Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages for Your Subaru Outback

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

The Subaru Outback is known as one of the most versatile vehicles on the market today. It combines everyday drivability, SUV cargo space and all-wheel-drive capability. But even the Outback can be stopped by winter weather because electronic drivers aid and AWD systems aren't enough to tackle what winter has to offer. 

Anti-lock brakes, traction control and vehicle stability control make the car easier to drive in winter weather but none of these provide more traction. These systems only limit engine power and braking force -- you're still ultimately limited by the amount of grip you have from your tires. Although the Outback comes with a sophisticated AWD system to keep the vehicle moving forward in slippery conditions, when it comes to stopping and steering you still depend on your tires to provide the level of traction needed to keep safe on the road.

Most Subaru Outback models can use a 16" Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package. This is usually the most attractive route as it allows you to use a dedicated winter tire mounted to an inexpensive black steel wheel. For example, for the 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i I would recommend using the 225/65R16 Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 or Continental ExtremeWinterContact mounted to the 16x6.5" black steel wheel. Tire Pressure Monitors Systems can also be added if you wish. If the wheels and tires are purchased at the same time, we'll also provide Hunter Road Force balancing for free.  

Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
Bridgestone Blizzak
Continental ExtremeWinterContact
Continental ExtremeWinterContact
Black Steel Wheel
Black Steel

Shop by vehicle to view the winter / snow tires and wheels available for your Subaru.


Comments on Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages for Your Subaru Outback

Friday, December 28, 2012 by Dennis Jay:
16 in. wheels are OEM only on Subaru Outback base models. Premieum and limited models have 17 in. wheels. Dealer has advised not to use 16 in. wheels on these models. Are there any plans for an inexpensive steel snow wheel for these vechiles in the future????
Friday, December 28, 2012 by Zig:

The 17" wheels on the Premium and Limited models are only a cosmetic upgrade there will be no changes to brakes or suspension. The 16" wheels and tires on the base model are the same height as the 17" wheels tires on the Limited or Premium model, so all 3 models can swap wheels and tires with each other and have no adverse effects. Thus 215/70R16 with 16" wheels is the preferred option for all 3 models as it provides the most tires sidewall, narrowest tire, and is lower cost for your winter tire and wheel package.
Monday, July 22, 2013 by Gerald :
We have a good set of 215-60-16 on winter wheels from our old 2002 Outback H-6 - will they be OK for our 2012 Outback 3.6Ltd, other than speedo error? Thanks.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 by Zig:
Those would be way too small and would not have a sufficient amount of load carrying capacity for the 12' Outback. Not to mention they would look terribly small for the vehicle because they're 1.4" shorter than they should be. I would not recommend using this size on the 12' Outback.
Friday, July 26, 2013 by Gerald:
Ok, thanks Zig. But 215-70-R16 would be the choice for a set of snows on winter rims? Thanks.
Friday, July 26, 2013 by Zig:
The Tire Rack recommends 225/60R17 as the preferred winter size, we don't show any 16" wheels we offer are able to fit over the larger brakes on the 3.6 model. But if you are able to find a 16" wheel that will fit over the brakes it would be 215/70R16.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 by Kathy:
This is my first year with my Subaru Outback. Should I purchase Michelin winter tires or the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70? I am not an avid winter driver so would like to have the best tire for snow and ice. I appreciate your advice. Thank you.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 by Zig :
Both of those tires are the very best we have to offer in snow and ice. I myself own a set of the Blizzaks but have heard great things about the Michelin tire as well. I honestly think given the AWD Subaru and one of these tires you would be making a great choice and couldn’t go wrong either way. If it were me I would just choose whichever tire is lower in price given they both do so well in snow and ice.
Friday, November 8, 2013 by Tahoe:
Would P225/60 R16 work for a 2005 outback base model?
Monday, November 11, 2013 by jondel:
OEM tires for my 2002 Outback are 225 60 16. Would 215 60 16 cause any problems?
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 by Zig:

I show for the 05' Outback base model this would be the stock size if you had the 16" wheels so there should be now problem using this size.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 by Zig :

