 2
    Just got back from a visit to repair shop and they tell me that I need to replace four tires because the two rear tires are bad either from mal alignment or pothole distress. They say I can't just replace two because it might cause transmission problems. "Gears will be working against gears." Is this true?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, the rolling circumference must be within 1/4" of each other.

    If the tires are worn, I'd replace all 4. If they're new-ish (less than 10k miles), you can probably change just 2. I'd put the new ones on the front axle if you do that.
  • zippy7zippy7 Posts: 2
    Does anyone know if all tires need to be replaced on a forrester, if one or more of them go bad.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    See the post right before yours from ateixeira.

    The bottom line is if they have much wear on them then yes, you have to replace all four. The only alternative is to find a tire shop willing to shave a new tire down to the same circumference as the others.

    The reason for this is if all four tires aren't essentially the same rolling circumference, they AWD system will think one wheel is slipping slightly and will constantly be trying to compensate.


    P.S. There's only one R in Forester ;)
  • casecom2casecom2 Posts: 72
    Thanks for the suggestion -- I will look into the Primacy. Looks like they're highly rated at Tire Rack, and probably a better fit with my driving style than high-performance tires anyway.
  • jeep1988jeep1988 Posts: 40
    I just purchased a set of Yokohama Avid TRz tires for my 06 Forester; NTB/Tire Kingdom recommended these. These tires are t-rated ; my question - is it ok to use a t-rated tire on the Forester? I do not go off road or drive faster than 75-80 on the highway. I have a 30 day return policy; hopefully it is ok. Thanks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's generally not recommended only because a lower speed rated tire is less resistant to heat build-up.

    I think you'll be OK for your type of driving, just make sure your tire pressure is always up to spec, because that's the other primary factor.
  • Hey guys & gals-

    I'm hoping you might have a solution to an annoying problem here. I have an '01 Forester and within the last 2-3 years find that I have to put air in the Alloy Wheels every week. It seems to lose a good 5psi a week.

    I did a little research on this and hear it might be corrosion. Do you think that rings true?

    I have garaged my Forester since day 1, and am embarrassed to admit my mileage because it's very low. I'll admit to driving it in snow, salted roads in NYC and didn't give it a good wash. Could that be the cause?

    Any advice would be grateful. I figure you guys are the experts on this. (I'm glad to see Teixeira is still here - way back in '00 I was here for help on buying my '01 and he was here back then).
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    While it could be the rims, I would look to either the tires themselves or the valves and valve stems. There are rubber seals in there that can break down over time. Most tire places, especially around here in NYC/NNJ will not replace them when replacing tires.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    I agree with Mike. Check the tires and/or valves (and make sure there are caps on each valve). You say your mileage is really low. By any chance do you still have the original tires? If so, they could be leaking, as they deteriorate over time, no matter how low the mileage is.

    (I also have a 2001 Forester. Mine has 181,000 miles and is getting its 4th set of tires soon.)

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    How bad is your milage? I'm in NYC also and with the traffic my milage drops pretty drastically.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • Coolness. I'll check the tires and valves. Ummm. Another stupid question. What am I looking for when looking at the tires/valves? Although, I'll have my mechanic look at it at the next checkup(I did mention the tire situation, so I assumed he looked at the valves/tire thing - he suggested I go to a tire place and didn't mention any deterioration). I'll still check it out myself.

    The valves definitely have caps. And they are the original tires.

    181,000 miles, leo2633!!! Man, I so don't want to reveal my mileage. It's almost 18,000. I can hear the shock and laughter now.

    Thanks guys!!!

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    7+ year old tires are shot no matter how you slice it, even if there is tread the rubber itself is definitely dried out and that's most likely where you are losing your air. The other problem is that they lose their adhesiveness at that age as well. They may have been sitting around for a year or 2 before even being put on your car too, so now we are close to 10 year old tires.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    18K miles on a 2001? Wow! Original tires? I'm sure that's the problem. They tend to "dry rot" (ever see a really old rubber band?) and this can be why they are losing air. Not only that, but the rubber becomes less pliable, which can affect tire performance. I'd recommend 4 new tires as soon as possible. I think that will solve the problem of losing air on a regular basis. Good luck!

  • Mike, Len - Thanks!!!

    Do you guys have any tires you'd particular recommend and should I go to a tire place, Subaru dealer or get the tires and let my mechanic do it. Doesn't it have to be wheel balanced? Can only Subaru dealers do this correctly? I hope I'm not being a pain and asking too many questions. I'll figure it out, if I am.

    Len, yeah. I work in the city, so I don't get to drive as much as I should. I wonder why I have a car sometimes. But, it's convenient and I like my Sube.
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    For about the last 7 years or so, I've purchased all my tires from The Tire Rack, which you can find on-line. I have been extremely satisfied with their service and selection, and recommend them highly. I order from them and have them shipped directly to my regular mechanic, who installs them for me. I'm on my 2nd set (and will soon be ordering a 3rd set) of Continental ContiExtremeContact. I've been very happy with these, and just put a 2nd set on my wife's '03 Outback. My Forester is an "S", with a stock tire size of 215-60-16, but if yours is an "L", the stock size is 205-70-15. I don't believe the Conti is available in that size, though. However, if you read through these boards, you will find lots of recommendations for tires from others with more experience than mine, so do a little research for more options. Good luck!

  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    One other point regarding new tires: you need to have them balanced when they are mounted, and have new valves installed as well. This is standard operating procedure for new tires, no matter where you have them done.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree with mike.

    I had old tires on my Miata that still had some tread left, but when I de-coded the production date I replaced them.

    Grip improved dramatically. The old ones were dry and hard. I was not losing air, though.
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