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Old 03-25-2011, 11:58 AM   #1
Mach V Dan
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Default Guide to fitting wheels and tires to the 2011-2014 WRX

The 2011-2014 Subaru WRX has great big bulged out fenders, just like the STI has had since 2008. We've been getting a lot of questions about wheel and tire fitment on these cars, and I've seen a lot here on NASIOC, so I thought I'd address it.

The bigger bodywork allows for the fitment of wider wheels and tires. Wider tires look cool, and more importantly, they can help generate a lot more lateral grip. HOWEVER, a lot of the questions I get are asking about fitments that are either too low of an offset, too wide of a tire, or some combination of the two. Oh, and there's the bolt pattern problem, too.

First off, some basics: The WRX has a bolt pattern of 5x100 and a hub bore of 56.1mm. The stock wheel is a 17x8" +53 offset with a 235/45R17 tire. That tire size means the stock tire has a diameter of 25.3".

That 5x100 bolt pattern means factory STI wheels WILL NOT fit, since the STI uses a 5x114 bolt pattern.

Now, if you want to fit larger/wider wheels and tires, you'll want to try to keep the wheel offset as close as possible to stock. I'd generally try for an offset near the stock +53. +48 is very common. Depending on how wide the wheels and tires are, though, the offset will have to go lower, or the tire may bump into the strut in the front.

From experience, a 9.5" wide wheel will work at around +40 (give or take a couple of mm). The lower offset allows decent tire clearance on the inside. Steering feel is slightly worse from the lower offset, but it's not terrible. A 265/35R18 tire happens to be within 0.1% of the stock size, and that fits pretty well. (You may have to do minor fender rolling at the back if the car is lowered. It depends on the tire...not all 265/35R18 are created equal.)

Here's an example of this fitment:


18x9.5 +38 Rota Option, 265/35R18 Michelin Pilot A/S

The car above is lowered on Epic Engineering springs. We rolled the rear fenders.




18x9.5 +40 Rota D-Force, 265/35R18 Kumho V700

That's our shop car above. Rear fenders rolled, lowered on Cusco coilovers.

If you still want more meat under the car, you can run a 275 width. We've done several cars with 275/35R18. That's a tight squeeze if the car is lowered. Rolling is definitely required in back.




18x9.5 +40 Rota D-Force, 275/35R18 Dunlop Direzza Z-1 Star Spec

The gray car has Swift lowering springs.


Our shop car with Rays G-Games 99B 19x9.5 +40, Cooper 2XS 275/30R19.

We have not yet tried 285/35R18, for a couple of reasons. One is that the tire is 2.1% larger than the stock 2011-2014 WRX tire, slightly over our 2% rule of thumb in terms of variance from stock. The other reason is that since the diameter grows along with the width, the clearance problem will get worse. I think that tire would rub at all four corners with any amount of lowering or suspension compression.

I realize I've used some STI cars as examples above, but the WRX bodywork is identical, so for our purposes these are still useful comparisons.

If you want absolutely NO fitment problems, go with a smaller tire, like a 255/35R18. Given an offset between about +40 to +48, there should be no rubbing, even when mildly lowered. Stock STI tires, which are 245/40R18, are also an easy fit.

I mentioned rolling the rear fenders. Customers often ask me about rolling the fronts. They usually do not need to be rolled, but even if you wanted to there's almost no lip up there to roll, and what lip is there incorporates clips that secure the fender liner to the fender. Get rid of those clips and your fender liner is going to have to go. We suggest retaining your fender liners. They keep road debris and moisture out of your car's inner bodywork.

Note that the bigger tires may rub bit of the rear bumper cover. We trimmed that back on some of the cars with 275/35R18 tires.

I see some people with the widebody cars running lower offsets, sometimes much lower, like +30 or +25. I DO NOT recommend doing this. Sure, it looks kind of cool (if that's your thing), but generally you are going to have to go with a SMALLER tire size to alleviate fender contact problems. What's the point of having big wide wheels if your contact patch is the same as stock? Secondly, as the offset gets lower your wheel centerline is getting farther and farther away from the axis of your steering. The steering feel gets messed up -- to me it feels vague and it tends to want to steer left and right on acceleration or braking, due to the wheel trying to pivot around the steering axis. This effect gets worse with lowering.

So, that's my experiences with stuffing big wheels and tires onto the 2011+ WRX. I hope this provides some help when you are shopping for wheels and tires.

