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17 inch Tires vs 16 inch...Major advantages-disadvantages?


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20 replies to this topic

#1 muld00n

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 04:39 PM

Hello,

I'm looking at either the '05 Legacy with 16inch tires or the '06 with 17inch tires. I was wondering if there is a major advantage or disadvantage to either or?

ex-Tire noise, fuel consumption, handling in winter weather?

Any info is greatly appreciated as I can't seem to find any concrete info from google.

TIA

#2 jamal

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 05:05 PM

grassroots motorsports did this little test on plus-sized wheels.

The 16- and 17-in Legacy wheels have the same tires, but the 17's are slightly wider and have a lower profile. THis makes them a little less flexible laterally, so it could make the car a bit more responsive. Less flex also means a little less bump absorbtion, but one inch isn't a very significant difference. When going from 14s to 16s, I felt an immediate increase in lateral grip and response. Now I have pretty stiff suspension, so I would probably benefit from going to a 17, and I could definitely use some better tires. Oh, bigger wheels also tend to be heavier.

Also the 17s look way cooler.

#3 charlierh2

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 11:36 PM

were the upgraded wheels for looks only, or did they fit bigger breaks under them?

#4 jamal

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 12:03 AM

The GT has bigger brakes. The fronts won't fit under 16" wheels.

#5 charlierh2

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 12:18 AM

yes, but for 06 the 2.5i gets 17's too, do they also get bigger breaks?

#6 jamal

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 12:31 AM

No.

GT has the bigger brakes, STi has the same brembos, WRX has 4-pot/2-pots now (same size front rotor as old WRX, rear is bigger and vented, same as LGT but 2-piston), Impreza 2.5 has the same brakes as it always has (98-06), Legacy 2.5 has the same brakes as an 02-05 WRX. The rear rotors on the Legacy actually got smaller from 04 to 05 on non-GTs. I think.

I personally am putting 02 WRX front and 00-04 Legacy rear brakes on my 93 Legacy (I did a lot of research on Subaru brakes before I decided). Here's a picture of the WRX pad and bracket compared to my front rotor (I'm changing a control arm and thought I'd see how it fits. Too bad the damn ball joint won't come out):

Posted Image

I think it's so cool that I can take the brakes from an 02 Impreza and they bolt right on to my 93 Legacy.

#7 charlierh2

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 12:47 AM

You have the option of running 16's or 17's then. What you need to concider then is if your going to run a winter tire, and if that tire will be mounted on your regular wheels or if you will buy a set of steel ones for the winter.

So essentialy:
Winter tire: yes or no
If yes: steel or regular

If you answer yes to both and you have the cash dedicated wheels and tires are great. You can also use winter tires on either stock wheel.

#8 jamal

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 12:48 AM

You have the option of running 16's or 17's then. What you need to concider then is if your going to run a winter tire, and if that tire will be mounted on your regular wheels or if you will buy a set of steel ones for the winter.

So essentialy:
Winter tire: yes or no
If yes: steel or regular

If you answer yes to both and you have the cash dedicated wheels and tires are great. You can also use winter tires on either stock wheel.



yeah, you could get the 17s for the bling bling, and then a set of 16s used for snow tires. My most recent set of 16" wrx wheels was $250. With 100 miles on them.

#9 Setright

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 02:57 AM

The main thing to research is the cost of the tyres you intend to run. I run 15 inch rims because the tyres cost HALF the price of 17 inch tyres.

You need to correlate that to your expected mileage.

17 inch tyres will also be more susceptible to damage over rough roads - the carcass can easily be deformed by a hole in the road.


I would choose 16 inches :-)

#10 Ranger83

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 03:52 AM

I just bought a 3.0R wagon. It has 17's, now I'm looking for some 16" rims for dedicated snows.

#11 fishy

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 08:13 AM

Also in regards to tire size a taller sidewall and narrower tread will be better in snow and dirt than a big ole fat balogna skin tire. I can only imagine that 17in low-pro winter tires would be useless unless you spent $300 each for some crazy fancy tire. 16in but wider like 225s aren't that great either but at least the sidewall would have more flex and provide better grip. If you're going to do a lot of driving in snow I'd personally recommend sticking 15in rims and tires on for winter if they'll clear your brakes.

#12 bjwirth

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 10:24 AM

Hello,

I'm looking at either the '05 Legacy with 16inch tires or the '06 with 17inch tires. I was wondering if there is a major advantage or disadvantage to either or?

ex-Tire noise, fuel consumption, handling in winter weather?

Any info is greatly appreciated as I can't seem to find any concrete info from google.

TIA


THe move to bigger wheels is a marketing one (for cars in general). Customers have the perception that bigger wheels are "better." THey are certainly more "stylish" and when something is trendy, everyone wants to jump on board. (remember spoilers for family sedans??) For a car like the legacy (2.5i right?), you won't notice an improvement in handling going from 16 to 17" wheels and the legacy is so softly sprung, that it won't really ride much harsher.

