Tire Height Problem On Spare?

2004 Forester AWD. The summers are 205/60/16 and the winters are 215/60/16. My plan is to get new steel wheels for the winters and thereby avoid the cost of two seasonal changes. The fourth tire off would be the spare in any given seasonal change. Tire shop does seasonal change free when tires are all on their own wheels. But the 215s are 0.47 inches taller than the 205s. Is that little amount critical on an AWD given we are talking about a spare and a short trip to get things fixed?

You need to have four tires of the same size on these vehicles. How you choose to accomplish that, whether it’d to not rotate the spare with the winter tires or to buy a fifth steel wheel and 215/60 tire, is up to you.

By the way, is there a specific reason you went with a different size for your winter tires?

I’m pretty sure this is far outside the allowed tolerance. Doesn’t your owner’s manual give an exact value?

It’s unusual to use a wider winter tire. Most people use the same size or narrower.

Is this an automatic or manual transmission vehicle? IIRC there is a way to disable the rear drive on an automatic by pulling a fuse. This is not available on a manual AWD. Check your owner/operator’s manual.

Hope this helps.

“IIRC there is a way to disable the rear drive on an automatic by pulling a fuse.”

Actually, you insert a fuse into a special fuse block located on or near the passenger-side strut tower if you want to disable the AWD on this vehicle.

I have a standard shift so the fuse thing is out. Found out now the maximum difference can only be 3/32 " as measured on tread even with identical tire sizes. That 3/32" tread translates into a height difference of 3/16" or 0.18 “. My 215s and 205s differ in height by 0.47” so that makes it a no go. Thanks lion9car.

the same mountain bike. How did I get two different sizes indeed. The 205s got put on the car (my wifes) last fall. I did not notice until I hatched my idea to save money on seasonal changes. Thanks to you I went and asked at the tire shop. They said Oops and should have been stock 215s. In the morning I get four new summer 215s for a cost equal to the 8,000 miles of use.

You CAN disable the AWD on SOME SUBIES…The older ones…in the 90’s it was possible to disable the viscous coupling that drives the rear wheels…but not sure if you have that ability with the newer ones…LOOK this up on a SUBIE FORUM…they will know. AND I believe that you actually REMOVE a fuse to make this change…not add one…But I could be wrong for sure…again the Subie Forum guys will let you know…

YES it does make a difference with tire circumference…You dont want to get into the issues with this…they arent pretty…UNLESS you can move it to the back and disable the AWD…in that case go right ahead as they would just be free-wheeling anywho…