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Discussion Starter #1
Looks like right now at tirerack for a 2018 outback you can get

4 - Blizzak WS80 tires on steel wheels mounted for $844.28. No TPMS (who cares, I monitor tire pressure manually now anyway)

Is anyone aware of a better deal for snow tires?

What about tire quality? I need these because I need to travel often to care for a family member from the mid atlantic (where I live) to new england in the winter. No matter what the weather I generally need to be able to leave and come back at times where travel may not be ideal. So I may mount these off and on a few times each winter.
 

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One thing I would recommend if you go with the steel wheels from TireRack.com is to scuff up them up and put some decent paint on them. It wouldn't take that much work when they are new and they will hold up a lot longer. Mine have only been through two winters and there is significant rust showing up over the entire surface of the wheel. I wanted the steel wheels both because of the price and because they can be refinished fairly easily, but the paint that they came with didn't hold up at all. I really need to find time between now and when I put them on this fall to sandblast them and put some better quality paint on mine.
 

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Skip the steel wheels, they'll last three Winters if you're lucky.

Go to Craigslist and buy stock Subaru wheels, you can normally pick up a set for $200-300. I went for 17" so I could get a little more side wall height for a slightly better ride on the frozen bumpy roads.

Good Luck,
 

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Skip the steel wheels, they'll last three Winters if you're lucky.

Go to Craigslist and buy stock Subaru wheels, you can normally pick up a set for $200-300. I went for 17" so I could get a little more side wall height for a slightly better ride on the frozen bumpy roads.

Good Luck,
Newer 5x114 OEM wheels are typically a bit more expensive than 5x100. I've struggled to find a decent set of OEM wheels locally for a good price. They tend to be best to **** or $500+. That said, this is regionally, and you may have better luck. Also, an OEM wheel will last longer while looking good. This is normally my go-to. I wasn't able to find good deals on OEM wheels so both my cars are getting snows put on the OEM wheel, and my WRX will get some aftermarket wheels in the spring. Outback will probably stick with stock and I'll just swap back and forth.


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Discussion Starter #5
thanks all. This has led to start looking around for OEM wheels on craiglist and everything I can find is 18" and over $500. Surely there are full sets of outback wheels with snow tires on the market as people sell their cars but I can't find them.

I did find these CX 5 wheels but haven't investigated bolt pattern.

 

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Skip the steel wheels, they'll last three Winters if you're lucky.

Go to Craigslist and buy stock Subaru wheels, you can normally pick up a set for $200-300. I went for 17" so I could get a little more side wall height for a slightly better ride on the frozen bumpy roads.

Good Luck,
I'd also watch out for used winter tires in the right size. People around here are always switching cars and selling their 'old' winter tires that don't fit their new cars with very little miles on them. Usually priced 25% of new.
 

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I'd also watch out for used winter tires in the right size. People around here are always switching cars and selling their 'old' winter tires that don't fit their new cars with very little miles on them. Usually priced 25% of new.
I would NEVER buy a used set of Winter tires. Rubber will degrade over the years even if they have "very few miles" on them, also lots of people will mount and demount each season rather than buy an extra set of wheels. How many times can you mount a tire before it won't seal correctly?

My Winter tires are always the latest Nokian Hakkapeliittas, they last for 4-5 seasons and I know I can get out of the way of the idiots sliding towards me!


 

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I'm not a fan of directional tires because you can't rotate them from side to side without dismounting them from the wheels. Seems like that is what more and more are going to though.
 

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I would NEVER buy a used set of Winter tires. Rubber will degrade over the years even if they have "very few miles" on them, also lots of people will mount and demount each season rather than buy an extra set of wheels. How many times can you mount a tire before it won't seal correctly?

My Winter tires are always the latest Nokian Hakkapeliittas, they last for 4-5 seasons and I know I can get out of the way of the idiots sliding towards me!


I'm not talking 10 year old dry rotten tires. I'm talking 2-3 year old tires. They'll be just fine.
 

