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Subaru Legacy/Outback Tire Issues



  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    It is easier to DIY rotate when it's front->back as well. Our MPV is that way too, even w/o directional tires, though I do have directionals for it now.

  • I replaced my OE RE92's at 5,000 miles when I found that they hydoplaned. The new Michelin Pilot Sport A/S (all seasons) cost $1,000 all in but they transformed the car. It now brakes much better, handles with more stability and the rain traction puts me at ease.
  • ebony5ebony5 Posts: 142
    When I needed new tires I decided what my priorities were; driving weather conditions, price, tread wear, ride quality etc and then went to Tire Rack to see what their surveys had to say. Once I narrowed down the field I performed other net searches, reviews and chat rooms to see what other peoples experiences had been with the selected tires. Being from the Northeast my concerns were rain snow and then price. I was not so concerned with tread wear or ride quality. It was a couple of years ago and I ended up getting Yokahama Aeiges LS4s. They were were what I expected. There are better tires out there but for the price they are up there. I suggest you start out at the Tire Rack web sight. You can even call them and ask their opinion without making a purchase.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Dunlop SP5000s
    Sumitommo HTR+ (These are my favorite all-season tires out there)

  • hamezhamez Posts: 8
    I am also looking for tires and rims for my '06 Outback XT. I have read the posts and have gotten a good idea of what to look for in a tire. The problem is, and this my sound weird I want to get a set of steel rims. I need to know if I can DECREASE the rim size to a 16 inch in order to put a beefier tire on. This is a result of loading up the outback for camping with the skinny OEM's on and the tires not being able to handle the weight!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    You can if they will fit over your brake calipers. But, you need to keep the overall diameter of the tire as close to the same as stock as you can or else it will affect the odometer and the speedometer.

    What size is stock on the XT? 17 or 18"?
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • doug1doug1 Posts: 37
    During the winter I replace the standard 17" wheels on my '05 OB XT with 16" wheels shod w/ snow tires. No problems with brake clearance (the base Outbacks, which had 16" wheels at the time, have the same mediocre brakes as the XT). The '06 has the same brakes, so it shouldn't be a problem. The tire size that would be most compatible with the 16" wheels and the OB are 225/60 16. I'm using 215/60 16 to give me a little more wheelwell clearance with snow.

    As for rims, I got lucky. I found some '05 alloy base Outback rims that were taken off by the dealer when they pimped out one of their new cars. I don't know why they do such things, but I was the happy beneficiary of a set of new rims for only $300.

  • My 2003 outback's stock tires are 225/60 16 Potenza's, 50,000 and still OK never rotated. Soon I will need new tires. Question - has anyone put larger tires on an Outback? I am thinking 225/65 16 which would be about 1" larger diameter or about 1/2" at each point. Does anyone know if this can be done without any rubbing issues? I occasionally drive on the beach and the clearance is an issue, 1/2 inch isn't much but every little bit helps.

  • My 2003 outback's stock tires are 225/60 16 Potenza's, 50,000 and still havge some good tread left, also never rotated. However soon I will need new tires. Question - has anyone put larger tires than the stock 225/60 16's on an Outback? I am thinking 225/65 16 which would be about 1" larger diameter or about 1/2" larger profile. Does anyone know if this can be done without any rubbing issues? The wheel wells look pretty tight. I understand the speedo calibration will be off 3 or 4 mph at 70mph.I occasionally drive on the beach and offroad and the ground clearance is always an issue, 1/2 inch isn't much but every little bit helps. Also does anyone know if there are any lift kits available for the Outback? I have heard of Scorpions from Austraila but they seem to be for older model Subarus only.

  • hamezhamez Posts: 8
    My '06 XT came with 17's.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My concern would be the front tires rubbing at full steering lock. Take some measurements.

    60 to 65 series is not that big a change, though.

  • mrk610mrk610 Posts: 378
    I would read your owners manual. Outbacks need there tires rotated every 7-10 k miles . You will destroy the awd system if the tires are of difference sizes.
    Hope you have not already done damage to it .
  • rysterryster Posts: 564
    We finally decided to go with the Kumho Solus. However, we chose the HP4 tread design as opposed to the "touring" tread design. The tires are on their way to the installer, so hopefully we will have them on next week some time.

    There is a lot of positive buzz around Kumho tires, so we are giving them a shot.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The only ones I've liked are the VictorRacer Race tires. When the WRX came out people were using their street tires and I can't tell you how many bubbles there were in them after short periods of time :(

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    As long as all four are bigger, that shouldn't have an effect, i.e. do not buy two bigger tires, buy a set of four. Better yet, 5 with the spare.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    No, think the intent of the previous post was to say that by not rotating, the tires are likely to wear at different rates (for example, front wearing faster than rear). As a result, this could lead to sufficient differences in circumference to cause undue stress on the AWD system.