--Dan
Mach V
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Last edited by Mach V Dan; 03-27-2014 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 03-25-2011, 02:11 PM   #2
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Nice write up, and nice shop cars! Seems like 9.5 wide +40 with 265 tires is the way to go. Have you guys stuffed in 285s on anyone's ride yet?

At one point you mention offsets between +48 and +48..... you mean 48 and 40?
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Old 03-26-2011, 08:44 AM   #3
Mach V Dan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDanimalSize View Post
Nice write up, and nice shop cars!
Thanks.

Quote:
Have you guys stuffed in 285s on anyone's ride yet?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mach V Dan
We have not yet tried 285/35R18, for a couple of reasons...
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDanimalSize
At one point you mention offsets between +48 and +48..... you mean 48 and 40?
Yes, fixed.

--Dan
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:26 PM   #4
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Thanks for this thread Dan!

Now let's see if people use it.
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Old 03-26-2011, 02:16 PM   #5
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Nice post! Puts my worries to rest looking for summer wheels at the 18x9.5 size!
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Old 03-28-2011, 03:09 AM   #6
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I want to run 18x10 grids with 255 or 265 Federal 595 RS-R but the 18x10 wheels only come in +30 offset. The car will be on BC BR coils. What you you think of this setup, Dan? Are you avoiding 10" wheels for a reason? I want no rub, minimal to no stretching, and a 2-3 finger gap. Is my setup possible? Or should I settle for a 9.5?

Oh and the RS-Rs run a little wide. A 255 is 260mm wide and a 265 is 271mm wide.

Thanks!
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Old 03-28-2011, 01:55 PM   #7
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Great write up, easy basic breakdown. I hope people use it as well.
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:05 PM   #8
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Default Anybody else running 18x9. +35 g-forces on a 2011 wrx?

Just as the title states. I'm running this set up with 245/40/18 and wanted to ask some people if they are having similar "rubbing" issues as I am on the front end.
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Old 03-28-2011, 05:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyyu
Just as the title states. I'm running this set up with 245/40/18 and wanted to ask some people if they are having similar "rubbing" issues as I am on the front end.
nobody will know if you don't describe what kind of rubbing issues you're experiencing.
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:37 AM   #10
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Thanks for the info!
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhat

nobody will know if you don't describe what kind of rubbing issues you're experiencing.
Well It's not fender rubbing. When I'm reversing and turn the wheel even a little bit it begins to rub. I'm not sure exactly what it is rubbing on though. The car feels a little jerky so I think it is rubbing on something solid. It also rubs like this when I move forward with the wheel turned but only after reversing.
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:02 AM   #12
Mach V Dan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleet Admiral View Post
I want to run 18x10 grids with 255 or 265 Federal 595 RS-R but the 18x10 wheels only come in +30 offset. The car will be on BC BR coils. What you you think of this setup, Dan?
As I mention above, I think +30 is too low.

Quote:
Are you avoiding 10" wheels for a reason?
Because they are too wide for the car. You could run them for the purposes of appearance, but given the tire limits it's not necessary.

Quote:
I want no rub, minimal to no stretching, and a 2-3 finger gap. Is my setup possible?
No. 255 is going to be very stretched on a 10" wheel. Even 265 will be somewhat stretched. The +30 offset is going to run your tires into your fenders.

--Dan
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Old 03-31-2011, 03:50 PM   #13
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Just the thread I needed as I'm thinking of putting 265/35/18's on a set of Ultraleggras 18x9 stock offset with the stock STI SE suspension. I completely want to avoid rolling fenders.
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:41 PM   #14
Mach V Dan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Cravillion View Post
Just the thread I needed as I'm thinking of putting 265/35/18's on a set of Ultraleggras 18x9 stock offset with the stock STI SE suspension. I completely want to avoid rolling fenders.
With stock offset those tires may bump into the strut. Let us know how it goes.

--Dan
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mach V Dan View Post
No. 255 is going to be very stretched on a 10" wheel. Even 265 will be somewhat stretched. The +30 offset is going to run your tires into your fenders.

--Dan
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Depends on the tire used. 255/35 feds and star spec's are pretty square on 10" wheels.
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mach V Dan View Post
With stock offset those tires may bump into the strut. Let us know how it goes.

--Dan
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I've got the 18x9 rims on right now with 245 winters. I've felt around in there and I have more than a fingers thickness in the rear as it sits from tire to strut. We'll see... Also trying to decide on Star Specs or Hankook R-S3's ($200 cheaper).
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:26 PM   #17
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Default 2011 WRX 18x7.5 +38 PF01 Questions



Please forgive my ignorance. Hopefully someone can chime in and set me straight on why this fitment would be a *bad* idea. I really like this wheel but unfortunately the 5x100 fitment options are terribly limited. I can wait around for a group buy on custom sizes, sure - but is it necessary?

