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Subaru Outback/Legacy Tires and Wheels



  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Can I put 215/70R15s on my '97 Outback Limited on the stock wheels?

    Stock is 205/70R15.

    The tire size calculators indicate that the sidewall and circumference aren't much different. You'd think they'd be the same since the first number indicates section width but go figure.

    My all-seasons are getting older and I can score a deal on some almost new Yokos. But I may want to stick with a skinnier tire for my snowboard trips -- maybe I won't notice the half inch extra (ok, .393 inch wider).

    thanks, Steve, visiting host
  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,553
    Can I put 215/70R15s on my '97 Outback Limited on the stock wheels?

    Stock is 205/70R15.

    215/70 may rub the rear struts. IIRC, there is very little clearance between the tire and rear strut w/ the stock 205/70. It's basically YMMV since the same size tire can vary across manufacturers.

    P.S. Pretty sure it's OK to put 215/70 on the stock wheels.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,151
    edited August 2010
    Steve, the first number indicates the section width, but the second number is a percentage of the width. So, 70% of 205 is less than 70% of 215.... 26.29921" (total diameter) versus 26.85039" to be (nearly) exact. That results in about a quarter inch greater radius, which should not be a problem.

    I agree that it is *possible* that the strut towers might rub, but the increased width is less than 0.2" on each side of the rim, so there is a good chance you will have sufficient clearance. You should probably measure the current clearance to verify that, though!

    I also agree that the tire will fit on the rims themselves with no problem. Even a 225 would fit just fine on the rims.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Ah, thanks for the explanation of the width percentage. I wondered what the deal was there.

    Yeah, not much clearance in the wheel wells. It iced up bad the one trip I did with studs.

    See more Car Pictures at
  • Hi there! We bought a 2005 outback wagon, and wish to know what replacement tires would be best for all terrain? Our daughter is a senior now, and will take this, her car, off to college here in Colorado! We don't want to buy separate snow tires, so just wondering what all terrain tires to buy: 225 60 R16.

    My husband and neighbors love the TOYO open country A/T tires, but I only see the size 225 70R16 in these. Will this work?
    Thanks for any help!
  • gizzer777gizzer777 Posts: 335
    edited October 2010
    .I purchased a VERY cherry 2008 Outback 2.5i, last year, loaded, (live in Reno Nevada) and part of the deal was new tires (AFTER settling on the price!)., and he also had the battery replaced + pollen filter, after I was going to "walk" (only had 21000 miles on the odo last year!) BTW: I would not have walked at that price for that car!!! It was also certified and still under factory warranty!!!

    I really like the OB and this is my 1st Subaru!!

    . Anyway they put on a set of H rated 17" FUZION all season radials. They have an aggressive tread, but are really quiet on the road....Not bad in the snow either! They give a very smooth ride, especially for a "cheap" tire"!

    My tire dealer told me they are "back door Firestones") and they seem to be wearing very well at factory recommended PSI, especially for a "cheap tire" (under $100 each) w/o mounting and balancing or tax. He buys them from Tirerack when he gets calls for them, which apparently have been increasing.

    So far I would recommend them for all season! I have also heard good things about Hancock brand" if one is not out to spend a bunch of Moolah!
  • Re the best tires for a 2005 Subaru Outback Wagon, I posted a question like this when we first bought out 2005 Subaru Outback Wagon about 3 + years ago. We live in Maine and have pretty hairy driving conditions. We're using the Pirelli Centurato P5 225 60R16 and have been very pleased. The key is also to ensure your daughter knows that if there's a reason to replace a tire, Subaru urges all 4 tires be replaced at the same time once there's any real wear, or it may affect the AWD system. You might also check whether a slightly narrower tire (such as a 215) can fit, since this may work better in snow. Good luck.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,151
    edited October 2010
    The trick with tire sizes is to know that the first number (225) is the section/tread width, and the second number (60) is the sidewall height as a ratio of the section width. So, 225*0.60 = 135mm. The second tire you listed is the same width, but the section height is 70%, or 225*.70 =157.5 mm. That's close to 7% larger (greater diameter) than the stock tire and it's going to be too large.

