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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • Many years ago the locks on my Fiat X 1/9 iced up. I went to a nearby drug store and bought a lighter, then heated the key.

    It worked.

    That and my Forester (23 years later)are the top two cars I've had when it comes to fun.

    Gotta say the Forester beats 'em all on reliability, not just the Fiat (that would be a rather low standard).
  • subkidsubkid Posts: 94

    think freezing next Jan/Feb time frame when you leave your car running while parked in the shopping centre parking lot, just to be able to run the AC. :))

    on the funny note, when we got our first snow/frost morning this year, leaving a house I grabbed the can of key lock de-icer, just to find out that it wasn't needed :)). I used - the remote.

  • man that was a fun car
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    IIRC, most, if not all, modern vehicles that have A/C have autoshutoff circuits for when the temperature is below freezing to prevent damage to the compressor. So, even with the defrost on AND it's below 32F/0C, the only cold air you'll get from your HVAC is from the outside air.

  • subkidsubkid Posts: 94
    I was hoping somebody would confirm that. There is a such note in manual, but only for the vehicles with auto climate control, not for the X model (manual climate).

    Is there somewhere a place where that's confirmed?
    That would pretty much solve the problem with the auto AC on defrost.

  • Subkid:

    Back when I lived in Russia, it was so bloody cold that "fluid" in radiator was freezing to ice.
    To start the car we had to use a blow torch (it was a part of recovery kit) to defrost a radiator "fluid".
    Of course today I would think they have no problems like that because they use proper antifreeze.
    Must admit - never had problems with aircon - did not know about it existence. :-)

    So this topic realy brought back memories :-)
  • dnestrdnestr Posts: 188
    to use a brake fluid. Just dip a key in brake fluid reservoir and carefully put one into the lock. The only problem is to open a hood, but most of vehicles afford to do it through a front grille by a thin bar . Hope it helps if no other chance to defrost.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    With keyless entry, who cares? It's wonderful not to have to deal with it any more.

    My '91 Escort froze up all the time. I'd be holding my thumb on the lock for 5 minutes some times. What a pain!

  • bpibpi Posts: 120
    1. I understand you can earn up to $500 a year. Is it each calender year or every 12 months from the time you open the account?
    2. Is there an expiration date attached to each $100 SubaruBucks certificate that they mail you?
    3. Are there other limits?
    4. What happens when you pay for a $70 purchase with $100 in SubaruBucks? Do you get $30 back in the form of another certificate?
  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    1. 12 months, but I'm not sure if it's from when you open the account, or when you start using the card. Ours rolls over in October.
    2. Yes. They're good for 4 years from the month of issue.
    3. I believe there's a limit of $2000 in 4 years.
    4. There are no refunds. You have to use them in $100 increments.

    We use ours for parts, accessories and service. We also got a few hundred off our car purchase, but that was the old program, which didn't allow application of credits towards anything else.

    It's a great program - we find that it substantially lowers our cost of ownership, and is a major plus vs. other brands.

    I sure wish Mazda had a comparable program...

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    1. don't know
    2. yes, they are good for 4 years from date of issue
    3. probably
    4. you'd forfeit the $30

    Generally, I plan it so I buy parts/accesories in approximately $100 increments. Last time around, I sent in a $100 coupon and paid $15 on my credit card for a $115 parts order.

  • bpibpi Posts: 120
    Thanks for the answers. Still, how does the "$2,000 in 4 years" limit work, considering there's already an annual limit of $500?
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    1. Max. $500 can be accumulated each 12 months cycle. The anniversay of each cycle is calculated from the date of your account inception/open date.

    $2000 in 4yrs limit is actually saying, you got 4 years to spend it, if you did accumulate upto $2000. Otherwise, spend what you have accumulated before they expire.

  • I've seen it mentioned many times that all the tires have to be within 1/4" in diameter, otherwise we risk damage to the drivetrain. Easy enough to understand and follow.

    But how do I know if my unused spare will be within that 1/4" of the other tires?

    I currently have 26k miles on the original tires, and have never used the spare. Three of the four originals are decent, but the right front has severe wear on the outside edge.

    Would like to be able to use the spare, but don't want to risk mechanical damage.

    On the other three tires the wear bars (think that's the right term) are still intact.

    Will appreciate any info there.
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    and 26k already on the existing tires, you might be beyond the 1/4" circumference tolerance.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I think that any spare should only be used temporarily for the reason you mentioned.
    Keeping it on long-term could damage the diffs, unless you get it shaved down to the same size as the other tires.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    In Outbacks with the compact spare, the spare O.D. is significantly smaller than the regular tire. But, it's only supposed to be used temporarily -- less than 50 miles if I remember right.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For temporary use, it would be fine.

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Okay then, there's a "Suggestion for Subaru": mount the spare on the same wheel as the other four (alloy or steel) and require that it worked into the rotation. Using a full-sized spare as a temporary and buying 4 when only one went flat, just to stave off products liability lawyers, is for the birds.

