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Discussion Starter #1
Bought a set of General RT43 exactly two years ago and have put less than 25k miles and they're already at 4/32: Front / 5/32: Rear. As I head into our first winter up here in the Twin Cities I'm wondering what I should do. The Subaru dealer I bought these tires from is washing their hands - saying they don't do warranty stuff unless the tires are at 2/32. They said I should contact General directly and beg them to warranty these tires. I'm thinking of just moving on. I don't want to buy both AS and Winters so here's my options:

1. Buy a set of winter tires/wheels and try to get one more spring/summer out of the generals?
2. Just buy a set of good AS (Assurance WeatherReadys) and wait until next winter for the winter tires?
 

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'03 Outback H6-3.0 Black Granite Pearl, base model with cold weather package and cloth seats.
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Or consider All-Weather tires, like the Toyo Celsius or the Nokian WR-G4 (or whatever is the latest generation).
 

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2019 Outback Limited, 3.6R, Abyss Blue
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Bought a set of General RT43 exactly two years ago and have put less than 25k miles and they're already at 4/32: Front / 5/32: Rear. As I head into our first winter up here in the Twin Cities I'm wondering what I should do. The Subaru dealer I bought these tires from is washing their hands - saying they don't do warranty stuff unless the tires are at 2/32. They said I should contact General directly and beg them to warranty these tires. I'm thinking of just moving on. I don't want to buy both AS and Winters so here's my options:

1. Buy a set of winter tires/wheels and try to get one more spring/summer out of the generals?
2. Just buy a set of good AS (Assurance WeatherReadys) and wait until next winter for the winter tires?
I strongly suggest investing in a set of winter tires mounted on cheap rims. Tire Rack is a great place to start. Don't bother or worry about TPMS. This alone will save you hundreds of dollars. Just put a piece of black tape over the idiot light for the winter and keep a tire gauge handy. Tires don't lose air anywhere near as fast as they used to.

While you can get by with all seasons, people are leaving a tremendous amount of capability that your Subie can offer on the table. If you want to make your Subie the ultimate winter driving machine you'll be stunned at the improved grip, braking, handling, overall sense of security and confidence a set of winter tires will have! It is by far the best safety feature you can have in the cold, snowy, icy, north. You will have fun looking for deep snow to drive through. And they dramatically improve grip and braking in ice and black ice, which is even more importation than grip in snow.

The standard tires are by far the weak link in the AWD system. They are biased for fuel economy, quiet, comfort, cost. Winter or even dirt/light off-road traction is the last thing AS tires are designed for. Which is quite ironic considering Subaru and all manufacture AWD ads tout the winter and off-road traction their vehicles have.

Lifelong Wisconsin resident. Using winter tires for decades now.
 

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1997 Outback 2.5; 2005 Outback 2.5; 2006 Legacy; 2016 Outback 3.6R; 2019 Outback 3.6R
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I agree with Coolerbythelake.

I live in Minneapolis and have a separate set of snow tires/wheels for my 2019 Outback. I have put snow tires on my '97, '05, '16, '19 Outbacks, and my wives '06 Legacy, and they make a world of difference. Many people will say that all seasons are fine, but true snow tires bring Subaru's to the next level of traction, braking power in slippery conditions, etc.

Keep in mind, the Twin Cities doesn't always get a ton of snow. Many days will be spent on cold, dry pave. BUT, on the days and weeks after storms, the roads and streets tend to keep a nice "snowpack", which I have never had great traction with. The Twin Cities also go through quick freeze/thaw cycles with rain or light snowfall. These are the conditions that are so slippery and cause everyone to slide around. You also get to experience the slush-pack on the highways after the plows drop their salt/chemicals.

The initial investment is heavy, but with two sets of tires/wheels tires, you will be ready for anything. I have Method MR502 17" rims with Bridgestone Blizzack WS80's (235 65R17's) and have been using this setup since I purchased my '16 Outback. My only quirk is I need to upgrade my TPMS sensors but will wait until I need to replace the snow tires in a few years.