    Going with a narrower tire is not a bad idea at all (such as a 215 as was suggested above). A 215/65R16 is as close to an exact match as you're going to find, and that size will fit the stock rim no problem.

    I use this same size tire on my '10 Forester with some Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice (winter, not all-season) tires, and they're simply unstoppable - really fantastic tires for ice, snow, mud, etc. The stock size on that car is 225/55R17 - of course, I use a 16" rim for the winter tires!

    Here's a link to an easy-to-use tire calculator:

    In general, keep any alternate tire size to within 3% of the stock size and you should be fine. I wouldn't go wider (such as 235) than stock.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Thank you so much for your help! I will definately check into it now. It is time!
  • Thank you so much for your help. It was quite comprehensive and I appreciate you taking the time. We are looking now!
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 859
    One thing xwesx didn't mention was load carrying capacity. You do NOT want to go down - which is what usually happens when you put on tires with a smaller overall diameter. Going down in load carrying capcity increases the risk of a load related tire failure which sometimes has tragic results.

    In your case, 225/60R16's are currently the most poular tire size, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding suitable tires.

    And for the record: The first number in a tire size is the section width in mm, not the tread width. The width of the tread is always smaller than the section width.
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    If there is any chance of snow and in CO there will be you should get something which is true winter traction approved - the snowflake/mountain emblem. If you don't plan on being off road a whole lot then get Nokian WRG2s, they are true snow rated, in fact in this years CR they are the best snowtires tested, yet can be run all year round. I have put 57K on a set of the WRs(the predecessor to the WRG2) on a Tribeca and 40K plus on a Windstar running them all year round. I have a set of the WRG2 on an 09 OB for the last 18 months and they seem as good as the WRs in summer and winter.

    They are a little pricey. A good on line source is tiresbyweb or Mktires. I had a local nokian dealer match the mktire price, ended up paying the same price fully installed as the mkprice for tire/shipping only, which was almost 50 bucks a tire less than the local guy originally advertised. When the michelin XIce snowtires on my daughters 08 OB need replacing I will put WRG2s on the car all year round.

    They may not be as good on ice as a dedicated "ice tire" like the blizzak WS series but they are far better than high performance snowtires on snow/ice and run much better than the blizzaks on dry roads and they don;t lose their tread when run in summer and on all the vehicles I have had them on they are better in summer than the factory all seasons.
  • wired1wired1 Posts: 45
    Last year, I purchased a 2005 Subaru Legacy with fewer than 30k miles on it. Anyhow, I recently realized that my back two tires are worn to the point of needing to be replaced; the two in the front are fine.

    After going to several tire dealers, I was told by each of them that I would need to replace all 4 tires because all tires on an AWD must be the same make and have the same tread left on them. Moreover, my specific model of Tigerpaw is no longer made.

    To compile the issue, when I bought the car (from a Subaru dealer) last year, the tires that were on it were different makes in the front and back (Tigerpaws up front / Goodyears in the back). At the time, I didn't know about this issue with AWD vehicles. I typically get all of my service done at this dealer. Should I bring this up to them? They are trying to sell me two new rear tires of yet another make.

    Do I have a legitimate concern here? Do I need to replace all four, or should two new ones suffice? Should I bring this up to the dealer and complain?

    Thanks for your help.
  • In a word .... YES. I've owned Subarus since 1991, and have always been told this. The only "exception" has been when one goes early on and the others have almost no wear at all. Even then it's been stressed to get the same mfr and tread pattern in the new one. Replacing both front or back only (as in 2 at a time) just doesn't work. Subarus can be very twitchy with bad tires or different wear patterns. Good luck!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,151
    You're probably not going to notice any problems with the 2+2 configuration, but it does put additional stress on the car's center differential. That's an expensive repair, so I wouldn't chance it. In fact, I would definitely bring it up to the dealership that sold you the car, and have it documented, in the even you have a center differential failure in the not-so-distant future.

