Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages for Your Subaru Outback

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.



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. --
Saturday, August 22, 2015 by Phil Brown

2015 Subaru Outback, brand new. 225/60 R18 tires on it. Live in hilly Colorado country (Boulder) with a steep driveway. I came to you looking for possibly steel or alloy wheels, and winter tires. What do you recommend? I hope for same circumference!
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 by Tire Rack Team

Phil, Steel wheels would be appropriate for a winter package and are available in 17" for this car. We would suggest pairing this wheel with a 225/65R17 snow tire. --
Sunday, September 27, 2015 by Rod

Looking for advice: We just bought a 2012 Subaru Outback Limited. It has 17" wheels on it. We still have our old 16" winter rims from our 2012 Subaru Forester Premium. I'm guessing the lug pattern will be just fine, but the clearance is my concern. And the Subaru dealer parts guy strongly recommended I stick with 17" in the Outback. Do you have an informed opinion about this dilemma?
Tuesday, November 24, 2015 by Charlie

2011 Subaru Outback 3.6r with 225/60r17 tires. I have a new set of 225/65r17 snow tires I'd like to use this winter, will they work and be safe?
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 by Tire Rack Team

Charlie, The 225/65R17 is going to be roughly an inch taller than your original equipment tires and larger than anything we can guarantee would fit without rubbing.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 by Jim Neilsen

Looking for aggressive winter tires on steel rims for my 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited. Currently the vehicle has low profile 18 inch tires. What is your suggestion.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 by Tire Rack Team

Jim, We would recommend minus sizing to a 17" wheel and tire. We currently have the steel wheels in stock at $70.00 each. To go along with the steel wheels, the most aggressive winter traction is going to come from the 225/65R17 Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2:
Monday, December 28, 2015 by Fred

Have 2016 Subaru Outback w/ 225/60R 18's. Want to recommend a very good snow tire and possible rim package. New England....
Monday, December 28, 2015 by Tire Rack Team

Fred, For your particular vehicle, we would recommend a wheel and tire package in a minus size (17" wheels with 225/65R17 tires. A size that properly maintains your current overall tire diameter). The best tire for the worst conditions would be the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2:

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 by Noel

Hello such great info, could you tell me which steel rim and tire pkg would be best: 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i limited - Live in Conn.
Thx for info! Noel
Wednesday, December 30, 2015 by Tire Rack Team

Noel, We recommend minus sizing to a 16" steel wheel:

If you are looking for the best tire for the worst conditions, take a look at the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 in 215/70R16:

Alternatively, you could take a look at the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 in 225/65R16 which will provide nearly as good snow and ice traction as the Bridgestone, but with better dry road handling:
Sunday, January 3, 2016 by Tim Murray

I have a Subaru Outback 2015 with standard 225/60/R18 original tires and rims. I am planning on several months of use off paved roads such as gravel and logging road (desert SW and Rocky Mountain states). I would like to have a full sized spare as well. What tires and rims would you recommend to replace my current highway commuting tires/rims? Thanks
Monday, January 4, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Tim, We would recommend minus size to a 17" wheel and tire, which will provide a better ride quality on rough service, as well as protection from damaging the wheels with the additional sidewall. As far as wheels are concerned, there are plenty of options. Check out something like the Anzio Light, a nice, strong, lightweight wheel:

For tires, take a look at the Firestone Destination AT in 235/65R17:
Thursday, July 28, 2016 by Dan

I am looking at purchasing a 2008 Outback Limited, but the tires that are on it are not great. I have an almost new set of Continental PureContact tires from my 2000 Outback Base model, would I be able to either swap the tires onto the new wheels or just use the tires and wheels from my old outback on the '08? Thanks!
Monday, August 1, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Dan, The tire size is fine for the 2008 model. The wheels should work as well, but is dependent on offset.
Monday, September 5, 2016 by Feras

I just bought a used 2013 Subaru Outback, 2.5 Limited. I would like to buy winter tires for the MA winters we experience. I'd prefer to down-size to have a cheaper set of wheels and tires to put on and off. I just want to confirm the appropriate size for my car. It currently has OEM all-seasons (original on the car).

In the thread, I see two different sizes recommended:
---215/70R16 [is this only for 2015?]

Can you please confirm which of these two I should buy, and an appropriate wheel? Is it 16x6.5?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 by Lori

I have a 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited. I'm looking at the Blizzak WS80 snow tires. I've had Blizzaks before and nothing else can compare against a northern Michigan winter. I was told to get the 215/70 16 tires. What would be a good wheel option/size? (I don't like the back wheels by the way.)
Thursday, September 8, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Feras, Although either size will work, the narrower 215 will work better in deep snow. 16x6.5 or 7 will work fine. Please call Sonny at 888-428-8355 ext. 4789 to discuss in depth if you would like.
Thursday, September 8, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Lori, 16x6.5 or 7 would work well. As for specific wheel recommendations, please call Sonny at 888-428-8355 ext. 4789 to discuss further.
Thursday, November 3, 2016 by Eric

With a 2016 2.5i Outback, would either a 215/70/16 or a 225/65/17 work? I understand the narrower track for deeper snow. Thanks in advance for your suggestion!
Monday, November 7, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Eric, The 225/65R17 will work just fine. The 215/70R16 would be a little shorter than we can recommend.
Thursday, December 22, 2016 by mark

I ave been given a set of Blizzak tires sized 205/55/R16 will need to buy steel rims for these. are they to small or not beefy enough load wise for a 2014 2.5i subaru outback wagon? we carry a lot of ski gear and people in the winter. Thank you for any advice.
Saturday, October 28, 2017 by Rhonda

I have a 2018 Outback 3.6R Limited with Eyesight. It came with 18”wheels and 225/60HR/18 tires. I am unsure how to size down for winter driving (in Sierras/over Donner Pass). Suggestions?
Wednesday, November 1, 2017 by Tire Rack Team


You could go with a 225/65R17 on a 17 inch wheel for a downsized winter package. Check with your current local requirements, but four wheel drive with winter tires is what I see as a requirement in winter conditions or run chains:
Friday, November 3, 2017 by Kelly

I have a 2014 Subaru Legacy Limited with 215/50/17 tires. Looking to put on 16 inch wheels and snow tires. Is there any issues with brake clearance doing this? Is the step down size recommended a 205/60/16?
Monday, November 27, 2017 by Mike

2011 outback 3.6R. I'm looking at purchasing a set of Blizzak ws60 225/60/17 slightly used. The wheels are 5x100 but we don't know the offset. Are the ws60s a good purchase? And is there much chance of issues with offset and or bore?
Monday, November 27, 2017 by Tire Rack Team

Mike: The WS60s should be a good purchase if they still look relatively new. There could always be an issue with offset and centerbore if the wheels were for a different vehicle.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 by Samantha

Hey y'all, would a 205/55 R16 work on a 2006 outback XT? I realize they may be a bit small, but will they work for a winter?
Wednesday, December 6, 2017 by Tire Rack Team

Samantha: The 205/55R16 is almost two inches short on the vehicle and therefore not recommended. You could use a 205/65R16. Click here to see current options:
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 by Brudenrijden

If I have the TPS system put on the wheels and tires mounted, can I just put the tires on the car or does the TPS system need to be calibrated or something?
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 by Tire Rack Team

Brudenrijden, if you have a Subaru, you will need to have the sensors 'trained in' or programmed to your car at a shop that has the tool. We would still mount and balance the tire with the sensors inside they just won't work until this procedure is done.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 by Eugene A. Silva

I have a new 2018 Outback 3.6R Limited that came with 18" alloy wheels. I'd like to know what the ideal winter tire/wheel size combination would be for this vehicle? I prefer the Blizzak WS80 winter tires.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 by Tire Rack Team

Eugene A. Silva, we recommend the 17-inch wheel with 225/65R17 for your Outback.

Follow the link to see the preferred package and other wheel options:

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