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'95 Legacy Wagon -- wisdom on new wheel/tire sizes?


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3 replies to this topic

#1 Rob Kuhlman

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 07:23 AM

My 'new' Legacy wagon came shod with alloy 15" wheels and 195/60 mud and snow tires. I want to order up another set of four wheels/tires to use for the non-snow season, and since Tire Rack is offering some Chinese alloys for nearly the same price as steel rims, I thought I'd go with them. Their alloys don't come in 15", so I'm looking to go up +1 to 16" and they recommend a 205/50 tire size to fit. I was hoping to get a set of Yokohama Avids because I've used them for years on my old Volvos, but they only come in 205/55, not 205/50. So...Kumho Ecstas is where I'm heading I think.

Here's the question: I sense there should be a distinct handling benefit from going from 195/60X15 to 205/50X16, but what kind of gas mileage penalty will I experience from having a wider contact area? negligible? 20%?

Rob

#2 lmdew

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 07:50 AM

Watch the nasioc.com site the guys sell the wrx wheels and tires all the time 200-400 is the going price.

#3 uniberp

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 08:14 AM

From my experience, there is negligible difference in gas mileage between tire sizes. Driving style is the biggest factor in gas mileage, bar none. Tire pressure is second.

Wider tires may give better wet braking but may also not, if the tread design or compound is different. Also, a general rule in rally (Subie drivers seem to look at rally, for some reason), is that snow tires are substantially narrower than dry tires. They cut through snow more easily, I guess. I have found narrow snow tires to work the best, myself.

There are a variety of factors involved in the tire size: circumference, contact patch, sidewall stiffness, rubber compound, tread dynamics, et. al. Any tire that emphasized any one of these factors would fail in others to the point that the maker couldn't afford the liability. Ideally the maximum gas mileage tire would be like a high pressure bicycle tire: 1" wide and 150psi, but there would be a tradeoff in other areas, like traction.


For me, the biggest factor is ride. The tire itself contributes greatly to the smoothness and quietness of the ride, but smooth, quiet tires seem to be made of softer compounds, and do not seem to last as long. Again, that may (is) due to driving style.

Subaru AWD requires exactly matching circumferences, and may warrant an expensive tire that will hold it's shape over the life.

I am choosing new tires now also. I have been very happy with Delta/Arizonan house brands at Suburban or Discount (Chicagoland) on other cars, but my OB came with Michelin Symmetrys, which I know to be pricey.

Anoother thing I want, since it's so important to gas mileage, is a pressure monitoring system, but those are $250+.


My 'new' Legacy wagon came shod with alloy 15" wheels and 195/60 mud and snow tires. I want to order up another set of four wheels/tires to use for the non-snow season, and since Tire Rack is offering some Chinese alloys for nearly the same price as steel rims, I thought I'd go with them. Their alloys don't come in 15", so I'm looking to go up +1 to 16" and they recommend a 205/50 tire size to fit. I was hoping to get a set of Yokohama Avids because I've used them for years on my old Volvos, but they only come in 205/55, not 205/50. So...Kumho Ecstas is where I'm heading I think.

Here's the question: I sense there should be a distinct handling benefit from going from 195/60X15 to 205/50X16, but what kind of gas mileage penalty will I experience from having a wider contact area? negligible? 20%?

Rob



#4 Strakes

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 08:44 AM

With that tire size and wheel, the handling will be better but you really wont see a big difference in gas mileage. I have Kumho Solus on my wife's Subaru and Kumho Ecsta ASX on mine. They are really good tires. We feel that the Solus are better than the Ecstas. Maybe it's because the Solus is a newer model with newer technology. BTW, I used to own Volvos and love Yokohama tires as well, so I don't think you'll go wrong with the Kumhos.




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