You can save money by going with standard steel rims and skip the TPMS sensors. You can also pick up someone's stock rims when they swap parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I live in Minneapolis and have a separate set of snow tires/wheels for my 2019 Outback.
Thanks for the input there - that's what I needed to get me off the fence. Is there any disadvantage to plain steel wheels other than weight? Or should I spend an extra 160 and get alloy?
 

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2002 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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Thanks for the input there - that's what I needed to get me off the fence. Is there any disadvantage to plain steel wheels other than weight? Or should I spend an extra 160 and get alloy?
steelies bend easy.

what I recommend you do: jump on some real snow tires, put them on the rims you have now.
(some sizes are getting sold out by discount tire direct and tire rack,....local shops may match the prices and have them in the local warehouses

junk the tires you got, buy new 3 seasons in the spring tire sales in April,
(you could go one more summer 5/32 on front 4/32 on rear,..not great on the worst rainy days but at least its a AWD subaru and not a front drive camry)

In the spring: decide if you want them on the rims you have or maybe get some nice looking matching leg/ outback rims out of a pick and pull.
(ugliest set gets the snow tires on them).

Alternative: get some toyo celcius / nokian WRG3, or any of the other year round snow tires and give them a try.

____

I use to pop on and pop off snow tires on the same rims as the all seasons. = no fun paying the $100 x 2 times a year, and I can just DIY the swap with snow tires on their own rims.
 

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steelies bend easy.

what I recommend you do: jump on some real snow tires, put them on the rims you have now.
(some sizes are getting sold out by discount tire direct and tire rack,....local shops may match the prices and have them in the local warehouses

junk the tires you got, buy new 3 seasons in the spring tire sales in April,
(you could go one more summer 5/32 on front 4/32 on rear,..not great on the worst rainy days but at least its a AWD subaru and not a front drive camry)

In the spring: decide if you want them on the rims you have or maybe get some nice looking matching leg/ outback rims out of a pick and pull.
(ugliest set gets the snow tires on them).

Alternative: get some toyo celcius / nokian WRG3, or any of the other year round snow tires and give them a try.

____

I use to pop on and pop off snow tires on the same rims as the all seasons. = no fun paying the $100 x 2 times a year, and I can just DIY the swap with snow tires on their own rims.
What he said...
Also, this way you have time to look for some Subaru rims online, Craigslist, etc. I found a set somewhat locally, and have snows mounted on those.

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
 

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Real snow tires, the constant glaze caused by all the traffic exhaust in a metro sub freezing area is reason enough for me. Plus I’m a nodak to Mn transplant and have had snow tires for all the four Subaru’s I’ve owned, just do it
 

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MN resident here as well. I drive for about 40k a year so they are a must for me. I had general altimax arctics on first, they lasted me 3 winters. Just swapped em out this winter and went with Blizzaks because they were on closeout at Tirerack.

As others have said, initial cost of rims sets you back some, but after that, its the same. As I tell people who only run AS, they have to replace them for often. I have to replace my summers or winters half as often as they replace their AS. 12 of one, half dozen.......
 

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2000 Outback 5mt & 2017 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium
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Minnesota resident here as well. I spent a few weeks making my decision. I landed on Nokian WR G4's. I don't want a spare set of tires and wheels laying around. I also didn't want to rely on sub-par all season tires either. The WR G4 is one of the few all weather tires around. This will be my first winter with anything other than all seasons so I'm looking forward to seeing how well these Nokians perform. I ordered mine from SimpleTire.com and had a local shop mount and balance them for me.
 

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Another MN resident. In past years, I worked from a home office and so could "make do" in the winter on All Season tires. With a new job I now commute to The Cities with a 70 miles drive each way. This time I've invested in Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 on 17" steel rims. My original rim is 18". The difference in cold weather grip is amazing. I feel safe driving to work but do have to watch out for the idiot on summer tires sliding into me.
My wife barely drives 5k-6k miles per year. Her job is about 1 mile from home and her typical trips are less than 10 miles with the occasional (3-4 times a year) trip to her parent's about 75 miles each way. She has the Nokian WR-G4 and loves them. She has good grip in the winter and great grip in the wet.
So if you drive a lot, I would suggest dedicated winter tires. If you don't drive a lot, choose All Season tires. And for Minnesota, I (personally) do not recommend Summer only tires in the winter.
 
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