I'm not looking for herrafrush, but I don't want my wheels to turtle into the fenders after it is dropped. This seems like a fairly decent compromise with the low offset but narrow dimensions. I have searched a bit and can't seem to find any 2011s with a similar fitment. I would hope to get 245s on there. Even though 255s were my original goal, I just don't see 255s on a 7.5" wheel working to my advantage. Again, please correct me if I am wrong.

My car is not going to be a "track whore", "show car", or any other stereotypical build. I intend to drive it daily, possibly hit the track to see how I like it, but otherwise just a modestly built, reliable daily driver.


CF:

Are these wheels going to suck into the fender since they are so narrow even though the offset is on the lower side?

Am I losing anything other than tire options but going with this wheel?

*Bonus*: If anyone has a picture of a 08+ STI or 2011 WRX with similar fitment, they are most definitely welcome!

Last edited by ksj1831; 03-31-2011 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:31 PM   #18
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Nice to see an intelligent thread about wheel/tire fitments for a change here. I guess i'll keep my STI after all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mach V Dan View Post
Secondly, as the offset gets lower your wheel centerline is getting farther and farther away from the axis of your steering. The steering feel gets messed up -- to me it feels vague and it tends to want to steer left and right on acceleration or braking, due to the wheel trying to pivot around the steering axis. This effect gets worse with lowering.
But the hellaflush guys swear there's no difference in feel or handling!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Cravillion
I've got the 18x9 rims on right now with 245 winters. I've felt around in there and I have more than a fingers thickness in the rear as it sits from tire to strut.
Pretty sure he was talking about strut clearance in the front at stock offset. There's a ton of room in the rear.
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:18 PM   #19
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merged ksj1831's thread with this one

Last edited by nhat; 03-31-2011 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 04furesterXT
But the hellaflush guys swear there's no difference in feel or handling!
only the uninformed do or those that refuse to believe otherwise.
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:01 PM   #21
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And the rest just don't care?
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:20 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 04furesterXT View Post
And the rest just don't care?
i wouldn't go so far as to say they don't care. it's about style and self expression. those that do track days or autox have dedicated setups. sc00by4life is running a crazy setup on his bugeye for daily driving but has a dedicated setup for track days. i can't speak for the others but he understands how all of this works better than most.
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:07 AM   #23
Mach V Dan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksj1831 View Post
2011 WRX 18x7.5 +38 PF01 Questions

Are these wheels going to suck into the fender since they are so narrow even though the offset is on the lower side?
The outside edge of the wheel will be 25.4mm further IN than the outside edge of the 18x9.5 +38 wheel pictured above. (Since the wheel is 2" narrower, the edge will be 1" closer to the inside of the car.)

Quote:
Am I losing anything other than tire options but going with this wheel?
That's a really skinny wheel for even the narrower 245 tire you're talking about. I'd suggest at least an 8" wide wheel. That PF-01 is nice, though.

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Old 04-01-2011, 09:24 AM   #24
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Why would you downgrade in width? Stock 8" > 7.5"? Run at least a 9" wide wheel or there's no reason changing wheels IMO. You can EASILY fit a 18x9.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:48 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleet Admiral View Post
Why would you downgrade in width? Stock 8" > 7.5"? Run at least a 9" wide wheel or there's no reason changing wheels IMO. You can EASILY fit a 18x9.
I tend to agree, which is why I came here to ask for opinions/facts. I am not shooting for the fullest wheel well out there and would really prefer the weight savings of the 17 over the extra inch of wheel diameter when going to 18s, so I am going to be considering 17x8 PF-01s*. Of course I am open to other wheel options but the PF-01 is light, looks good, and undoubtedly a well made wheel. I don't subscribe to the "stretch and poke" idea/taste/notion, so while I would like to get some more rubber under the car, I am not interested in putting the biggest tire possible in there, just to say they are on there. 255s would be ideal but 245s would also do just fine for the functions of my daily driven WRX.


*I'm not overly concerned with weight savings via wheels or any other mod - just using that comparison as a point of reference for my decisions on dimensions as they don't seem to be conventional.

Edit: Thanks for the info Dan! Tell someone at Enkei to start making more 5x100 options, would ya?

Last edited by ksj1831; 04-01-2011 at 10:50 AM. Reason: Dan's the man.
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