I have a question about tires.

Asked by Guru2KFYN Mar 01, 2020 at 08:42 PM about the 2017 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium AWD

Question type: General

Thinking of having a set of Michelin Crossclimate Suv tires installed on my
subaru outback. Would welcome any comments from a subaru outback owner
that had or has these tires on their car. GOOD-BAD

5 Answers


I've never been a fan of unidirectional tires predominantly because they can't be reversed once scalloping starts in the rears. You're forced to just rotate front-to-back, which often cannot reverse the effects of unidirectional motion. So you end up with a much shorter lifespan as they get very loud and choppy, and usually intolerable, despite having a majority of tread still remaining. Been there, done that, dozens of times. Stick with a non- directional design, whether asymmetric (because you can easily still rotate side-to-side) or asymmetric. As such there are a lot of mid-priced choices that are less expensive than mid-level Michelins. General Altimax are a ubiquitous solid choice, as well Bridgestone- made Firestones et al. Be sure to NOT mount S-rated touring tires...or even most T-rated cheaper tires...in your OE 225/65R17 size as you'll continue to have compromised road feel and handling performance. Now listen up: there are TWO major upgrades you can perform that will accomplish very significant handling and body control improvements: 1. Drop to the 225/60R17 previous gen (2010-2014)_OB size to obtain much better steering, without ride compromise. My favorite budget choice here is the OHTU (parent of Falken) FP0612. Fabulous ALl-Season asymmetrical choice that ridiculously- underpriced. 2. Greatly improve body control, reduce understeer, and simply improve safety and fun in the twisties by replacing the OE skinny (16mm) rear anti-swaybar with Subaru's own 20mm bar, which is sold as the 2015+ STi rear control bar. It's cheap, and installed in well under an hour. Can't possibly affect warranty as it's Subaru's identical part that's simply 50% stiffer. With a 2017 you MAY be able to salvage the endlinks if they're not too rusted on, but they're cheap enough, so I just install a pre-assembled bar with links and new bushings...about $160 + DIY labor! Lastly, note that Euro-Outbacks and Legacy GT Wagons (?!) already use much better low profile tires (50 and 55 profile) to terrific effect, as these owners would never tolerate the handling compromises we have in North America with 65 series tires and a too-tall CoG. (The 65-to-60 drop with 225/60R17 is only about a quarter inch, as the stiffer sidewall compresses less. Most folks can't tell the delta. Don't try using 55 series, though, as the CVT doesn't know what you're doing, and you may end up with a 3-4% odo/speedo miscalibration and a somewhat goofy "raised eyeballs" at the wheel arches look. If you're thinking about grabbing the Limited's 18" OE wheels, note that the nominal 225/60R18 setup handles well enough, and if dropping slightly to 225/55R18 is attempted (which is what I do for my clients), handling WILL improve further, but at a tiny expense of reduced ride comfort. The holy grail is actually at 225/60R17 on a Premium, so do it! (Disclaimer: I sell 2016+ OBs and Legacys in the Boston area.) Best, Ern TSG/B

1 people found this helpful.

Oh brother! I sent you a LONG reply but it didn't get posted. Crap. NO, do NOT buy directional tires for your OB, as you'll never be able to directionally rotate to get full lifespan. This is common knowledge among all good mechanics. As you have a Premium using crappy 225/65R17-size truck tires, now's a great opportunity to improve road feel and cornering in tight twisties by dropping to the better 225/60R17 size (as used in 2020-2014 OBs to better effect). You won't notice the 1/4- 1/2" drop, but you will feel the improved performance. THEN replace the OE wimpy 16mm rear anti-sway bar with Subaru's own inexpensive 20mm 2015+ STi rear bar (and endlinks and bushings: $160 total) to dramatically improve body control and reduce understeer towards neutrality. Incredibly successful mod that I'm now pushing on my favorite Subie stores' serviuce managers as the $299 STi mod special for all 2015-2019 OB owners. Labor is well under an hour, and can be performed yourself with two floor jacks, 12 and 14mm sockets, a light hammer, and a long screwdriver. Just do it! You'll send me dark chocolates in gratitude. Best, Ern TSG/B

1 people found this helpful.

Well, now it DID get posted. Damned digital systems....


...and your subsequent post may not get up?! Having crested 100k you've been more active than I have. After 37 years as Boston's TheSubaruGuru, and scaling back to only 1-2 OBs/mo in semiretirement for repeat clients, I thought that I'd give back more from the comfy confines of my heated home rather than turning as many wrenches. Yet it's frustrating to be answering the same queries repeatedly, as well dealing with poor grammar and invented spelling. What are you driving, Ed? I of course have a few OBs in my menagerie at all times, as well a track-ready Cosworthed Miata NC for summer I'm getting to old to break my body in, and not too impressed with anything new right now. Maybe the next Genesis 70 w/ the new 2.5t may be a sweet spot. Or of course a $$ Tesla Y once Elon figures out how to make two in a row the same....

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