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Will WRX rims make a difference on our Outback? Should I keep 'em?

I just picked up an Outback VDC edition in excellent condition with two sets of rims, including a set of WRX rims with studded snow tires on them. What do the WRX rims do for you? One person said they were for speed, another person told me they were for use with snow tires.

Will be using this subie mostly for work highway/around town during week, and every few weeks a 2-3 hour road trip on good highways and roads in mostly very good weather. In winter, when headed to ski areas, I plan to use our all-year tires and chain up if necessary in the last 10-20 minutes driving toward the resort.

Also, in very good-excellent condition, what are the WRX rims worth?

In very good-excellent condition, what are the regular rims worth?

There is no real performance difference in the rims. It’s just handy to have extra rims to put winter tires on. I agree that the all-seasons will be fine but if you live in a state that does chain enforcement, it is really nice to have snow tires because they usually won’t make you chain up if you have AWD and winter tires. If they’re mounted on rims, I find putting the snow tires on in your nice warm garage the night before far less aggravating than futzing with chains in the snow.

Then why do people pay more for WRX rims?

Also, if you don’t need snow tires 99% of the time, and 90% of your drive to a resort is on good roads in fair weather out West, doesn’t it make sense not to keep them and just chain up the last short part of a drive into the mountains every 2 weeks in winter?

First, congratulations finding your outback.

I personally very much like snow tires. I think that whoever had the Outback before you may have gone somewhat overboard buying studded snow tires, I have never needed them.

But why would you risk damage to your wheel wells and tires by using snow chains when you have a perfectly good set of snow tires already mounted on rims? Even if you don’t think that a chain will break, or possibly let go by not being put on correctly, you can just put on the snow tires at home rather than putting on chains in the cold and wet by the side of the road.

Edit: Another thought… you may not need the snow tires 99% of the time, but you don’t get to stop and chose when that 1% of the time you do need them happens.

Hi jsutter,

Thanks. You should check out my reply to a post you wrote on my question about crossover and modest-size SUVs here - you’d understand why I looked for an Outback:

I posed the same question to people on the best Subaru enthusiast forum and for driving out West from the Bay Area to a ski area like Tahoe, most people recommended high quality all-year tires and chaining up if necessary the last 10-20 minutes on the final approach to a resort. They just said 1) snow tires were rarely necessary for the drive up to a resort, that they were more appropriate for people living full time in heavy snow areas 2) good chains do the trick, and practicing at home would allow you to chain up in 10 minutes outside, and a good snowsuit would allow you to do so comfortably (I have a full zip on winter suit from the military) 3) the majority of the drive up to the resort from the Bay Area is in very good dry weather, where all-years excel and where snow tires are much less safe and would wear more quickly. Snow tires are also very noisy at highway speed in good weather conditions. Basically on the W Coast you are driving in good spring-summer-fall weather (by NE standards) for most of the trip and then hitting the snow only at the end.

If I were in the NE, I’d think the snow tires would be a big plus. But it seems out in N California, that it may be more practical to sell them and the extra rims to buy good all-years and chains, and use the leftover toward the car purchase, gas, etc.

Do you know what WRX rims do for you, and why some people say they are good for snow tire use?

The WRX rims are probably sought-after for looks. The only reason you need “performance” rims is if you’re mounting extra large brakes and you need extra clearance or if you’re participating in some sort of motorsport where having moderately lighter rims might shave off a fraction of a second or two.

People are probably just saying that it’s good to have snow tires on rims in general, for easy change-over. Most people put the winter tires on plain steel wheels (the kind you put a hubcap over that all cars used to have) and save the fancy rims for the summer when they wouldn’t get all smudged up.

I agree with you entirely on not needing the winter tires. If you want to know my opinion, if you’re driving on well-maintained highway, you NEVER need chains other than on a rear wheel drive car. Especially not on a Subaru. I’ve driven through a lot of winters in Montana and I have never chained up my front-wheel drive Honda. Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve even driven it over the pass into Seattle when it was “chains required” with a set of good all seasons a couple of times and it was no problem at all. I was merely suggesting if you have the tires on rims, it might be easier to put the mounted tires on than the chains!

I know nothing special about those rims, but with winter tyres I would suggest keeping both sets of rims just to make change over easier and faster.

Keep in mind that “Winter” tyres are not “snow” tyres. The Winter tyres are modern technology and provide far better snow and ice traction than snow tyres ever did.

Also keep in mind that while your AWD will be a big help in getting out of your drive way and out of the ditch you may slide into, it will not help you from sliding into that ditch in the first place, nor will it help you stop faster and prevent you from sliding into the car in front of you. Winter tyres will help a lot on all these and will even help you get through deeper snow than AWD by itself.

For me I would rather have winter tyres than AWD any day. In deep snow, I would like both.

Don’t confuse winter tyres and snow tyres.

The rims have a value of around $200(excellent condition) usually and $300 if perfect without tires. WRX owners do not want them except when they go back to trading in their cars.