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2019 Subaru Forester Premium, Crystal Black Silica, Pkg 15
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Posted this on the Legacy forums, but also want an impartial sample, so thought I'd ask the same question here.

I'm torn between the Legacy and the Outback. I've owned both - an 09 Legacy Limited and my current 11 Outback Limited. Currently I'm leaning towards the Legacy because I don't need the cargo space the Outback offers.

But, fresh in mind are some issues I had with my Legacy over the years, primarily, tire/rim damage. They didn't happen often, but when they did, it was expensive. I had a bubble in my sidewall after about 5000 miles, and then I had a bent rim, and eventually another tire had a flat. While I get that these things happen, I do know that the sidewall profile does help cushion against damage like this. My Outback, for example, never had any tire-related road damage over the 7 years I've driven it, and I've hit some "big ones"...

The NJ winters tend to be a little rough on the roads. The pothole problem is usually a seasonal issue, so I believe a winter tire solution would probably work in this instance.

So, for reference, the 2009 Legacy I had came with 205/50R17's, the 2018 Legacy 3.6 comes with 225/50R18's, and the Outback 3.6 comes with 225/60R18's. At first look, the Outback tires have about a 20% bigger sidewall (4.4" on the Leg vs 5.3" on the OB).

It's also worth noting that the base and Premium trim Legacy and Outback come with a different tire size: The Legacy has 225/55R17's, which have about a 10% larger sidewall (4.9") compared to the Limited rims, and the Outback has 225/65R17's, which are actually about 9% smaller sidewall than the Outback Limited rims.

A few questions now:

  • Is the lower-profile Legacy Limited sidewall cause for concern going forward, or am I blowing this out of proportion?
  • Is it worth requesting the Legacy Limited rims be swapped out at the dealer for the 225/55R17's?
  • Is it worth considering a set of Impreza or steel OEM rims that would fit on the Legacy if I went with the Legacy?
  • Is there a way to clone the existing (or program) or use self-registering TPMS sensors going into the new rims, and run a Winter Tire with the new rims?
  • How much does a shop usually charge for the programming of the TPMS function? I would be capable of doing the tire swaps every season by myself and would prefer to avoid the special trip to the shop.
  • Would it be better to just have 4 rims with 8 tires and just keep the OEM size and just pay the mount fee every season to avoid the TPMS drama?
Thanks.
 

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2013 BRZ 2005 OBXT
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1. More sidewall when it comes to potholes is never a bad thing. But depending on how bad your area is you may be blowing this out of proportion. I have hit alot of potholes in my day and so far in 14 years of driving have only had one pothole cause wheel and tire damage.
2. Confused by this question.
3.Steel wheels are always a perk in terms of cost to replace of they are damaged and are marginally stronger. So if you dont mind the look of steel and the higher rotating mass then go for it.
4.You can either swap back and forth the TPMS sensor from stock wheels to winter wheels. You can run winters with no TPMS and deal with the light. Get another set of TPMS sensors aftermarket. Discount tire programs them for free when you buy tires from them and have them mounted on the wheels and installed on the car for the 1st time.
5. I prefer the two sets method but w.e works for yourself.
 

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2019 Subaru Forester Premium, Crystal Black Silica, Pkg 15
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. The second question was inquiring if it was possible to have the dealer that I purchase from do a "tire swap" and take the rims off a Legacy Premium and put them on a Limited. There's some questions about that though, since the 3.6 does have larger brakes, I'd be concerned about clearance over the calipers, etc. But I have heard of some people going to a 17" steel for winter tires, and it seems to not be an issue.
 

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Thanks for the reply. The second question was inquiring if it was possible to have the dealer that I purchase from do a "tire swap" and take the rims off a Legacy Premium and put them on a Limited. There's some questions about that though, since the 3.6 does have larger brakes, I'd be concerned about clearance over the calipers, etc. But I have heard of some people going to a 17" steel for winter tires, and it seems to not be an issue.
Gotcha. Anything is possible. Will depend on your dealer and how willing they are to make a sale.
 

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2010 2.5 CVT Limited
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Some of your comparison doesn't seem right. 225/65 will have more sidewall than 225/60. 65% > 60%.