    In the grand scheme of things, tires are cheap; I would just replace all four now and start fresh.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • rschleicherrschleicher Posts: 79
    edited November 2010
    With two different brands of tires on front and rear, I would be very leery of having a different rolling circumference, even with tires that were nominally the same size.

    With the same model of tire on front and back, I have heard guidance that the difference in tread depth between front and back tires should be kept to 1/16" or less (so that the diameter difference is 1/8", or about 3mm, or less).

    (Circumference is easier to measure on a tire, and the circumference difference will be 3.14 (pi) times the diameter difference, leading to a maximum allowable circumference difference of around 3/8", or 9-10mm. Not much, in other words...)

    I don't think this is an absolute limit, but in sustained highway driving even a modest difference in diameter (really rolling circumference) is potentially leading to heating-up of the center diff, depending on the type of center-diff used.
  • I've got a 2006 outback with 225/55R17 tires. We're going to get some winter tires (probably the Continental ExtremeWinter Contact - but I'd like thoughts on that as well). The Tire Rack website is recommending using a 225/60R16. What are thoughts on minus sizing in general, and with winter tires specifically.

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    Minus sizing is a good idea. First, when changing to a smaller rim size, you reduce cost as the tire is less expensive and you may be able to go to a steel rim.

    Second, a narrower tire is better in snow as it has to move less snow out of the way to gain traction.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,151
    edited November 2010
    First on the tire size: The 225/60R16 is a near-perfect match to the 225/55R17; it is only 0.4% larger! 215/65R16 is also a good match, being 1% smaller. What that means is that when your speedometer is reading 60 mph, you would actually be traveling 60.257 mph with the first tire and 59.423 with the second.

    I agree with the advantages Rob mentioned as well. I prefer the smaller rim size just because the tires are generally less expensive (sometimes as much as $40 per tire between a 16" and 17" rim). For my '10 Forester, I picked up a used set of those silver-painted steel rims Subaru used extensively during the middle part of the last decade. For winter tires, I also prefer the additional sidewall height to help absorb the deteriorated roads, debris (such as chunks of ice!), etc, and to protect the wheels.

    Regarding the Continental tires, they are very good. If you deal with deep snow, I highly recommend Goodyear's Ultra Grip Ice, which are as good as the Conti's on ice and kick the pants off them, Blizzaks, etc., in deep snow.

    I have a set of the Continentals on my Escort, and they do me very well. In fact, we are having pretty much the worst episode of freezing rain in the history of Fairbanks, Alaska, right now, and I managed to drive 20 miles to work (then home again) on Monday while most other vehicles were sliding into ditches merely due to the crown on the road! Granted, I had to *work* to keep my car on the road, but the fact that I had that option is a testament to the fact that the tires were giving me much more traction than other rubber on the roads that morning. When I went home that afternoon, I was the *only* FWD vehicle that I saw during that twenty miles. There were the occasional 4WD or AWD (plenty of Subaru's around here!).

    Depending on how they end up wearing, I am likely to purchase them again.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • gjksngjksn Posts: 35
    On the way to work Wednesday, I picked up something on a Minneapolis freeway that destroyed my left rear tire. This tire was one of a set of four Blizzaks that had only one season on them. Several sources advise replacing at least the two tires on the same axle and preferably all four. Suddenly, a flat tire becomes a fairly large expense. I always do everything that either the owner's manual or my Subaru service department advises, or I exceed it. I am not even remotely "mechanical" but like knowing my car is always at its best and safest. Are there AWD systems out there that are not so "sensitive" to 1/32" or 2/32" difference in tire diameter? My car is a 2003 Legacy L SE, and although I wish I'd known the 2005 GT wagon was coming so soon after, it's a great car, and I love it. Does anyone know of a site where AWD systems are described and compared?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For sure, that is a trade-off for a good AWD system. (cost, mileage being others)

    If you think about it, though, even cars with ABS will be thrown off when you have one tire with a different diameter.

    If it doesn't, that just means it would be slower to respond to a skid.

