('14-'18) Cannot use donut spare on front wheel - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Cannot use donut spare on front wheel

My eagle-eyed, RTFM spouse found this in my 2015 Forester and her 2016 Subaru Outback User Manuals and it came as a compete surprise to me.

The temporary spare tire MUST be used ONLY on a rear wheel. If a front wheel tire gets punctured, replace the wheel with a rear wheel and install the temporary spare tire in place of the removed rear wheel.

Am I the last Subaru owner to find this out?

If you don't want to wait for roadside assistance, what's the best way to DIY? Carry 2 blocks of wood onto which you could lower the tireless front wheel after you pull the flat time off, then move the jack to the rear jack point, remove that wheel, lower it onto the second block of wood, move the jack to the front again and continue this ridiculous dance until you've got the donut tire on the rear wheel?

You would think that your salesman would mention a change like this, no? Or has this requirement been around for awhile and I just missed it?

Thanks.

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 10:27 AM
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Donut on the back, back on the front, done.

Steering would be ugly with donut on the front.

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Simplicity itself. What a jerk I was to approach it from the point of view of getting the flat tire off first and having to juggle your way around replacing the tires.

BTW, has the necessity to do this always been associated with AWD vehicles? I have never done it myself, but I have seen folks with donut tires on a front wheel.

Thanks.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 10:33 AM
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Sad but true, and don't forget that Murphy's law says you'll be doing it at night, in rain/snow.

Also, my '11 requires a fuse to be inserted in a normally empty spot to defeat the AWD...check yours?

First "mod" I did was to get rid of the donut and replace it with a full size matching tire and alloy wheel, which is now part of a 5-wheel tire rotation.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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On the other Subaru site a fellow replied, regarding how to manage the shifting of tires around:

Donut on the back, back on the front, done.

Steering would be ugly with donut on the front.

If you have the time, could you expand a bit on your comment:

Also, my '11 requires a fuse to be inserted in a normally empty spot to defeat the AWD...check yours?

I'm not entirely clear what you mean.

Thanks.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 10:47 AM
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The 2014+ models with the CVT do not have the FWD fuse.

Previous models required a special fuse to be inserted in the fuse box to disable the AWD system when using the donut spare tire.

As far as I know, Subaru has always recommended putting the spare tire on the rear.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 11:15 AM
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It's common sense. Same will go for any car -- front wheels steer and brake, the donut will not do either nearly as well as the stock-sized rubber on the other side. That is before going into potential issues of frying the diff.

I see people on the freeway with a donut on the front fairly often, and cringe.

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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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I have to confess, I must have been asleep when that memo came out. I'm glad I am now informed.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 11:20 AM
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In that case subaru should include a second jack or a stand to help change a tire. Better yet, why don't they include a full size spare tire like they used to. (My '04 forester has one)


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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 11:22 AM
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Why? You are only replacing one wheel at a time. Good or bad.

Common sense alway wins (or, should).

Full size spare is extra weight, uses more extra interiour room and costs more money. At least they HAVE a spare instead of requiring stupid run-flats.

Stan

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Shocks > struts.
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 11:27 AM
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If the newer models afford the space in the spare tire well, it may not be a bad idea to replace the donut with a full-size spare to eliminate this issue.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 11:35 AM
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Of all the tire failures I've had and have helped others with, 99% have been a nail in the thread and were patched/re-inflated by me using a tire patch kit and portable pump I carry in my car. Rare exceptions are blown out steam, nail in the sidewall (can still be patched temporarily), or tire totally shredded by being driven on after it lost air.

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Shocks > struts.
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 11:42 AM
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using the front sill jacking point lifts both front and rear wheels clear on one side. Not so hard to swap a couple of wheels over then.

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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 12:00 PM
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A few weeks ago I saw a Chevy Malibu driving with a donut on BOTH drivers side tires... front and rear. Don't know where they got 2 donut tires or why they put both on the same side of the car, but I got around them as fast as possible.


For the record, you can get a full size spare to fit in the spare tire compartment. Here is how I did it: https://www.subaruforester.org/vbulle...0/#post3013409

That said, a full size spare may not make sense for many people. I drive in isolated rural areas often going to oil rigs and occasionally offroading for recreation. In those environments, you can't safely use a donut, which is why I got a full size spare.

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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-27-2015, 06:24 PM
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Just to add to what has been said, all manufacturers say to never use the donut spare on the front, it's not a Subaru specific item.

The main reason has already been alluded to, the front wheels do the steering. If you have mismatched steering wheels, turning sharply on a donut is more dangerous as the car is less balanced.

I've driven a vehicle with mismatched steering wheels, it's not fun....
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