Regardless:
The tires on your 09 Legacy, 205/50, have very little sidewall. The larger 225/50 will be an improvement and maybe help the tire/wheel survive those rugged NJ trails. But obviously going up to the taller 55, 60 or 65 series tire will offer more grace.
Something else you may want to consider is the cost of 17" vs 18" tires and the available selection (although it seems most of the top shelf tires are available in almost any size these days)

I would think to drive low-profile tires around on the pock-marked roads of the snow-belt would require some very astute pothole avoidance reflexes. But I do understand some are unavoidable.
 

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Thanks for the reply. The second question was inquiring if it was possible to have the dealer that I purchase from do a "tire swap" and take the rims off a Legacy Premium and put them on a Limited. There's some questions about that though, since the 3.6 does have larger brakes, I'd be concerned about clearance over the calipers, etc. But I have heard of some people going to a 17" steel for winter tires, and it seems to not be an issue.
It would take a special dealer to do that swap. You leave the dealer now having to find a buyer that wants the Limited wheels on a Premium.

You really are overthinking this whole car buying thing. Was but a couple weeks ago you were wanting to get into an Ascent.:grin2:
 

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Keeping tires properly inflated will reduce the chances of getting a bent rim, regardless of which wheels and tires the OP chooses.
 

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2019 Subaru Forester Premium, Crystal Black Silica, Pkg 15
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Discussion Starter #8
Some of your comparison doesn't seem right. 225/65 will have more sidewall than 225/60. 65% > 60%.

Regardless:
The tires on your 09 Legacy, 205/50, have very little sidewall. The larger 225/50 will be an improvement and maybe help the tire/wheel survive those rugged NJ trails. But obviously going up to the taller 55, 60 or 65 series tire will offer more grace.
Something else you may want to consider is the cost of 17" vs 18" tires and the available selection (although it seems most of the top shelf tires are available in almost any size these days)

I would think to drive low-profile tires around on the pock-marked roads of the snow-belt would require some very astute pothole avoidance reflexes. But I do understand some are unavoidable.
Just going off what the comparison at TireSize said, maybe the R17 vs R18 has something to do with it... Right now, on my Outback, I have 225/60R17's and they have been flawless. Comparing the 09 Legacy that I had issues with, the 225/50's will do the job a little better as you pointed out - 10% more sidewall. Will it be enough to scoot by? Probably.

The Outback's 225/60R17's have a 17% larger sidewall than the potential 2018 Legacy 3.6's, and it cuts that advantage down to only 7% if I figured out a way to downgrade it to a Premium trim's set of rims.

It would take a special dealer to do that swap. You leave the dealer now having to find a buyer that wants the Limited wheels on a Premium.

You really are overthinking this whole car buying thing. Was but a couple weeks ago you were wanting to get into an Ascent.:grin2:
Well, I was thinking that perhaps the opposite would be true - there was a Premium buyer that really wanted the Limited rims and maybe they had a set of Premium rims in stock.

The Ascent is too much meat for me since we've already got a third-row in the household, that would make parking a lot more complicated for us (itty bitty living space...)... also cautiously monitoring the FA24DIT, early pics of oil cap suggestive of 0w20 in that thing...

Keeping tires properly inflated will reduce the chances of getting a bent rim, regardless of which wheels and tires the OP chooses.
Agreed. I try to do nitrogen fill, courtesy of Costco Tire who did my last set a few years ago. Complimentary Nitrogen Fill, Tire Rotations, and Road Hazard warranty. We never did Nitrogen in the Legacy before we sold it, but considering how bad the rim was bent, I don't really know if anything could have helped it. It was literally skipping along the road, but not so bad that the shop couldn't keep the tires inflated with a bunch of bead sealer.
 

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Get the Legacy way better driver and more secure trunk for big city life.

Bent wheels and blown tires from road debri or potholes happen. My wife mangled a wheel and a tire two separate events on her 2016 Fusion last yr. first time I’ve delt with a bent wheel in 30yrs. First time Ive had to deal with a shreaded tire in 20yrs.

For sure tires being at least listed psi. But the OB won’t be any more puncture resistant or pothole proof than the Legacy. Slow down go around the giant holes or buy a old beater truck and put offroad tires on it.
 

