im looking at putting 195/50 r 16 on it but in dont know if they will bolt straight on or if it will affect the 4wd in my suby as it will tilt the car forward

Asked by Jan 30, 2016 at 09:08 PM about the 1996 Subaru Legacy 4 Dr L AWD Wagon

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

iv got a 1996 lx legacy wagon on 185/70/ r14, 2.2.l engine
non turbo

3 Answers


Tires must be the same size front and back or you will damage the AWD system. Tires don't have a bolt pattern so I can't answer that question.


The alloy upgrade for the '95-'99 Leg Wags was to a nice 195/60VR15, which was a little shorter, requiring replacement of all 4, as FoR reminds you. Pushing to 16" alloys on this old 2.2H motor seems silly, as you don't have the power to get any advantage in the twisties...and pothole comfort will dive. Handling might actually seem a bit "slower" if the wheels are heavy 16's too. Nonetheless there shouldn't be any clearance problems with the 195/50-16, as they're about the same height. But to get a bit more comfort...and a bit of ground clearance, I'd probably use 205/ go-to tire back then for optimizing the 2.2 Legs. The 16 and 17" alloys work far better with the much gutsier 2.5i of the 2000-2009 era. You might save your money for nicer (but still cheap) KYB shocks when you wear out the old Tokicos. Fatter rear swaybar will feel better than too-tall wheels too. So be careful to not have "big eyes" for all that aluminum. As another example most modern Miatas look best on 17" alloys, but many guys who race 'em prefer the 16's...but not me!


But again: do NOT just mount one pair at a time and test-drive the car, for example, as you may stress the tranny. VERY SMALL differences of rolling radii (or diameter, or circumference...whatever you want to measure) are allowed, but ONLY if the TALLER setup is in the front, and is only a couple percent taller. (This is because the Subie is weighted about 63F/37R, so the front tires are squashed down a bit. Hence, also, NEVER mount NEW tires of a matched set on the REAR, as you're working AWAY from rolling equality.) If in doubt, roll one each over to a wall and measure, or carefully measure circumference with a string. The taller pair goes on the front...always.

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