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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, I want to upgrade my stock rims and tires, and I found out that I have 17 x 7 inch wheels with a 5x100 bolt pattern (2009 wrx 5 door). Will my car which came stock with 17 inch rims accept 18 or 19 inch rims also, or do I need to stick with 17s? I really don't know what companies or websites or stores to shop at or what names are known for quality parts and am just looking for any advice. In the end I will be willing to drop a couple thousand to spend on rims and tires. I realize BBS makes good stuff as a lot of people put their rims on their WRX's and STI's, who else make good rims? Is it best to order online or look at local shops? (I'm near portland btw). Also, I have a set of winter tires already, so should I get summer tires or could I use all season tires? Because I really only like to throw on my winter tires when it gets really snowy.

And last question, when buying tires to match with wheels, are they usually a "one size fits many" sort of deal, or are tires specific to the exact wheel size? If I get some wheels from the internet or somewhere, could I then just go out to les schwab and pick up some tires, or is it worth it to shop for special tires somewhere else?

Any info is highly appreciated! Thanks for your time
 

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A great place to start looking is Tire Rack - Your performance experts for tires and wheels. They have a great fitment guide that even allows you to see how certain wheels will look on your vehicle. I'd give them a shot.

Next thing you could do, to decide on diameter, width, and offest is to search the forums to see what others with your year have been successful at getting to fit without issue. There may even be people with the wheels you may be looking at. As for tire sizing, it definitely is a one size fits many kind of thing. There are well matched sizes for certain wheel widths, and of course sizes that absolutely won't work as well.

Tirerack is a good place to start, but I think the forums will be your best friend throughout the process. Search here and NASIOC for best results.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply! Would you suggest utilizing forums only to see how different stuff has worked on subarus, or to actually get down to buying?

And I'm sure this is a super novice question, but what is offset and how does it relate to what I'm looking to do?
 

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Well, offset is basically the distance between the center of the wheel (width wise) and the hub mating surface of it. It can affect handling as well as actual fitment of the wheel on your car (too much either way can cause rubbing). http://www.tirerack.com/wheels/tech/techpage.jsp?techid=101

Forums are a great way to see what other people have done and to get an idea of what you CAN do with your car as far as shopping for wheels. I'd HIGHLY recommend checking out tirerack though, like I said their fitment guide is quite nice for people with limited knowledge who are shopping for wheels.
 

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Yes, you can run 18" or even 19". The question is why would you want to as you will just end up with a heavy wheel and a very thin looking tire.

Tire Rack is a great suggestion. Shop by vehicle and sort the options by weight. Find the lightest one that suits your tastes and that you can afford. 17x8 is a good size. Getting heavy wheels (and tires) affects performance of the suspension (unsprung weight) and acceleration (rotating weight). Unlike previous models, your stock wheels are what I would call heavy already.

2008-2010 WRX
Size: 17x7"
Offset: +53
Bolt pattern: 5x100
Wheel Weight: 23.2
OEM-equipped tire size: 205/50R17 (2008), 225/45R17 (2009-10)

You do need the offset to be close or it can make all kinds of issues. High 40's (e.g. +48) is common.

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Off the top of your head, do you have any manufacturers that should be avoided and any that are particularly good?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the info "mycologist". I'll be sure to get some lightweight 17's. At what point does the offset come into play? Like when I'm having the wheels put on my car do they adjust the offset to the magic number, or do I need to factor in offset as I shop around?

And how important are TPMS sensors? I remember when I bought my snow tires at les schwab they tried to charge me like 400 bucks for them which I quickly refused. Seeing as how they are only on 5 months of the year lol. If I buy new wheels I probably need them, huh?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My bad I figured out the offset question, I didn't completely understand it at first.
 

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Do you get annoyed at little lights on your dashboard? That's the only big deal I could see. Other than that, they aren't necessary.

One thing you might want to look into is I thought I've heard some areas/states/municipalities require TPMS to be activated and accurate (or at least no light on the dash) for successful inspection. Other than that, I'd never pay that money to get those things put in.

Many times, the cheaper a wheel, the heavier it will be, it will be over lower quality, etc. Usually with wheels, as in many car parts...you get what you pay for. Good brands are abundant...Tire Rack can help you figure that out. Many go for Volks, Rotas, BBS, Enkei, etc.
 
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