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I'm not talking 10 year old dry rotten tires. I'm talking 2-3 year old tires. They'll be just fine.
It is possible to find some pretty good deals at times. You just have to know what you are getting. Tires like the Blizzak come to mind that have the very soft layer of rubber that gives fantastic performance when new but performance falls off substantially after a winter or two. Still nothing wrong with them and at that point they are still working like regular winter tires, but if buying them used just be aware of the performance level and don't pay a premium price just because they are Blizzak tires.

I watched for quite a while for used before buying new winter tires but being in a fairly small area nothing decent ever came up at a good price.
 

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Since you are asking about tires as well as wheels, I'll say that Blizzaks are an absolute disaster on dry roads, especially when it's warm. Otherwise, not much to complain about with them. I think snow tires are somewhat region-dependent in terms of what works. All snow is not the same and all roads are not the same. If you are looking for a good studless ice tire, the Blizzaks are good. If you are looking for an all-weather tire, the Michelins are good. If you are looking for a good all-around winter tire, Nokians are good (R3 studless, Hakapellita studded). Nokians can be expensive. Blizzaks suck on dry road. Michelins suck in slush. Pick the compromise that is best for you. They all work. I can generally get two winters and a summer from Blizzaks. Michelins are good for probably two years when run year-round. Don't get too addicted to the new tire traction on Blizzaks, it doesn't last long.
 

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My personal life experience with Blizzak is they go into the dumpster at 12,000 miles. I'm in the land of black ice. The grip failed when the outer layer wore off. The tires had tons of tread but no ice grip.

I run the Nokian R2. I've owned the Q, the R, and a few sets of studded SUV tires. They tend to have good grip through 30,000 miles and you can limp through an extra season where they're still much better than the stock tires. If I didn't have the brand loyalty, I'd probably consider the Michelin X Ice.

I've done the Tire Rack closeout cheap alloys the last two times. They don't cost much more than their steelies. I'm in the universe where a tire pressure light means you fail your motor vehicle inspection. I pay the money for the TPMS senders. ProTip with Tire Rack if you buy wheels and TPMS from them but not the tires.... They mount the valve stems before they ship them. It took me 5 minutes of looking for the box of TPMS senders before doing the DOH! when I saw they were already installed on the wheels.

Next time, I'm going to do my best to find TPMS senders that can clone the ones I already own. It's a PITA to buy the tool to reprogram the car and my ATEQ TPMS QuickSet for a 2015 Outback isn't compatible with the latest Outbacks.
 

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I'm not a fan of directional tires because you can't rotate them from side to side without dismounting them from the wheels. Seems like that is what more and more are going to though.
I've run directional Nokians for years and Michelin Pilot Super Sports a couple times. I never noticed any difference in tire life rotating just front to back.
 

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Since you are asking about tires as well as wheels, I'll say that Blizzaks are an absolute disaster on dry roads, especially when it's warm. Otherwise, not much to complain about with them. I think snow tires are somewhat region-dependent in terms of what works. All snow is not the same and all roads are not the same. If you are looking for a good studless ice tire, the Blizzaks are good. If you are looking for an all-weather tire, the Michelins are good. If you are looking for a good all-around winter tire, Nokians are good (R3 studless, Hakapellita studded). Nokians can be expensive. Blizzaks suck on dry road. Michelins suck in slush. Pick the compromise that is best for you. They all work. I can generally get two winters and a summer from Blizzaks. Michelins are good for probably two years when run year-round. Don't get too addicted to the new tire traction on Blizzaks, it doesn't last long.
I find the comments on the performance of Blizzaks on dry roads to be very counter my experience and I've been running them on cars and trucks since they came out 20+ years ago. I'm guessing a lot of others would agree with me, given how many I cars I see in Alaska running Blizzaks all year long.

'Absolute disaster'? Do they explode? Do they hydroplane at the sight of a single drop of water? Do they corner like they are covered with tiny little ball bearings? Are they super noisy? Do they wear out instantly? Nope. Not at all.
 

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I find the comments on the performance of Blizzaks on dry roads to be very counter my experience and I've been running them on cars and trucks since they came out 20+ years ago. I'm guessing a lot of others would agree with me, given how many I cars I see in Alaska running Blizzaks all year long.