But that said, if I was choosing between an 05 and an 06, tire size would be on the bottom of my list of deciding points. 2 of the points you're concerned about (road noise and winter driving) are more a function of tire than wheel size. I can find a 17" tire that runs quieter than the stock 16's for example. and while 17" tires are more expensive than 16", it looks like you're buying a new car, so the extra $100 you spend every 3-4 years for the bigger tires won't be that significant compared to the new car depreciation.

#13 Strakes

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 11:28 AM

It all depends on what you want out of your car's capabilities. I went from the stock 16in on my GT (205/55R16) to 17in (215/45R17) because I wanted a wider tire after doing from suspension upgrades. My opinion:

Narrower 16in will do better in the snow and the tires are generally cheaper to replace.

Wider 17in do better for performance driving and handling response.

A compromise is to get an ultra high performance tire for your 16in wheels, which I had done before going to 17in. Ultra high performance tires on the 16in traded in snow traction for the handling and bridged a lot of the gap between the two sizes.

#14 cookie

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 02:03 PM

and 16s on my Forester. The BMW is a sports car and pretty useless in many of the conditions in which the Forester shines.
The BMW has easily damaged rims, tires are far more expensive, much more road noise, (I have driven the same car on 16s and it was much quieter) and handles better on the 17s.
The Forester with its 16s runs fairly quiet, get OK gas mileage, tires are cheaper, and you can park it anywhere without damaging a rim. The other day I drove it down a railroad track because I was too lazy to open a gate.
To me it depends on how you are going to use the car. There is no way I would use a 17 off road and they would not be good on my much abused Forester.
However 16s can turn in a fairly good performance all around.

#15 otis

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 03:23 PM

and 16s on my Forester. The BMW is a sports car and pretty useless in many of the conditions in which the Forester shines.
The BMW has easily damaged rims, tires are far more expensive, much more road noise, (I have driven the same car on 16s and it was much quieter) and handles better on the 17s.
The Forester with its 16s runs fairly quiet, get OK gas mileage, tires are cheaper, and you can park it anywhere without damaging a rim. The other day I drove it down a railroad track because I was too lazy to open a gate.
To me it depends on how you are going to use the car. There is no way I would use a 17 off road and they would not be good on my much abused Forester.
However 16s can turn in a fairly good performance all around.

I don't know what kind of bmw you have, but there's a BIG difference between my 323i and my forester. just because there's a performance difference in the bmw switching between tires, that doesn't mean there will be a difference with a legacy 2.5i. Even without the sports pkg on the bmw, it can probably drive circles around a legacy 2.5i with 17" wheels (at least on dry pavement). I bet you can get into a legacy and not tell the difference between 16 and 17 wheels. STrakes saw a performance increase going from 16 to 17 because he did suspension upgrades.

bottom line- on the 06 legacy, you will see NO advantages going to a 17" wheel. and imho, the disadvantages are insignificant. so in the end, it's just a wash.

#16 cookie

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 04:00 PM

And I am not really disagreeing with you that there would not be a lot of difference in every day driving with a Legacy.
You would get a crisper turn in with 17s if the tires and wheels not a factor. You also tend to get more noise with the 17s and from the amount of damaged rims I have seen more tendency that way.
I have driven WRXs with 17s and they seemed right for that car. Frankly if I wanted more brake room or more road performaance from my Forester I would consider 17s.
I don't think I would choose 17s for a Legacy unless it saw all highway and little snow use myself, but opinions may differ.

#17 otis

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 05:36 PM

I know this is a subaru forum, but nice car on the m. I had a friend who had an m coupe. i thought it was ugly, but that was a great car.

#18 cookie

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 06:06 PM

If I could afford a huge fleet it would also incude a WRX. The WRXs I have driven in New Zealand do everything my M can do except put the top down.
If I could only afford one car it would probably be a WRX wagon.

#19 Ranger83

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Posted 26 November 2005 - 04:08 AM

One thing to keep in mind is that many 06 models have a tire pressure monitoring system; the sensors are $80+ each; and the computer has to be reprogrammed by the dealer to recognize them.

I may just mount the snows on the stock rims unless I can figure out how to disable the dashlight.

#20 Juan

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 03:44 PM

Are the '06 O.B.s higher off the ground? An extra inch of ground clearance with 17inch tires would be nice. I'd take the 17s for this reason alone.

Tires cost money no matter what size they are. The few extra dollars for larger tires (and chains) is pocket change if you can afford an '06 Outback.

Bye the way, what is the difference in price between the two vehicles you are considering? That would be the deciding factor for me (I like to keep my pockets full of change.)

Jess

#21 jamal

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 04:59 AM

Are the '06 O.B.s higher off the ground? An extra inch of ground clearance with 17inch tires would be nice. I'd take the 17s for this reason alone.

Jess


The 16s come with 205/55s and the 17s come with 215/45s, so the overall diameter stays the same. Both also have Potenza RE-92s, which are not the best performance all-season available. Although for $200-250 a set with wheels I'm not complaining.




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