    If you have a full sized spare, some folks rotate that 5th tire so it gets used up as well, that way a flat doesn't mean 4 replacements.
  • Hi all, just bought an '06 Outback Limited, certified, with just under 30,000. The tires just didn't look right, especially with the recent weather in the northeast. The original Bridgestone Potenzas have about 6mm of tread in the centers, but there is a lot of edge wear, especially on the rears. Also, I had my nephew, who's a Firestone store manager, look at the tires, and he said one of them had sidewall damage due to having been driven with very low inflation. He said the inner side wall was pinched, and is a potential blowout hazard. Any ideas on how I should approach this with the dealer? I know he's going to push back. Also, the air filter was never changed (appears to be the original), despite being replaceable at 30k due to the maintenance schedule. I'm going to check the plugs too, which also should have been replaced as part of the certification process / 30k maintenance. And the brakes seem pretty slim too. Should I take the vehicle to another dealer, or perhaps to the Firestone store, and have them do an inspection and writeup of what needs to be done?

    This really bothers me, as I assumed that buying a certified vehicle, at a certified price, meant oil changes only for the first year or so at least. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Dave
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would give the dealer a chance to rectify everything first. Call 800-SUBARU3 if they're not helpful, ask for a different dealer to correct it.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Was this a Subaru CPO car? "Certified" is a term thrown around these days very loosely. I mean anyone can certify that a car is used, that would make it a Certified Used Car. It doesn't necessarily mean that it has met the criteria that the Subaru CPO requires.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • The dealer is going to pull the tire off and look at it Tuesday. The service manager claims that even though you can see the problem from the outside, it doesn't necessarily mean the tire is damaged on the inside. Seems they'd be taking a chance to not just put a new tire on for safety reasons. Yes, Mike, it's a Subaru CPO. The air filter was filthy, they are going to rectify that too, and when the service manager checked the trans oil, he could tell that that wasn't changed either. All in all, they did a cursory job of certifying the vehicle, and obviously missed a few things. I wonder what else they missed? Seems this dealer is certifying every vehicle they can, while most other dealers in the area are only certifying '09's and '10's for the most part. Now I know why. As was explained out here somewhere, a certification is nothing more than a powertrain warranty purchase. Doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot more. I'll remember that next time and choose my dealer more carefully rather than thinking "certified" is the same at every dealer.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited January 2012
    My Yoko Avid T4s are toast (at least I got my annual flat out of the way early this year). Can get Nokian WRG2s down the road at a shop closer to Detroit. Locally here in Port Huron where we're visiting, there's a Cooper/Mastercraft Glacial Grip II. Blizzacks in the 205/70R15 didn't show up in the local guy's system and I didn't quiz him about an alternate size, but they stock the brand.

    Could go with all seasons again, but I'm mostly driving the Subaru in the winter up in the UP.

    I'll be in Port Huron long enough to track down Geolanders or have Tire Rack ship some out.

    Suggestions for my '97 Outback Limited?

    Steve, visiting host
  • trautmak1trautmak1 Posts: 2
    edited January 2012
    I am planning to get new tires - Michelin primacy mxv4 - for my 09 outback. I hear mixed opinions about moving from a v rated tire to a h rated tire. What are the advantages and disadvantages of getting a tire with a slower speed rating than the oem tires?

  • Correction - I am thinking of the Michelin primacy MXM4 or Goodyear Assurance Comfortred. Am wondering which would be better overall and which speed rating would be best. I live in NY and do highway and city driving and often encounter a lot of rain on the highways. What is important to me is a quiet comfortable ride, safe particularly in wet conditions and pretty long wear. Suggestions and opinions welcomed!

  • cooper cs4 tires. I use this tire on a 2005 outback wagon, a 95 impreza [ like glue on the road in any condition 16" wheels], 98 Camry, my son delivers pizza without problem in all conditions, a Toyota sienna minivan. We all go skiing in NY, VT and beyond with no problems.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I wound up with some Nokians for $~528 out the door for my '97 OB.

    So far so good.
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