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2018 Subaru Impreza Sedan tire questions

Dear Ray, The tire pressure light on the dashboard of my 2018 Subaru Impreza went on. The “tire place” I went to said I had a slow leak. Question #1 Why is it every time I have a flat, it can never be repaired but I need a new tire? Question #2 The “tire place” said I needed 2 new tires because of the all-wheel drive. I went to the dealer who measured all four tires and said I could get by with one new tire and were charging me $18 less! Am I driving all right with one new tire? My mileage is 14500. Thanks and I enjoy reading your column! -Mike from Buffalo

Hi and welcome. Ray doesn’t post here AFAIK. As far as why your tires can’t be fixed that’s called “bad luck.” It’s also called “We make more money selling tires than we do fixing them.” Plus, sometimes tires can’t be fixed. Normally all four tires are replaced at once on an AWD vehicle but if the dealer’s shop says you’re okay that’s all you need to know. Happy motoring.

Thanks for the quick reply! Stay safe!

You too. Best of luck with your new tire.

Subarus and many other AWD cars need all tires to be very close in overall diameter and circumference. That’s one reason tires should be rotated per carmaker’s maintenance guide (to even out their wear), and that sometimes all 4 should be replaced at the same time.

To learn more, see what your owners manual says about this. It may even say what the measurement parameters are, and you or a mechanic can do the measuring.

A tire can’t be patched if the hole is too close to the sidewall. Perhaps that was the reason here. Did you ask why it couldn’t be repaired?

Keep in mind for the future that Tire Rack and some other sellers can shave a new tire to match your existing tires. That’s probably cost-effective only if your current tires still have a fair amount of tread left.

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Thank you for the info!

And that shop that said you needed two tires was wrong. It’s (edit) usually either one or four on a Subaru.

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And, it looks like the OP’s dealership is more honest and more competent than the tire shop.

I originally thought this too, but then I realized that one of the remaining tires (probably on the same axle as the flat one) could have less tread than the other two, requiring that one to be replaced to be close enough to the brand new tire.

While that could be true, the car is almost new, with few miles. My bet is the shop was wrong, not that they carefully evaluated the tread depths.


Thanks! I needed that!