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Old 04-11-2015, 09:53 PM   #1
bigdog
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Default Subaru AWD tire issue?

Subaru AWD and Tire issue? You're not going to believe this one !
Re: 2012 Subaru Outback wagon - 40,000 miles

Wife was driving home from market and hit a pothole, but there was also something in the pothole ! Long story short, she limped the car home. I removed tire (rear) and immediately noticed the tire had a rip in the tread, right in the middle of the tire, and I could actually see the steel belt.
Tires have only about 10k on them.

Removed the tire and brought to local tire dealer who said it was trashed and beyond repair. OK, I say to him ‘how much for a new tire’, or a pair of matched set ? He said you can’t replace just two tires but really need to replace all four ! He tells me that Subaru is AWD and has this Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, and with that all tires need to be exactly the same, otherwise it affects this AWD system, and has the potential to destroy the transmission if all the tires are not the same brand, type, tread depth,
and in sync. It's that sensitive.
You have to be kidding me............

Apparently the AWD system is tied to the trannie, which monitors each tire rotation and adjusts as needed. Even tread depth of the tire affects the ADW system. I called the local Subaru dealer who basically told me the same story !

So now I have 3 good tires with about 10k miles use on each, and 1 bad tire to replace.
Sounds like I have 3 options.
1) Replace all four tires. Cha-Ching !
(And try to sell the 3 good ones on Craigslist)
2) Replace both rear tires, matching the front tire tread pattern as closely as
possible and pray it doesn’t affect the AWD or trannie?
3) Buy 1 new tire of the exact brand and type as the other 3, then have the
tire “shaved” to match the tread depth of the other 3. Are you kidding me,
shaving tires, is this what we've come to
This just doesn’t seem right to me, pay for a perfectly good new tire, then
shave off miles of rubber just to match the other 3

Lessons learned here about AWD, sounds like they’re more trouble than there worth. Do all AWD systems work in the same manner, not just Subaru?

Bring back the days of my old Chevy, a carburetor, and front or rear wheel drive,and no onboard computer systems monitoring everything under the hood.

Would appreciate any gear-heads or Subaru owners feedback on my options?
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Old 04-11-2015, 10:42 PM   #2
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[QUOTE=bigdog;242948 Do all AWD systems work in the same manner, not just Subaru?
[/QUOTE]

There are literally about 30 different kinds of AWD/4WD setups these days. And yes, some of them are very particular.

I'm not familiar with the Subaru setup, so I can't comment about that specific arrangement, but I've heard of other people run into similar issues to what you describe with other vehicles.

Here is some fun reading on AWD systems: http://www.reddit.com/r/cars/wiki/awd
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Old 04-11-2015, 10:43 PM   #3
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This is not just a Subaru issue but holds true for any AWD vehicle. The general rule of thumb is that the tires need to be within 4/32 of an inch of each other, any more of a variation and you need to replace all 4 tires. A variation in tread depth causes a variation in diameter of the tire and will cause the transfer case to fail. Just a quirk with AWD vehicles. I don't know if Subaru is more sensitive than other vehicles.
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Old 04-11-2015, 10:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highlander View Post
This is not just a Subaru issue but holds true for any AWD vehicle. The general rule of thumb is that the tires need to be within 4/32 of an inch of each other, any more of a variation and you need to replace all 4 tires. A variation in tread depth causes a variation in diameter of the tire and will cause the transfer case to fail. Just a quirk with AWD vehicles. I don't know if Subaru is more sensitive than other vehicles.
2/32 for Subaru.
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Old 04-12-2015, 01:32 AM   #5
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I may be able to help you...

I had a similar event happen with my wife's 2013 Outback.

I chose to buy four new tires.

The damage was a screw on the edge of the tread a little bit into the sidewall.

I had it plugged and was warned to watch it. It started to bubble so I bought the new tires.

The mileage was 22,000 when I removed them.

There was some variance in tread wear so maybe one of my three is within spec of your 10,000 mile tires.

They are:

Continental Pro Contact
P225/60 R 17 98T

Contact me via PM if you wish to see if one of mine will work for you.
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Old 04-12-2015, 06:16 AM   #6
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We had this happen with a Sub two years ago, tires about 60% worn. Got 4 new tires and the local repair shop kept the other 3 tires is case a customer came in needing one of that wear state. Other small shops may do the same.

I suggest checking with 8gv to see if one of his tires is a fit. If not, start checking with local repair shops.
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Old 04-12-2015, 07:17 AM   #7
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Default Tires

This is very common with AWD vehicles. I find the dealers ask more frequently if you want tires rotated when you have an oil change. This helps extend the life of the tires (unless you hit a pothole)
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Old 04-12-2015, 07:30 AM   #8
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Lakes Region connection?
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Old 04-12-2015, 07:56 AM   #9
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Thanks 8gv, I sent you a PM.

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Old 04-12-2015, 08:14 AM   #10
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That happened to me with a 4WD Jag. I went too close to the curbing and got a flat and they told me I had to replace all four tires.
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Old 04-12-2015, 08:24 AM   #11
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It really comes down to the AWD system as to what you can an cannot do far as needing to do tire replacements and when.