The 215/60R16 would be shorter in height than we recommend it would case the odometer and speedometer to run a tad fast. We recommend 215/65R16 as the alternate winter size.
Friday, December 13, 2013 by Ted:
I'm thinking about some 215/65/16 Dunlops on steel wheels for my 2008 outback XT. Would that work?
Saturday, December 14, 2013 by Zig :
It's in between sizes The Tire Rack recommends we recommend 205/65R16 or 225/60R16. The 215/65R16 is just slightly taller than both of these and I can say for sure if it will rub anywhere or not.
Sunday, December 15, 2013 by Steve:
I have a 2014 Outback 2.5i Limited. Are 225/65R16 snow tires your recommended option? Are 215/65R16 snow a reasonable option? Is the Outback 3.6 the only model for which 225/60R17 is the preferred winter option?
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 by Zig:
Correct, the 3.6R has larger brakes and therefore 17" is recommended for that model. The 2.5I has smaller front brakes and can downsize from 17" to 16", so 16" would be the preferred winter package in this case.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by Doug:
I want to use 215 70 16 winter tires on my 2012 Outback 2.5 premium. I have 2008 forester steel rims with 5x100 bolt pattern and offset of 48. Does my 2012 outback still use the same offset? Will the forester steel rims clear my breaks?
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by Doug:
Can I use 2008 forester steel wheels on my 2012 outback? Is the Offset still48?
Thursday, December 19, 2013 by Zig :
The 215/70R16 size will be fine for the 12' Subaru Outback 2.5. The offsets and bolt patterns appear to be the same for both models but I don't have information on the stock Subaru wheels so I can't say for sure the wheels will work, but just looking at the number I think you have a pretty good shot.
Saturday, January 25, 2014 by Doug:
Thanks much
Friday, February 14, 2014 by Matt:
Hi, sorry for being a dunce. What size Blizzaks do I need for a 1999 Legacy Outback wagon? Thank you very much!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 by Zig :
If you have the stock 15" wheels there is not a Blizzak made in the size you need. You can use 205/70R15 or 215/65R15 and there is not a Blizzak made in either of those size.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 by harikancha:
This is my first year with 2013 outback Ltd. I live in place where the winter is almost 6 months and temp goes below 30-40 for several days. So I want to get extra wheel and winter tire. Can you suggest which might be best one.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 by
The Bridgestone Blizzak tire featured in this post has long been a favorite amongst consumers and is a very aggressive dedicated snow tire. Several options exist for wheels including cost effective steel options. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 by alex:
I am looking at ordering snow tires for a 2012 subaru outback limited 2.5i. I would prefer 16", and i have some wheels from older an older subaru that are 16", 5x100 bolt pattern, but back spacing is 55cm. Will they be usable on the '12 outback? thank you
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 by Tire Rack Team:
Alex, while the bolt pattern is correct, that wheel with such a high offset may not allow for adequate brake clearance as it will sit a bit too far towards the inside of the vehicle. A test fit would be recommended to be certain there are no clearance issues.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 by Jack:
We have a 2012 Outback 2.5i Premium and plan to buy separate set of winter tires+rims. Do we need new tire pressure sensors or can the existing ones still work? Where are these located, and what is typical cost for 4? tx for great info.
Friday, November 21, 2014 by Tire Rack Team:
Jack, a new set of wheels and tires would require a new set of sensors in order to retain TPMS function. This item is installed inside the wheel and tire assembly. We sell these sensors for $36/ea and can add them to a wheel and tire purchase should you want them. --
Sunday, January 25, 2015 by Mikeb:
I have a brand new set of 215/70r/16's will they work for my 02 suburu outback wagon?
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 by Tire Rack Team:
Mikeb, That size is a bit too large for an 02 Suabaru Outback.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 by JAime:
Wondering if my 2006 Subaru outback can use 205/55/16 with a 16" rim.Originally they are on a 17"
Friday, February 27, 2015 by Tire Rack Team:
Jaime, That size would be very small for an Outback. The correct size is 225/60R16. --

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