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moved to wheels and tire section.

smaller rims and tires for pot hole season are nice.

sometimes matched with winter tires. (and smaller diameter rims make the tires cheaper )

like the regular size for the 3 season tire, and a inch smaller for the winter tire, if such smaller rims can fit over the brakes.
 

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2019 Subaru Forester Premium, Crystal Black Silica, Pkg 15
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Discussion Starter #11
Get the Legacy way better driver and more secure trunk for big city life.

Bent wheels and blown tires from road debri or potholes happen. My wife mangled a wheel and a tire two separate events on her 2016 Fusion last yr. first time I’ve delt with a bent wheel in 30yrs. First time Ive had to deal with a shreaded tire in 20yrs.

For sure tires being at least listed psi. But the OB won’t be any more puncture resistant or pothole proof than the Legacy. Slow down go around the giant holes or buy a old beater truck and put offroad tires on it.
What are your thoughts on run-flats? I'm sure the OEM tires won't make it past 30-40k anyway. >:)
 

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What are your thoughts on run-flats? I'm sure the OEM tires won't make it past 30-40k anyway. >:)
Runflats used to hard as h*ll. I am not sure if they still are. Truthfully, I think ... you are over thinking it. Some of your better tires have bead/shoulders built into them now. It's like a little rubber curb on your rim ... to protect you from the curb and pothole rash.

Get the Leggy, put a 19mm RSB on it and be happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Right on. Only if I can put some CKE SSP quality bushings on there!
 
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What are your thoughts on run-flats? I'm sure the OEM tires won't make it past 30-40k anyway. >:)
You DO NOT want run flats if you live in an area prone to pot holes.

Run flats have extremely stiff side walls. They provide a harsh ride on rough roads and pot holes can just eat them alive. Just do a search on Cadillac run flats.

I can tell you one of the biggest reasons I bought a premium instead of a limited was for the better ride quality of the 17" inch wheels over the 18" wheels. Marginal but still better. Not sure why auto makers insist on putting the bigger wheels on their upper trim level vehicles.
 

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... Not sure why auto makers insist on putting the bigger wheels on their upper trim level vehicles.
'cause this is America!
Bigger is better! Where'd I park that Dodge SRT Demon??
hahaha

But seriously, it all comes from the marketing side of the corporation. High-end and luxury cars carry big brakes that need the big wheels. Most people don't know or care how big the brakes on their cars are. But bigger wheels they can readily see and can be sold on it. Just a money maker.

I have a buddy that just took the aftermarket 18" rims off his car to put factory 16" on it. Now he enjoys the car more.
 

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i see tires get taken out by roads yearly, it's nearly routine so i'd imagine a well versed tire shop probably knows better than i, stop and ask whoever you get your tires from. i was just at my tire place today and could have asked if i saw this sooner. either way, i'd imagine there's some common patterns in tire world if you can find someone well versed and not just accustomed to selling, billing, installing.

two things i've noticed:

1. i'm probably forgetting one but i haven't seen failures of the large side wall tires like old school outbacks, which are common vehicles around here. the ones i have seen fail are lower profile. so maybe they're more susceptible to damage or maybe they're typically driven faster, on more "performance" cars, more likely not to be gently driven by grandma to the grocery store.

i.e. - my wife has never damaged a tire and i have. is it my lower profiles or her lighter driving?

2. cars with stiff, or warn, suspension seem to suffer more tire damage. a legacy may also have stiffer more performance oriented handling/suspension. it seems to me the difference is likely negligible, i'm just referencing it as something that would directly correlate to the failure modes involved.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Alright. Thanks, all good points listed above. I do feel better about the profile being slightly larger than the ones from my 2009 Legacy. I could deal with some bad luck every once and a while, I just don't want to deal with it all the time.

If anyone has any suggestions on tire sensors that support cloning, and if anyone can suggest some tools on how to do it myself so I can avoid the tire shop, I'd be interested in them for a winter set. I'll see if I can price out the OEM Steel 17's to use with winters, too. At least with the OEM steels I can use the real Subaru hubbies.

I'll go hit up the Legacy forums again to see if anyone's done this to make sure they clear the brakes.
 
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