Subaru has a very complicated computer controlled torque vectoring system that allows power to be targeted to a single wheel to improve handling and feel. Now all AWD systems can do this to some degree but the system Subaru uses in particular is able to put nearly 100% power to any wheel in the system. This is all of course computer controlled but the key to all this working is the viscus couplings in the differentials which are the weak point in the system. That essentially is what takes the power from the engine and equalizes it to all four wheels. When you have a tire that is not of the same diameter that coupling has to make up for the tire circumference and therefore power applied difference and as a result can heat up and ultimately fail because it's not intended to be in use all the time. In other words this is only intended to be in use on an as needed bases not all the time. SO for all this whiz bang stuff yes you need to be especially careful to make sure you tires wear evenly and consistently rotating them often. While they may get all the raves, they are prone to problems and good luck when they break cause they cost a fortune to fix. Acura, BMW and Audi use the same type of system as well.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:10 AM   #12
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Default Mb awd

I was told by a tire dealer the tires have to be within 2/32 of each other. If not you need to search for a used tire or buy a set of tires in the thread range.

I noticed tons of used tires on Craigslist and EBay. So start looking. I needed a 17" MXMV4 for the wagon and was able to find one in Maine on Craigslist for far less money than replacing all fours.

AWD cars may have some drawback but they are a godsend in inclement weather or if you should be on a dirt road in the mud season.

Good Luck!

BTW, the best all weather tires for AWDs I found are Nokian WR G2.
There is a difference between All Weather and All Season tires. Check it out!
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:30 AM   #13
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Get the new one shaved.
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:45 PM   #14
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TireRack provides the service to shave. I'd guess it only makes senses on tires almost new. But as stated, most AWD systems are so advanced that they monitors each wheel separately.

http://blog.tirerack.com/blog/motors...e-at-tire-rack
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Old 04-12-2015, 05:29 PM   #15
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So if tire size is that critical, and it seems it is, how would buying a used tire from an unknown source be the answer? I don't see how you could confirm it's within 2/32 of what you have. Just wondering.
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Old 04-13-2015, 07:09 AM   #16
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So if you don't keep your tires continually rotated your in for big issues?? Man what a pain in the butt. I'd buy the four and not want to mess with messing up a transfer case or something then your talking serious money. Certainly something any dealer won't tell you before signing on the dotted line.
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:14 AM   #17
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Lakes Region connection?

Potholes and frost heaves
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:44 AM   #18
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I have had very good luck buying one or two tires on ebay, matching tire and also matching tread depth. searc for make and model and tire size
then look at the tread depth on each listing, most times you can get a used one matching shipped to your door all in under $75 and then just have a local guy mount it
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Old 04-13-2015, 01:59 PM   #19
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Default What does your manual say?

Tire dealers LOVE when people come in and they get to sell 4 tires when they really only needed 1...

All of the tires on your car rotate at different speeds... and NO road is perfectly straight. T

You need to look in your manual.... there will be some sort of tolerance listed for your tires. It should read something to the effect of +/- 2/32 or some other fractional number. I seriously doubt if your tires have only 10K miles on them, that they are worn more than 1/32 - 2/32. You need to measure the tread depth on the remaining tires and check the tolerance.

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Old 04-13-2015, 02:57 PM   #20
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I know this is not a L.R. related topic but as the owner of a 2012 Forester I certainly appreciate the resident experts' advice.
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Old 04-13-2015, 07:13 PM   #21
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Quote:
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Lakes Region connection?
Well, Subaru's seem to be the official car of New Hampshire.
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:14 PM   #22
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I will be driving my Subaru up to the big lake tomorrow toting more of our "stuff".

We will use both Subarus to act as moving vans as soon as my house in CT sells. Anyone want to buy it?

Will the last person out of CT please turn off the lights?
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8gv View Post
I will be driving my Subaru up to the big lake tomorrow toting more of our "stuff".

We will use both Subarus to act as moving vans as soon as my house in CT sells. Anyone want to buy it?

Will the last person out of CT please turn off the lights?
What, they don't leave lights on for you in CT?
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Old 04-13-2015, 11:29 PM   #24
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OK, here's the end story on my Subaru Outback and tire issue......

Measured tread depth of all good tires, and was about 7/32" tread left.
New tire tread depth 10-11/32 depending on size of tire 225x60x17.

That said, it's really over the recommened limit to match a 1 new tire with rest of good tires, or even buy 2 new matched pair.

Unfortnaltely, I don't have the time to find a used tire on Ebay or Craigslist with same life tread depth, so bit the bullet and bought 4 new tires.

After doing some research I bought 4 new General Altimax RT43 from Town Fair Tires. The tires are very quite on the highway, and run very smooth.
Of course they're brand new, we'll see how they are after about 10-15k of wear.

Thanks again for eveyone's feedback, it's been a really learning experience with my fisrt AWD vehicle.

On that note, I'll be trading my other car and buying a late model SUV.
Need a 6 cyl, Four Wheell Drive, decent gas milage, with light towing capacity (2500l-3000 lbs).

