PSA: Winter tires, steel wheels, vibration and how to fix it. - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation PSA: Winter tires, steel wheels, vibration and how to fix it.

I recently purchased a 2017 Forester 2.5 Touring and installed a winter wheel and tire package on the vehicle. Let me help you save some time and frustration that I experienced so you don't have to go through the same ordeal that I went through. This took multiple trips to the tire shop to get right. I have used these guys for the last 10 years and have had no issues whatsoever, but I was swapping winter tires on OEM wheels and not using aftermarket wheels.

The entire vehicle was vibrating at highway speed (70mph and up)

Here is the setup
  • Nokian Hakkapaleta R2 225/17/60
  • Pacer 83B steel wheels 5x100 17

I went with 17 tires and steel wheels because of Chicagoland winters and notorious potholes. Plus the wheels are going to get beat up by all of the salt and steel wheels are less expensive to repair than aluminum. I also didn't want to spend a lot of money.

The shop I go to uses a road force balancer and they did rebalance and move one tire on the wheel one visit. They also tried different lug nuts that fit better on the steel rim than the OEM ones. Finally after much research I asked about a hub centric ring? A 56.1mm to 72mm poly carbonate ring was installed and seem to eliminate 95% of the vibration. Winter tires are not going to have the same ride comfort as an all season or summer tire. I've drive Nokian WRG3 all year on my other cars, but that is an all weather tire and not a full winter tire. Those tires are very good but they do not offer the same traction as a full winter tire setup. With a Subaru, the WRG3's are probably good enough but I have the OEM wheels to run a summer set so I figured I would go with a no compromise setup this time around.

The take away is that, if you are running aftermarket wheels that are "lug centric," you must run a hub centric ring to make sure the wheel is as centered as possible. Otherwise you will get vibration at highway speeds.

Finally, the Subaru all wheel drive with Nokian Hakka R2's is the most sure fitted setup I've ever driven in winter. I highly recommend these tires.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by bradv View Post
The take away is that, if you are running aftermarket wheels that are "lug centric," you must run a hub centric ring to make sure the wheel is as centered as possible. Otherwise you will get vibration at highway speeds.
.
I am surprised your tire shop didn't know that.

When I got aftermarket wheels, my local @Discount Tire made sure I got the appropriate diameter hub rings.

For other people going through this, make sure they use plastic rings and not metal rings if you live in a rust-prone area. Only advantage of metal rings is for racing applications where there will be high heat generated from hard braking.


Lifted 2014 XT Touring Ice Silver


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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They were concerned about using a ring in a steel wheel application as the aluminum wheels have of a ledge inside the wheel for the spacer to seat into. The steel wheels don't have this lip inside the wheel. But yes, I hear you... They should have known. I guess they don't sell a lot of steel wheels for Subarus. The plastic ring fit tight, but once torqued down it was a solid fit with no play.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradv View Post
I recently purchased a 2017 Forester 2.5 Touring and installed a winter wheel and tire package on the vehicle. Let me help you save some time and frustration that I experienced so you don't have to go through the same ordeal that I went through. This took multiple trips to the tire shop to get right. I have used these guys for the last 10 years and have had no issues whatsoever, but I was swapping winter tires on OEM wheels and not using aftermarket wheels.

The entire vehicle was vibrating at highway speed (70mph and up)

Here is the setup
  • Nokian Hakkapaleta R2 225/17/60
  • Pacer 83B steel wheels 5x100 17

I went with 17 tires and steel wheels because of Chicagoland winters and notorious potholes. Plus the wheels are going to get beat up by all of the salt and steel wheels are less expensive to repair than aluminum. I also didn't want to spend a lot of money.

The shop I go to uses a road force balancer and they did rebalance and move one tire on the wheel one visit. They also tried different lug nuts that fit better on the steel rim than the OEM ones. Finally after much research I asked about a hub centric ring? A 56.1mm to 72mm poly carbonate ring was installed and seem to eliminate 95% of the vibration. Winter tires are not going to have the same ride comfort as an all season or summer tire. I've drive Nokian WRG3 all year on my other cars, but that is an all weather tire and not a full winter tire. Those tires are very good but they do not offer the same traction as a full winter tire setup. With a Subaru, the WRG3's are probably good enough but I have the OEM wheels to run a summer set so I figured I would go with a no compromise setup this time around.

The take away is that, if you are running aftermarket wheels that are "lug centric," you must run a hub centric ring to make sure the wheel is as centered as possible. Otherwise you will get vibration at highway speeds.

Finally, the Subaru all wheel drive with Nokian Hakka R2's is the most sure fitted setup I've ever driven in winter. I highly recommend these tires.
They put the wrong rims on your car.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 02:20 PM
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My steelies from Tire Rack don't have those rings.


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DockingPilot View Post
My steelies from Tire Rack don't have those rings.


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That's because tirerack.com sells you the correct rims which is where I got my aluminum mag rims for $96 each.
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