Subaru Tires

My 2006 subaru impreza wagon (40,000 miles) just failed inspection because I need new tires. I live in Boston and am in Maine a lot during the winter.

I’m not sure which kind of tire to buy - 4 season? 3 season and then snow tires if I need them in the winter?

Also, can anyone recommend good websites to find tires?


Go to, where you can see what is available for your car, and you can also compare the qualities of all of the offerings. Even if you don’t buy from tire rack, the site is very informative.

Incidentally, the standard tires on most Subarus (The Bridgestone Potenza RE-92) is rated as the absolute worst tire in winter conditions, despite the reality that Bridgestone calls it an “all season” tire. That is because there is absolutely no standard for what constitutes an all-season tire, and as a result, you have to be a very careful shopper, using the comparison charts from tire rack to see which tires have the qualities that you need.

I suggest as a good place to start. They have lots of information about tires of all types. They don’t carry every brand, but they have quite a few.

I have standard passenger car tires on my Subaru Legacy wagon, but I install 4 steel wheels with winter tires during the winter months. The winter tires make all the difference, even on an AWD vehicle such as your Subaur, and, in my opinion, are worth the extra money.

If you want real 4 season tires that work well in all conditions I would look at the Nokian WR or Nokian WR G2. It is the only winter rated tire that is also rated for as an all-season. They last 40k-50k.

The only real downfalls are lax tire rotations turn them noisy and price is on par with top tier michelin and Bridgestone.

However geting a decent in snow all-season may be the ticket. Most folks do this and get about fine with decent driving skills and Subaru’s AWD keeps you going in the deeper stuff.

There are no real four season tyres. There are three season (often call all season, which they are in Florida) and Winter tyres. If you want the best safest traction in snow or ice, then you want winter tyres in winter and all season tyres the rest of the year. Get a set of steel wheels and switch they as the seasons change in your area. Winter tyres are not the old snow tyres they use a totally different design and work better.

A special note for your car. You need to have all four the same type and all the same size including the amount to tread left, or you are risking some expensive drive train damage.

I also suggest TireRack.

With an AWD Subaru you may be fine with good all season tires. I prefer snows in winter even with AWD but I live on a hill and have lots of hills to contend with just to go to the grocery store.

The need for snows depends on your driving habits and where you need to travel. You can put off snows for now and just get good all season tires. When the snow flies next winter then you can consider the snows.

If you get snow tires you need a place to store them. Folks in apartments and no garage are at a disadvantage. Next, look for a deal on used or aftermarket wheels so you can get your snows mounted and balanced. Then changing them each season is a matter of bolting them up to the car. Quicker, easier, and less costly.

Thanks for all of the very helpful responses. I will check out tire rack.

TireRack is great for helping you to learn which tire is best for your needs.

After you research tires, you may want to call one of your local independent tire shops. They often give you the best service at a price that meets or beats TireRack.