Looking at Honda Pilot, GMC Eonvoy, Chevy Traverse, Toyota Highlander

Any suggestions that are not AWD vehicle
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Old 04-14-2015, 04:23 AM   #25
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Am I reading this wrong, an Outback gets 30,000 miles on a set of tires (if you don't hit a pothole) ?
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Old 04-14-2015, 07:06 AM   #26
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We got a Kia sorrento for towing.....it's been very reliable. Plenty of power, reasonably priced, and a great warranty.
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Old 04-14-2015, 10:05 AM   #27
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WiFi....

To answer your question.....

Outback was purchased with about 30k miles on it, it came off a lease....
Before I purchased, the Subaru dealer removed all four OEM tires, and replaced with new.

So now have a little over 40k miles on vehicle, when I hit the pothole.

Going to file a claim against the town for damage to revover expense at least for one tire.

However, you know the expression "You can't fight City Hall', but it's worth the try !
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Old 04-14-2015, 10:31 AM   #28
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with all this talk of tread depth, tightly controlled to 2/32 of an inch, it occured to me that different batches of tires could have a different diameter.

I would think that the diameter needs to be matched, and the tread depth would only be a good indicator of the issue with a particular set of tires.

I can't imagine that all of a particular model of tires are controlled within 2/32 (1/16) of an inch. I can imagine that one batch could be off more than this, however I'm not in the tire industry so I don't know the specifications.

I could imagine that the tire inflation (air pressure) in each tire could affect the diameter more than this amount, but perhaps I'm wrong.

Good luck with your new tires!

We just purchased a Ford Escape. They are available without the AWD (Ford tries to call it 4WD, but IMHO it's an AWD system on this vehical). But we went with the so called "4WD" system. So far we're quite happy with it. Got it with the larger 2L Ecoboost engine and the factory tow package. If you pussyfoot it around, I've seen 30 MPG on the dash gauges, but that takes a very concerted effort to maintain that for any length of time. They rate it lower than this. As they say, your milage may vary! LOL
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Old 04-14-2015, 11:15 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
OK, here's the end story on my Subaru Outback and tire issue......

Measured tread depth of all good tires, and was about 7/32" tread left.
New tire tread depth 10-11/32 depending on size of tire 225x60x17.

That said, it's really over the recommened limit to match a 1 new tire with rest of good tires, or even buy 2 new matched pair.

Unfortnaltely, I don't have the time to find a used tire on Ebay or Craigslist with same life tread depth, so bit the bullet and bought 4 new tires.

After doing some research I bought 4 new General Altimax RT43 from Town Fair Tires. The tires are very quite on the highway, and run very smooth.
Of course they're brand new, we'll see how they are after about 10-15k of wear.

Thanks again for eveyone's feedback, it's been a really learning experience with my fisrt AWD vehicle.

On that note, I'll be trading my other car and buying a late model SUV.
Need a 6 cyl, Four Wheell Drive, decent gas milage, with light towing capacity (2500l-3000 lbs).

Looking at Honda Pilot, GMC Eonvoy, Chevy Traverse, Toyota Highlander

Any suggestions that are not AWD vehicle
I had to replace the tires on the wife's Lexus RX300, AWD, I went with the same tires, General Altimax RT43 which sport a very respectable UTQG rating and very good temp and traction ratings. So far they have been excellent.

Keep in mind as you consider a tow vehicle that all the ones you have listed are not trucks so keep that in mind. What I mean by that is they are all using a car drive train wrapped in a truck like body. This helps them achieve decent gas mileage with the look and feel of something they really aren't... a truck.

If you do get one make sure it has a tow package with beefed up anti sway bars, heavier duty rear suspension and transmission cooler. Just cause you can bolt on a receiver to the back doesn't make it good to tow with! Whatever you choose I would error on the side of caution and not exceed half of whatever they are rated for. Furthermore do your due diligence and find out what maintenance is required if they are used for towing. Usually they require more frequent fluid changes in the transmission and differentials.

Me being a Toyota snob and ex-technician, I'd say the Highlander is worth a look. They are typical Toyota, boring, but extremely reliable. FYI the Highlander is AWD if you opt for "4WD".
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Old 04-14-2015, 01:09 PM   #30
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Here is a quick answer I found for a few specific models.

In vehicles with all-wheel-drive systems, including Subarus, Audis and Lamborghinis, the differential and the computer work together to send the right amount of torque to each wheel to minimize slippage and maximize control. If one of the tires is a different size than the others -- because three tires are worn and one is brand new -- the computer will take an incorrect reading and the differential will work too hard. Drive this way long enough and you'll burn out the drivetrain
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Old 04-14-2015, 01:18 PM   #31
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Here is a link that explains this situation pretty good.Looks like tire shaving would have been a much cheaper option at around $25-$35.
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tirete....jsp?techid=18
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Old 04-14-2015, 05:09 PM   #32
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Default Awd

Well I have a 2014 SUB too and before just punting & buying something else;
maybe if you like the car ,like I do; just buy 4 tires & save the 3 good ones. Really, how many times will this ever happen to you. If you get another car, you will be paying more $$, and with a 6 cyl. pay more $ for gas every WEEK.
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