'Absolute disaster'? Do they explode? Do they hydroplane at the sight of a single drop of water? Do they corner like they are covered with tiny little ball bearings? Are they super noisy? Do they wear out instantly? Nope. Not at all.
Jezz. They feel like you have four gum erasers for tires. The sidewall is really soft. I get them off the cars in April. They wear like crazy in warm weather. They're noisy. The handling is really mushy. I don't live in Alaska. I see 90F ambient temperature and I'm sure my tires heat up toasty-warm driving highway speeds on sun-baked asphalt.
 

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Jezz. They feel like you have four gum erasers for tires. The sidewall is really soft. I get them off the cars in April. They wear like crazy in warm weather. They're noisy. The handling is really mushy. I don't live in Alaska. I see 90F ambient temperature and I'm sure my tires heat up toasty-warm driving highway speeds on sun-baked asphalt.
So not an 'absolute disaster'.
 

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I started a post with almost the exact same title years back on legacygt. I've had 3 different sets of snow tires since then. I started out cheap and got General Altimax Arctic. They, like all snow tires, handled heavy and slow. It wasn't a horrible tire, It was a boring tire that didn't stand out in any category. It's weakness' were how easily the front pushed in snow, and stopping. It was a disappointing winter and sold them next fall. Studded are allowed Oct. 15-Mar.15. so my choice wasn't restricted. I wanted the safest DOT legal tire. A company Nokian kept getting mentioned. I researched this company Nokian, (who I thought made old school cell phones), found out they invented the winter tyre. Saw they just hit 205 on ice setting a record. So I figured this outfit is serious about it's tires with a specialty in winter. I got the Hakka 8s which are studded. The turning stability makes frosty driving a near normal experience. Other drivers must think whoevers in that black Subaru is nuts driving like there's nothing on the ground. Acceleration from a stop is always fun but the stopping is the best attribute. The studs bite into the surface instead of skating across. I sometimes need to check my mirror before stopping since studded tires will out-stop any non studded tire. I now have a different Subaru with Hakka 9s. The 9s are perhaps a bit smoother than the 8s but they are also a bigger size.
My point on cheap snow tires depends on your expectations. To ME the trade off of boring handling better be offset up by a serious snow/ice improvement.
If the grip was better, but only so-so, then to ME snow tires were not worth it. My experience with cheap tires cost ME money.
All decent winter tires will be directional since they must pump out slush. The >>> type patterns are perfect for that.
 

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I started a post with almost the exact same title years back on legacygt. I've had 3 different sets of snow tires since then. I started out cheap and got General Altimax Arctic. They, like all snow tires, handled heavy and slow. It wasn't a horrible tire, It was a boring tire that didn't stand out in any category. It's weakness' were how easily the front pushed in snow, and stopping. It was a disappointing winter and sold them next fall. Studded are allowed Oct. 15-Mar.15. so my choice wasn't restricted. I wanted the safest DOT legal tire. A company Nokian kept getting mentioned. I researched this company Nokian, (who I thought made old school cell phones), found out they invented the winter tyre. Saw they just hit 205 on ice setting a record. So I figured this outfit is serious about it's tires with a specialty in winter. I got the Hakka 8s which are studded. The turning stability makes frosty driving a near normal experience. Other drivers must think whoevers in that black Subaru is nuts driving like there's nothing on the ground. Acceleration from a stop is always fun but the stopping is the best attribute. The studs bite into the surface instead of skating across. I sometimes need to check my mirror before stopping since studded tires will out-stop any non studded tire. I now have a different Subaru with Hakka 9s. The 9s are perhaps a bit smoother than the 8s but they are also a bigger size.
My point on cheap snow tires depends on your expectations. To ME the trade off of boring handling better be offset up by a serious snow/ice improvement.
If the grip was better, but only so-so, then to ME snow tires were not worth it. My experience with cheap tires cost ME money.
All decent winter tires will be directional since they must pump out slush. The >>> type patterns are perfect for that.
HALLELUJAH!!!

Finally the voice of experience, not the voice of hearsay. Hakkapeliittas FTW!


Just like the Cavalrymen they were named after, they charge through everything and never give up.
 
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