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How big of wheels can I run?

Hey, so I was just wondering on how big of wheels I can run in my 1997 Subaru Impreza wagon. The current wheels are 205/60R15. I also plan on lowering the car about a inch or two for better handling. Just looking for some ideas or advice

Lowering the car and bigger tires are mutually exclusive. Look in the owners manual for tires sizes, this is for a normal conditions. If you attempt to lower the suspension you may need to go to a smaller tire to avoid interference

Stock tires are 24.7” tall
Work back wards
60/15 = 55/16 = 50/17 = 45/18”.
You could run 215/50/17 which is not hard to find
Yep, 60/15 is lame. Grandmas car

I dont want to dash your Fast or Furious car dreams but… take it from a guy who has been there (as a witness) and had to correct that… for a large number of people

First you need to acknowledge the fact that lowering the vehicle will also simultaneously increase the spring rate… BOTH of which do not mesh well with what you are planning… as in …not at all.

When wheel size is increased… wheel weight rises sharply. This is called “unsprung weight” and i dont need to ask your vehicle to know that it doesnt like that. Neither will you.

The wheel diameter increase will dictate a lower profile tire… which… will increase tire cost… as well as make the ride quality more firm or i should say harsh… which also directly relates to those larger diameter wheels… lower (higher rate springs) low profile tires + large diam wheels = broken or bent wheels… almost ALWAYS. No Im sorry that was incorrect… the frequency is actually ALWAYS as in every single time, not sort of always so my apologies in making you think it was a maybe situation… it isnt

Im not going to tell you what or what not to do to your vehicle, Im just the kind of guy you will someday seek out just to have him correct all the horrific things that happen after such a wheel and tire and suspension change. Been there…done that…so, get your checkbook fat n healthy to correct this down the road.

As far as will it look cool? Maybe… but thats about all the enjoyment youre going to reap here.

Everything in moderation of course… there are levels to this, but i wrote this with the maximum wheel diameter and the minimum sidewall profile in mind… and in such context everything i mentioned will become reality right quick. Like i said there are levels to this… a mild change will be much more successful than the max, so keep that in mind.


+1 to everything that was stated by Honda Blackbird.
But, if the OP still wants to go ahead with this project, I suggest that he take a look at, which will list “alternative” wheel sizes and tire sizes for his car.


First, I know of no one who publishes a listing for what tires will fit under the fenders for all the vehicles out there.

Second, This question is better suited for folks who specialize in your vehicle - given the proposed modifications. Find a website devoted to your vehicle. They will be much more informed than we will be. We’re generalists!


@Marleyjacob67_165507 Capri Racer is an actual tire expert and his advice to find a specific site for Subaru modification is worth taking. The regulars here are quite conservative so as your profile says you want to ( Pimp ) your ride those days are gone for most of us.

I really doubt is lowering this old Subaru wagon will even make much of a difference in the handling . It will make it easier to scrape things under the car on speed bumps.

If I wanted to improve handling I’d go to tire rack, look at “+1” (that’s 16” wheels for your car) options, get light wheels, and get tires that are handling oriented.


This article describes results of “upgrading” wheels and tires on a Honda. I might have done this to my 1999 Civic. Then I came across this article - and to my senses.

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Lame perhaps.
But maybe grandma has learned from experience to appreciate a balance of comfort, performance, durability and thrift.


I never even considered looking into this for my Outback, My '93 Miata on the other hand, sure, lighter +1" wheels with lower profile, slightly wider tires is a decent improvement, although the ride is a bit firmer. Unsprung weight was actually slightly lower than the OEM tires + wheels.

And unsprung weight will continue to be lower… if you got the bread… a big IF that most just skip right over.

Lightness costs money…a lot of it. Ironic that…no?

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Which leads to the inevitable question:
How much money should one spend for “modifications” on a 23 year old car with low book value?

If I was in that situation, the answer would be “zero”, but I may have a value system that differs from that of the OP.


I bet a with a little trimming with a Sawzall and some spacers, you could get 44’’ Super Swampers on it


But those no-name cast aluminum Chinese-made wheels look soooo good and they are only $99 each!

What do you mean they weigh 35 lbs each? My factory wheels only weigh 24 lbs… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Gotta be some ricers on CL selling some wrx wheels?

This is an awful idea.