  • Geolanders, bring the spare into service as a "new" tire when the OEMs wear out, and put your best tire of the 4 worn ones on the steel rim for the spare. No sense in wasting a perfectly good, full size spare. Unfortunately, Subaru doesn't give you a nice alloy for rotating in with the others. Probably not the best idea anyway, it would keep the tires less consistent in diameter.

  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    The Forester spare is on the same size wheel as the other four, it's just a steely instead of alloy. It would be nice to have a matching rim, I agree, but I doubt I'd actually use it much.

    Here's why. It's not clear to me that you could get 5 tires on a rotation and keep them within 2/32 of each other in diameter (that's what 1/4" in circumference works out to, roughly). With one tire outside of wear but in the rotation, wouldn't you have to rotate awful frequently ?

    I like having a full-size spare because we tow. But it is a spare, and we only use it for real emergencies, when we have a tire go down while towing, or cut a sidewall and can't use fix-a-flat to get us to the nearest service station.

    The reality is, we don't expect to use it ever, knock on wood. Fix-a-flat is safe to use for short time periods, just wash it out when you get the tire repaired. If you lose a tire to damage beyond repair, you can buy 3, swap the spare onto a matching rim, and keep one of the old ones as your new spare.

    My question is, "Why does Subaru have such onerous tire size requirements ?" I've talked to buddies who drive Audi Quattro's, and there's no such requirement that they're aware of.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Well, we all know how good audi quality is... ;)

    I have the same requirement on my Trooper when running in AWD mode, as do most other AWD vehicles, it may be burried deep inside the manual however...


    PS: Tire roations are supposed to be ever 5K miles.
  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Funny you mention Audis, brianV. I was having a conversation week before last with a guy who owns an allroad. I still had my summer Michelin Pilot Sport A/S on the car; he uses them on the allroad year-round. He told me he had a flat recently and replaced just one tire, and after ~ 2500 miles could detect no ill effects.

    I know there's no scientific or or technical merit in that statement, but I'm just sayin'. ;-)

  • boba6boba6 Posts: 18
    There was a lot of discussion on this subject when I asked a similar question in May after getting a nail in one of my sidewalls at 18K. Fortunately, I found a shop that would repair it, but the lesson I left with is that the "full size spare" should be used only as long as needed to resolve the "four equal tires" problem; treat it sort of like a better doughnut. There will be differences, but I would expect that after running 4 tires for 10K or so, the "spare" won't be within 1/4". I probably would have gone the route of shaving the spare down on the original rim, and just bought a cheap tire as a spare, but I had lots of tread left on the originals. If the other 3 are close to done, it might make more sense to get four. If you want to read all that was said then, my original post was # 10648. Good luck.

    BTW, why are you wearing the outside of one? Have you checked the alignment?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's a trade-off between a fast acting AWD and a tolerance of tire circumference variation.

    I'll take the better AWD, personally. Tires are cheap, all things considered.

    Note: on the Forester L and X models, the spare matches.

  • for all the ideas on the lazy spare, and for reminding me of the difference between diameter and circumfrence. :)

    I'm accepting that rather than find a way to use the spare as something other than a spare, it's time to start thinking about my next set of tires. What was the Dunlop model that so many of you liked?

    As for why the wear on the right front outside, I don't know. I've had all the scheduled oil changes and services done by the dealer, so the alignment would have been done on schedule, though I don't remember when. I'm due for another oil change now, so I'll get it checked out then.
  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    hayduke: I run Dunlop SP Sport 5000s, in the OEM size 215/60-16, on my '00 S. I put them back on for the winter last weekend.

    juice: Don't rub it in. I didn't consider the ramifications of not getting my spare on the same wheel when choosing the S and its rear LSD, 4-wheel discs and AWP. :-P

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I think they are talking long-term effects like wheel bearings. You'll see em fail after 50K of in-proper sizing.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My spare doesn't match either, Ed. At least I have open differentials! ;-)

  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    -hayduke: I run the Dunlop SP Sport A2's in the stock 215/60R16 size, and I like 'em. Not as aggressive in the corners as the 5000's perhaps, but probably better in the snow. Unbelievable wet traction, not to mention dry. Stick like glue. For my purposes, a better all-round tire, since I don't have dedicated winter tires. Price was right too - got mine at Discount Tire for < $100 each balanced and installed.

    They are bit noisier than I'd like on some road surfaces, but nothing I can't live with at 10k miles. You know they're there, but it's not intrusive. Wear seems very even, and wear rate reasonable. UTQG is 420/ Traction AA / Temp A. Stiffer sidewall than the stock Geolanders on my '01 S+, and noticeably more rolling resistance as well. Gas mileage hasn't suffered much though.

    I wrote up a lengthy review of snow performance last winter - I've had them on for one year. I was pleased with their performance last winter, but they were essentially new. We'll see how they do now that they're down some.

    -ed: I guess I did consider the ramifications at least some, and gladly chose the rear LSD, disks, AWP, etc you mention. We sprang for the Premium package to get the moonroof and side air bags as well, so it was a no-brainer for us. I prolly shouldn't jinx myself, but I haven't actually had cause to use a spare in 15 years... We absolutely love the moonroof, and the side air bags were more important to us than any issues regarding the spare. YMMV, of course.

    Hope this helps,

This discussion has been closed.