    I think it would be tough to get enough circumference differential to cause damage to the system simply through not rotating the tires, but I guess it all depends on how aggressively the vehicle is driven. Considering the RE92's have made it 50,000 miles (!), my guess is that the vehicle is not driven aggresively. ;)

    The space is tight though. Intuitively, I would surmise the increase you are seeking should work. I doubt the height gain will be noticable though. You might do better to put a 2 or 3" lift on it (if such a kit is available).
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    I always thought tire wear on an AWD was relatively even. Power starts and other such actions would wear the driven tire of a FWD and RWD but with an AWD they're all driven so the wear is even.
  • My 2003 Outback with the 225/60 16's that were never rotated is a manual tranny which gives a 50 - 50 front to rear traction drive. I understand this is a different system than the auto which is like 90 front to 10 back. That may explain the mostly even tire wear. Most of my driving is around town which may explain the 50,000 miles. I wrote subaru about putting on 225/65 16's and also about ways to raise the body or suspension, however they just say they do not recommend making any modifications (to protect themselves I guess). The wheel wells look like they may have 1" of clearance at best and when the front wheel is turned to the limit as one person said the clearance is quite tight. I am beginning to think that it may not be worth the gamble to try the larger tires. I may just have to go back to an SUV or truck that is more suitable for offroad. I just hate to give up all the other advantages to the Subby.

    Thanks again..............
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It does wear evenly, in fact I have trouble keeping rack of when I did the last rotation because there is no visual clue.

  • Why not try plus zero of 235/60-16? Wider tire, with a bit radius, and less than the 225/65-16.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not a bad idea. 10mm wider where you contact the sand, too.

    That's what I did with my Forester - went from 215/60R16 to 225/60R16.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Hard cornering will still wear the front tires faster. I had not even considered the drive (AWD/FWD/RWD) factor, but that could be significant if you make a habit of burning rubber. :D
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My OE tires did that, but my 2nd set did not, nor did my 3rd set. Maybe I slowed down a bit since I usually have kids in the car. ;)

  • Hey Juice,

    Can you state what were real world differences in mpg, handle and power with the Forester?
  • Follow up on advice:

    Concerning fitting 235s on the stock wheels, according to Discount Tire Direct, the stock wheels can only accomodate 225 as its widest, so unless a purchase of new rims is in order, my original advice of going to 235 is not feasible.

    Too bad, cause I was headed that way as well.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Rather than spend so much effort in trying to fit a different size tire on your car, may I suggest a different approach? I think what you are really looking for is a tread pattern for sand or snow that grips and moves the vehicle forward, rather than spinning and effectively 'digging' the vehicle in with each revolution.

    I would suggest that you visit your local tire stores with a flexible tape measure in hand. Look for an open tread design with lots of bars across the tread rather than the more typical bands. Also check the circumference. Tire sizing is somewhat variable. Winter and Off-Road tires typically have 10-12 / 32 tread depth rather than Summer and All-Seasons, with 8/32 or so and thus stand taller.

    Shoulder broadness also impacts actual tread width on the road. 235mm is the section width measured at the widest part, the tire body center. Actual "tread width" can vary all over the place - maybe up to an inch depending on the tire model.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I first went from 205/70R15 to 225/60R16, with new rims as well. So that change was dramatic, as you might imagine.

    But when those tires were worn, I went from 225/60R16 to 215/60R16, which is the stock size. I downsized because I no longer drive on the beach. We stopped going to the Outer Banks and I own a place in Ocean City within walking distance to the ocean, so I no longer needed the wider tires.

    To be honest, the differences were small. The new tires are Falkens and I like them better, but I attribute that to the tires themselves being better than the Nitto NT460s I had on there before.

  • hamezhamez Posts: 8
    Thank you Doug, that is exactly what I want to do. All I have to do now is find a set of rims, and then replace the silly tires that came with it.
  • Tire width has very little to do with load rating (handling the weight). Wider tires are more likely to float over water (hydroplane) and have less snow traction, but are also more likely to float over dirt and sand. The OEM tire and any replacement should be rated to handle the max laden weight (GVWR) of the vehicle.
    What is your goal of changing to a smaller diameter tire? All that would do is increase the sidewall height which will decrease the handling on road and make it harder for the tire to support weight.
  • I have had VictorRacers and Ecsta 7## as well as Ecsta ASXs currently. So far I have had a very positive experience with all of them.
This discussion has been closed.