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Old 12-05-2005, 09:12 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 102271
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Southern Oregon
2002 WRX Wagon
Rally Blue

Cool Winter Wheel (Size) and Tire Questions

Greetings everyone, I am a new NASIOC Member - recently had the good sense to trade in my 2002 Impreza Outback Sport on a 2002 WRX Wagon....and so far have avoided getting any speeding tickets though it's not easy.

I live in Southern Oregon and, though 90 % of my driving is 3-sasons (we get lots of rain and some freezing rain but not that much snow and ice down in the valley where I live) - I make frequent forays into the mountains to take my sons skiing - in brutal winter weather, TONS of snow, lots of Ice, generally brutal and dangerous conditions. Over the last few years I had a 2nd set of winter studded Tires - was running Nokian Hakkapelita's, mounted on 15" steel wheels, they performed outstandingly in the snow and on ice, but when I got back on pavement, whether dry or wet, they basically sucked. But, after driving them for the last 4-5 seasons, they've finally given up...


First, wheel size: can I still run my old 15" Impreza Steel wheels on my WRX wagon? I've gotten conflicting answers on this - some people say Fine, No Problem - other people say that the WRX has larger brake calipers which mean that you 'have' to run 16" wheels, in the stock sizes? So - which is it?

The practical considerations are - 15" snow tires (both studdable and non-studdable) are, in general, significantly less expensive than those in the stock 16" size (205/55/16).

RELATED Question: IF I can run 15" wheels on my WRX, what size tires might work well? I looked through the Sticky/Threads on Winter Tires in this Forun and see some people are running 195/60/15 - and some are running 205/60/15 - would either of these work (and work well) on my 2K2 Rex?

SECOND Question: IF I decide to go with the 16" stock alloys - in the stock size (205/55/16) - which would be better - buying a relatively expensive 'premium' tire (a lot of people love both the Nokian WR's and the Dunlop Winterforce M3's - but their prices run close to $600 U.S. Dollars for a set of 4 which is a little pricey for my budget right now) - or a cheaper tire, like the Hankooks? (I know this is a subjective question which other people have addressed before - but I'm interested in getting responses...)

THIRD question: can tires like the Nokian WR's and Dunlop Winterforce M3's REALLLY be used as all-year-round 4-season tires? And if so - do they tend to wear (or wear out) a lot quicker than, say, a good 'summer' tire?

FOURTH Question: if I go the inexpensive (cheap) route - and buy a set of Hankooks (which a LOT of people up in Canada seem to love, BTW) - then I'd like to solicit opinions on the differences between the W300 (which looks like Hankook's low-price alternative to the WR) vs the W404 (a studdable tire which looks like Hankook's alternative to the old classic Nokian Hakka tires). Which is really better? Do they both handle well in snow? Most of the local (Southern Oregon) tire dealers I've talked to are woefully ignorant about these tires - or their characteristics. I've heard them badmouthed by some; but the fact that so many Canadian drivers seem to love them must mean something....right?

Thanks for any and all responses!

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Old 12-05-2005, 09:32 PM   #2
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 31190
Join Date: Dec 2002
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Southern Orygun
2002 WRX Sportwagon
Alpine White


Congrats on the upgrade! Are you in Medford or Ashland, or other? You can read my review of the Hankook W300's I just bought on this thread (and there are links to others):


I previously was running the W400's, and am pretty much a Hankook fan now. The Nokian WR's are a nice tire, but expensive (almost twice what the Hankooks cost) and hard to find down here. Ed's only had 3 of them in the size I needed

You should introduce yourself to the Southern Oregon crew on our thread at ClubWRX:
Wade-O is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2005, 09:32 PM   #3
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 14450
Join Date: Jan 2002
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: NH
04 S4
88 BMW 325 iX


Here's one answer:

THIRD question: can tires like the Nokian WR's and Dunlop Winterforce M3's REALLLY be used as all-year-round 4-season tires? And if so - do they tend to wear (or wear out) a lot quicker than, say, a good 'summer' tire?

WRs work fine year round, I wouldn't try it with the M3s unless I had no money for summer tires.
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Old 12-06-2005, 12:54 AM   #4
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 57169
Join Date: Mar 2004
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Maple Valley, WA
2002 WRX (MBP)
07 Tacoma; 96 Impreza LX


Unless you have something like a gravel rally rim, your 15's aren't going to fit over the front brake calipers. Trust me, I ran into this problem last friday at Costco with my WRX. I bought some 15" alloys that were used on a Legacy rally car and mounted Michelin X-Ice tires onto them. Problem was they did not fit over the brakes. My real goal by attempting 15's was to size down for better winter traction and price. I guess I'll be buying 16's and staying with the stock size instead.
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