Should I use exactly same recommended tire size on my car?

Hi everyone,
The recommended tire size on my 2010 subaru forester x limited (AWD) is 225/55/R17 97H or 95H.

I plan to switch to winter tires now because it’s almost winter here in Winnipeg. I have a set of winter tires on rims that I previously used on my Honda Accord. The size is 225/50/R17 93S. The bolt patter doesn’t match and I just change over tire with my Subaru.

My question is that, does the difference between ratio 55 and 50 really matter? In terms of speed, I know it can be troublesome if ratio is too different for shifting and the controller. But is this difference really important to be worried about?

And next question is about load and speed rating. My winter tire is 93S and my Subaru needs 97H. I’m not gonna over load my car and typically I have maximum of 2 passengers on the rear seats.

It’s student life and I don’t want to invest on winter tires this year.

Thanks for any help and suggestions!

The 50 number is the sidewall height. All else being equal, the 50 series tire will be shorter than a 55 series tire. Your speedometer will read a bit high but otherwise the car will run fine.

The load rating is a bit uncomfortable as is the speed rating… S is 112 mph and H is 130 mph. But these are also not serious unless you do something stupid like loading up the car and trying a top speed run.

As long as the winters are not too old, you should be OK. Once the winters are off the Accord wheels, sell them and buy Subie rims.


this chart will show you the differences if it helps.

225/55-R17 vs 225/50-R17 Tire Comparison - Tire Size Calculator (

EDITED to correct chart


WW entered your new tire as the old… so the speedo calculation is reversed… so at an indicated 70, you are going 67, not 73

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Thank you! Yeah I made mistake I didn’t sell them. Because I thought bolt pattern will match and I just need to swap wheels.
The winter tire is not too old. But to be honest I had terrible experience with these Winterforce (Firestone) tires on my accord. I’m not really sure if AWD make any differences if I use them again.

Anyway thanks!

I used a set of Firestone Winterforce tires on a FWD car (SAAB 9-5)… they performed pretty well but they were the noisiest tires I have ever owned.

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I’d sell them because they’re shorter and most importantly they don’t meet the load spec. @CapriRacer your thoughts?

I assume you’re talking about replacing all four tires and not just two.
If it’s all four, I would not hesitate swapping them on my car. Given the lower load and speed rating, go easier on them.

If CapriRacer disagrees with me, then use his input, (and take it seriously). He’s a retired longtime tire engineer who is always providing valuable insight on all things tires.

Here’s info @jtsanders posted several years ago when a poster asked about load rating:

" Michelin says this about load rating:

“A tire with a higher load index than that of the Original Equipment tire indicates an increase in load capacity. A tire with a load index equal to that of the Original Equipment tire indicates an equivalent load capacity. A tire with a lower load index than the Original Equipment tire indicates the tire does not equal the load capacity of the original and should not be considered for installation on the vehicle.”"

I trust Michelin’s recommendation.

Going down in load carrying capacity is never a good idea. that’s the direction towards catastrophic failure - and sometimes that results in serious injury.

Don’t go there!


Why would think they would be any better on a different vehicle ? I almost think if you have good all season on this Subaru with all wheel drive that should be sufficient.

Let me make sure I understand this. You have winter tires that are the wrong size, that are an insufficient load index, that are the wrong speed rating, that are mounted on wheels that don’t fit, and that you didn’t think actually performed well in winter, but you’re wondering if you should use them? This really doesn’t seem like a tough call to me.

Are you sure that you need winter tires, which are somewhat of a hassle for a student to store and install? Given the amount of snow that Winnipeg gets, I’m wondering if you’d be better off with a top-rated 3PMSF all-season tire, especially the Michelin CrossClimate2.

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@CapriRacer @texases @JoeMario

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. So based on this discussion, I think I would better buy new winter tires. I’m not sure if you’ve been to Winnipeg’s winter or not, but I really don’t think all season works for city. So is it fine if I use higher load rating if I couldn’t find exactly the recommended one?

I myself didn’t have a good experience with my used winterforce tires. But seems now they’re one of the cheapest options. Midas sells Winterforce 2 $211 per tire and gives one for free if we buy 3. In total will be $635.

Costo sells Michellin 4 for $1039, Pirelli $999, and bridgestone $939.

Midas offer is much cheaper but in terms of quality I think it’s crystal clear costco offers are better.

Any recommendations? Thanks everyone for your time and inputs

Winnipeg , Manitoba has a loan program to help purchase Winter tires . Winnipeg , Ontario offers reduced insurance rates for people using Winter tires .

Not a problem using higher than recommended load rating. I’d go to and find the winter tires suited for your Forester.

I second the suggestion to research tires at I have often, and have purchased sometimes from them and others times locally. The November issue of Consumer Reports always has tire ratings, too.

All-season tires that have a good rating on snow and ice may be an economical solution. I put General Altimax on my minivan, twice, and they have been quite good all year.

Your Subaru has one of the best on-snow performing AWD systems, so the need for dedicated winter tires may be not so great. Would they a good thing? Yes. Are you willing to pay the price? Maybe not. I understand!

What price is the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 for you? That’s a very good tire that I suspect will have a reasonable price.

Here’s a set with steel rims and Blizzaks for about $900. They are on 16" rims, which saves money.
Tire Rack : Winter / Snow Tire and Wheel Packages

$939 but has $120 off now if I buy 4. So, $819.

Plus 1 for the Blazaks. put them on my daughter’s car before she went to Vermont for Law school. she loved them. she said when everyone else was getting stuck, she just motored through the snow.