Subaru vehicles are known for reliability and long life, but their design can wear out tires faster than other cars.
Subaru cars, SUVs, and wagons have an average tire life of 30,000 to 50,000 miles, but their all-wheel-drive system can wear out tires faster. About 40,000 miles is average, and performance vehicles like the WRX STI can wear out tires much faster.
In this article, we’ll cover the average life expectancy of several popular Subaru models equipped with stock tires. Additionally, we’ll cover the tire lifespan of performance models, as well as a few simple ways to extend the life of your tires.
We sourced the information used in this article from Subaru, Subaru dealerships, and the online community. We calculated the average tire life based on the reports of Subaru owners online.
What Kind of Tires do Subaru Vehicles Use?
All-terrain, or A/T tires, are the most common type used on Subaru vehicles. This is because Subarus are designed for both on and off-road use, with a few notable exceptions. Some modified Subaru vehicles use large off-road tires, often accompanied by a mild lift kit.
Performance Subaru vehicles, like the famous WRX STI, are never found with beefy off-road tires. These cars are built for the road—not dirt—and thus typically use wider and grippier road tires. Most performance Subaru vehicles come with summer tires of all-season (A/S) tires.
Do Subaru Tires Last Longer?
No, Subaru tires actually wear out faster than other vehicles. But why, and does it have anything to do with the tires themselves? There’s a little bit of involvement from both the tires and the car.
Given that Subarus are more likely than, say, Honda Accords to use off-road tires, there’s a greater chance they’ll wear out faster. This is because off-road tires use softer rubber and thus grind down more rapidly than highway tires.
Additionally, Subaru vehicles are all-wheel-drive, whereas most comparable sedans and wagons are only two-wheel-drive. Wheels that receive power from the engine wear out faster, as they’re subjected to more force than the non-powered wheels.
How Long do Tires on Subaru Vehicles Last?
Despite their tendency to wear out tires faster, Subaru vehicles have similar tire lifespans to other lightweight cars. But the average life expectancy of Subaru tires depends based on tire type and the car model.
Here are the average tire life expectancies of common Subaru vehicles.
Subaru Outback Tire Lifespan
Subaru dealerships usually recommend replacing the tires on a standard Subaru Outback every two to four years or after 30,000 to 50,000 miles. The mileage range is about what you’d expect on any other car, though there’s a decent chance you’ll wear them out a bit faster.
Subaru owners report getting between 30,000 and 40,000 miles out of their stock tires, which is less than other vehicles. Still, the replacement interval in practice isn’t horrendous.
Subaru Forester Tire Lifespan
Dealerships recommend replacing your Subaru Forester’s tires every 30,000 to 50,000 miles, which is the same interval as the Outback. However, owners report a very different story—especially if they drive aggressively or in areas with tough winter weather.
Subaru owners online report that their Forester tires wear out between 20,000 and 35,000 miles on average, with the majority getting about 30,000 miles before the tread gets too slick for comfort. Drivers who spend most of their time in temperate climates have better results.
Subaru Sedan Tire Lifespan
Smaller Subaru vehicles like the Impreza have better luck with tire life, most likely due to the lighter weight of the vehicle and reduced engine power. These vehicles are rarely driven in conditions that wear out tires quickly, like gravel and dirt.
Owners report an average tire life of around 40,000 miles, with some outliers on either end. That means a tire replacement interval of about four years on average or every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, depending on the tire. Dealerships still recommend replacing your tires before 50,000 miles in most cases.
Subaru Performance Vehicles
High-performance Subaru models are the fastest tire eaters in the lineup, and they can destroy tires in record time. This has a lot to do with the cars themselves, which require high-traction tires that wear out faster as it is.
But drivers also contribute to tire wear. Activities like burnouts and donuts are an excellent way to wear out tires fast, especially on all-wheel-drive vehicles with tons of power.
Some performance Subaru owners are shocked by how fast their tires wear out. Factory tires have been known to wear slick in 10,000 to 15,000 miles, albeit with plenty of help from the driver.
Luckily, most performance Subaru owners get much more life out of their tires, with some achieving 30,000 miles or more from the stock set. The tire life will be decreased if the front tires are different from the rear, as you can’t rotate them all the way around the vehicle.
Subaru Factory Tires vs. Aftermarket Tires
Subaru isn’t known for using the best tires on its cars from the factory. They aren’t bad tires per se—but they aren’t premium either. You’re likely to find low or mid-level highway tires on factory models, which are safe and efficient but not as long-lasting as others.
Aftermarket tires, especially winter tires, can last much longer. Additionally, stronger rubber compounds found in premium all-season tires can extend your replacement intervals by 10,000 miles or more. It’s especially important to use quality tires on all-wheel-drive vehicles.
How to Choose Long-Lasting Tires for Subaru Vehicles
If you’re disappointed by the life of your factory tires, there are plenty of longer-lasting options to choose from. But it all starts with choosing the right kind of tire for your vehicle.
All-season tires are known to last longer than all-terrain or off-road tires. All-season tires are one of the most popular types on the market, so there are many more options available.
The best all-season tires usually have 60,000+ mile warranties, which is one way to tell how long the manufacturer expects them to last.
Winter tires are also known to last longer than summer tires, with the exception of studded tires. A good set of premium winter tires should last well over 40,000 miles thanks to higher-quality rubber compounds and deeper tread.
Some companies advertise tires specifically for extended life on all-wheel-drive and performance vehicles. Owners of high-horsepower Subaru models can purchase these for extended life.
Additionally, summer tires designed for high temperatures can reduce replacement intervals in hot and humid environments.
Longest Lasting Subaru Tires
The longest-lasting tires you can put on a Subaru are all-season tires made by premium brands like Pirelli and Michelin. Long-wear tires, which are useful on all-wheel-drive vehicles, are typically A/S but also available as summer tires or winter tires.
Off-road tires are not ideal if you’re looking for long tire life. Sure, they have deeper tread, but also softer rubber which wears down faster on the highway. Additionally, driving off-road is hard on tires and contributes to faster wear and shorter maintenance intervals.
How to Make Your Subaru Tires Last Longer
There are also a few driving habits that can extend the life of your tires. Remember to accelerate gently to avoid putting too much strain on your tires.
If tire life is your primary concern, avoid spinning the tires on dry pavement, which can be difficult if you have a manual transmission. Ease out the clutch slowly—not abruptly—and don’t dump it when shifting or downshifting.
Also, avoid abrupt stops as much as possible. This will extend the life of your brakes too, and keep your wheels from locking up and activating ABS. Also, rotate your tires frequently.
Subaru Tire Maintenance Intervals
Subaru recommends rotating your tires every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. This should be sufficient, but frequent drivers and those with performance cars may want to be more proactive with their tire maintenance. A rotation interval between 3,000 and 5,000 miles can help keep tire wear even, especially on all-wheel-drive vehicles.
Tires should be balanced every 3,000 to 6,000 miles to ensure a smooth ride and even wear. Get your tires balanced every time you have them rotated. This will save time and money in the long run and keep your ride even and vibration-free. A proper alignment is also key and should be performed regularly.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding