Tires In General
- Tire pressure is one of the most important items affecting fuel economy.
- The recommended tire pressure is indicated on a panel located on the b pillar below the driverís door striker. Note that air temperature will affect tire pressure, so check tire pressure at least once a week and adjust for seasonal climatic change.
- If you drive from a cold climate to a warmer one, it is possible for the tire pressure to increase by an unsafe amount. Driving from a warm climate to a cold climate has the opposite affect, tire pressure will decrease. At Christmas note the number of Canadian drivers stopped on the side of the road in southern states with blown tires, this is mainly due to increased tire pressure.
- Check the tire pressure of the spare tire. It should be 60psi. I find that my spare tire leaks 1 or 2psi each month!!! Having a flat spare can leave you stranded.
- Note that the temporary spares have a 90kph/55mph speed limit, and less than that if the vehicle is loaded. It also has a 100km distance limit. Note that this distance limit does not mean the tire is worn out after 100km, it just means that after 100km enough temperature has built up in the tire to reduce its strength. Stopping for a minimum of 30 minutes is required at 100km intervals to allow the tire to cool.
- Never plug a nail puncture. Always use a patch inside the tire to repair punctures. Installation of a tire plug can weaken the tire, and the plug often leaks.
- Rotate the tires on a regular basis
Subaru Outback Specific Tire Notes
- Firestone Wilderness tires used on the 2000-2001 Outback are of a different design than the Wilderness AT models used on the Ford Explorer. Wilderness AT tires are light truck tires with a speed rating of 140KPH, while the Wilderness tires are passenger car tires with a speed rating of 210KPH. The Wilderness tires used on the Outback will not explode (unless over or under inflated).
- Both the Firestone Wilderness tires and the Bridgestone Potenza tires are somewhat prone to punctures. The tread pattern seems to suck up more stones and nails than other designs leading to punctures. I have experienced three punctures with my Firestone Wilderness tires, including one which was not repairable. I have the same mileage on my Michelin Arctic Alpin winter tires and drive on the same roads, and have never experienced a puncture with these tires.
- Subaru recommends 30psi front and 29psi rear for the 2000-2003 Outback.
- Tire rotation on Subaru All Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicles is very important, since AWD vehicles tend to wear the rear tires faster than the front. I recommend rotating the tires front to rear (never side to side) every 10,000 km. Remember to recheck the tire pressure after rotation, since Subaru recommends different front and rear tire pressures.
- Subaru Outback's (and all other Subaru's aside from the WRX) required H speed rated (210 KPH) tires. Using a lower speed rated tire compromises handling.
- Low pressure in one tire can lead to failure of the all wheel drive system (Limited slip differentials, viscous couplings (5MT) and hydraulic multi-plate clutch packs (4EAT) can experience significant wear and even complete failure with an under inflated tire.
- North American Outback's are equipped with 225/60R16 H tires, elsewhere Outback's are equipped with 215/60R16 tires. I have heard that the speedometer is actually calibrated for the slightly smaller 215 tires, which means that the speedometer is showing a lower than actual speed and the odometer is counting a KM as being longer than an actual km. This might explains why I am always 0.1 or 0.2 km out on the roadside 5 or 10 km odometer calibration checks. The sign says 10km, my trip odometer shows 9.8 or 9.9 km. Don't try to use this as an excuse for a speeding ticket.
- All four tires on a Subaru Outback MUST be of the same design and size. NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE!!! Destruction of the all wheel drive system is virtually guaranteed if this rule is not followed.
- Winter tires will decrease fuel economy by 5-10%.
- Winter tires are noisier than all season tires
- Winter tires wear very quickly in warm weather, so remove them once the temperature is consistently above freezing
- Winter tires are more susceptible to damage from road debris
- Alloy wheels can be damaged by road salt, steel wheels are recommended for winter driving.
- Mounting and demounting winter tires on each spring and fall on the stock alloy wheels is not recommended. Frequent mounting and demounting of tires can weaken the tire bead leading to air leaks and even a catastrophic failure of the tire. Some manufacturers claim that their winter tires can withstand multiple mounting and dismounting, this may be the case, but what about the all season tires you switch them with?
- Winter tires mounted on steel rims are significantly heavier than the stock all-season tire/alloy wheel combination. Heavier wheels mean a rougher ride and more work for the suspension system.
- Winter tires are typically Q speed rated (160 KPH), which is a lower speed rating than Subaru recommends (H-210KPH). This is not an issue since the added traction of the winter tires in winter conditions will be more of a benefit than the handling qualities of the higher H speed rating.
This sticker on the driver's side B pillar (A pillar is the windshield pillar, B pillar is the one between the side doors, C pillar is the next one back and so forth).
Vehicle weight capacity is 386kg (850lb) for the sedan and 408kg (900lb) for the wagon. This rating includes the weight of all passengers, cargo, roof rack cargo, trailer tongue weight and even the dirt on the car! This capacity limit is the amount of weight that the vehicle with full fuel load can handle safely.
Tire size for the Outback is P225/60R16, weight rating 97 and speed rating H. Recommended tire pressure is 30 front and 29 rear. Higher tire pressure is required in the rear for towing and full cargo loads (32 psi).
Spare tire pressure is 60psi.