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Old 12-04-2022, 12:33 PM   #1
Poldark
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Default 4WD Impreza & Blizzaks all four corners

New to 4WD with this 2017 Impreza I bought a month back. Been driving various FWD vehicles since ~ 1970 (there was a '65 MINI Cooper 1275-S for a couple years earlier, my first FWD!) and have well learned that driving in Midwest snow really benefits from having Blizzaks on all four corners.

With FWD they don't wear evenly front-to-back and the RoT I followed was put the best pair on the back until a set needed replacement then the new'uns went on the back.

So I have a pair each of 195/55x16 WS-80's and WS-90's mounted on 16x6.5" steel wheels now. Does it matter where the best pair go with 4WD? Or should the best treaded pair go to the back? The '80's are older but still have 1/8+" tread before wear tell-tales begin to show. The Blizzaks are used from mid-Nov until maybe late March where I am, maybe 2,500 miles total per snow season's use.
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Old 12-04-2022, 05:32 PM   #2
lefty o
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with AWD, they should all be pretty close to identical.
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Old 12-04-2022, 06:47 PM   #3
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with AWD, they should all be pretty close to identical.
In a Perfect World I'd agree 100%. Thanks for your reply.

The WS-80's date to 1/17, have 5/32" tread remaining before the widest, deepest tread wear indicators touch pavement. The WS-90's date to 12/20, measure to 1/4".

When I drove a LOT more I'd replace Blizzaks with 1/8" tread left. Most of the hydrophilic tread layer's gone by then yet they'll still perform predictably in snow and slush a bit longer. By that time, on dry pavement the WS-60's & 70's could be noisy.

(If our esteemed IRS sees fit to get me my 2021 tax refund before I file my 2022 return I might just pop for a set of 4 new'uns.)
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Old 12-04-2022, 07:28 PM   #4
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its not the tires that are the concern, its the drivetrain!!!
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Old 12-04-2022, 07:59 PM   #5
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its not the tires that are the concern, its the drivetrain!!!
OK I admit to being new to 4WD. (Thanks for not capitalizing <drivetrain> there....)

Not so new to traction control, standard equipment on everything I've driven since about 2000.

Can you perhaps provide some details as to how this 4WD drivetrain might be affected by tires not being 100% equal in tread wear between front / back?

After all it's the tires that provide what traction is possible between the road surface and the vehicles we drive. I can wrap my head around tires not 100% equivalent in wear on all four corners may not present exactly optimum conditions, but if said tires are safe to use in and of themselves (not worn bald) how might a Subaru's 4WD drivetrain be compromised by a moderate degree of uneven tread wear?
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Old 12-05-2022, 12:52 AM   #6
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if the tires on the front and rear axles are different diameter, that means the axles are trying to turn at a different speed, and the front diff is part of the transmission. when all the little spinning things in the transmission are not turning at the speed they should be due to different tire diameters, bad things can happen inside the transmission. in an AWD vehicle the tires on all 4 corners need to be the same diameter. on a 2wd vehicle you can run whatever mismatch you want with zero worries, not so with AWD.
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Old 12-05-2022, 09:07 AM   #7
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OK thanks for taking time to write that in answer to my query.
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Old 12-05-2022, 07:02 PM   #8
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Read manual. Some AWD systems are more forgiving than others. Subaru are usually the “less” forgiving ones.
Google “center differential” and “funny noise”.
But it pertains to manuals AFAIK.
Automatics have different AWD system - more forgiving.

Krzy***347;
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Old 12-05-2022, 09:56 PM   #9
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OK you guys win.

Mine's a manual Impreza, got 82,000 miles on it. No point skimping on tires when the costs to repair unnecessary wear & tear to drivetrain can be avoided by buying a new set of four tires to run in the winter months.

I can use the 195/55 R16's on my wife's '06 Cabrio MINI S, she already has a set of four Blizzaks for winter that are the exact same sise as what I'd been running on my 2013 Clubman, thought I could get away with on this Impreza.

Taking TireRack's recommendation I have a set of four Blizzak WS-90's in 195/60 R16 incoming later this week I'll get mounted on the steel wheels I bought from them a couple of weeks ago.

Turns out the 195/60's are significantly less $$ than the 195/55's as well so there's that to the (+) side of the equation.

Never too old to learn something new. Every day holds lessons for an open mind.
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