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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are taking a long road trip vacation across the country in our 2020 Ascent. In Oklahoma we hit some rough roads with pot holes and it looks like our right front tire is damaged, there is a bump on the sidewall and looking online it sounds like we should not drive on that tire ( even though I was fine for 1400 miles from OK to VA ). we still have another week and roughly 500 miles to go.

I have not looked at the spare but I am assuming it is not rated for highway speeds for 500 miles. From what I have read we were lucky that the tire did not blow so I guess I need to replace the tire while on vacation.

We have 12,000 miles on the car. Should I be fine just replacing the one front tire? I need to do this tomorrow ( Monday) otherwise it affects our itinerary. Will any tire the same size do? I doubt I will find someone with the factory Falken tire in stock.

Any suggestions or recommendations are appreciated. I plan to call my dealer tomorrow to ask about using the spare and get advise on a new tire but I thought I would ask here also.

Thanks
 

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Probably need to change both fronts unless the tire shop you find can shave the new tire down to the same tread depth as the others to match.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, I was afraid of that. I'll ask the dealer and whatever tire store I go to about that. I hate replacing a perfectly good tire but I may not have a choice.
 

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Depending on the tread depth, you may have to replace all four. It is a drawback of owning a Subaru. So either have one shaved down or be prepared to replace all four.
 

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You will probably need to replace all 4 tires because it is an AWD car/SUV. Subaru has a tolerance of how much wear difference there can be between the 4 tires. If I remember right it is about a 1/4” on the circumference. With 12,000 miles on the OEM Faulkins there will be considerable wear. Most likely too much to allow just replacing the one tire. Have the tire store check with a thread depth gauge. Also all 4 tires will need to probably be the same model so they are the same diameter and wear the same. If one or two tires are different sizes then they will rotate at a different speed and damage the AWD system.
 

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It is a drawback of owning a Subaru.
Not a "Subaru" thing...it applies to all AWD and 4WD vehicles. The specific tolerance varies by the manufacturer and model, but as a general rule, all four tires on the road have to be the same diameter within a very narrow margin to avoid drivetrain damage.
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OP, whether you can change just the one tire or not depends on actual tread depth and/or if the tire provider can "shave" the new tire to within that margin if the other tires are worn more than 2/32 or so for a Subaru. It's best to get an identical tire regardless. Subaru dealers in the area you are traveling through would likely have the OEM tires in stock. Other tire vendors may also. stock the same model tire. If there's a Discount Tire in the area you are in (forum sponsor) they are also a good resource to consult. But given the description of the tire damage, you are on borrowed time and it's risky to continue running on it. Your spare is indeed not rated for highway speeds and distance. It's a temporary designed to get you to a tire shop. It technically isn't supposed to be run on the front, either, so it would require juggling a back tire to the front with the spare replacing the back tire position.
 

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Definitely see if @Discount Tire can help you out. They may be able to expedite a shaved pair to one of their stores near you.
 

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Not a "Subaru" thing...it applies to all AWD and 4WD vehicles. The specific tolerance varies by the manufacturer and model, but as a general rule, all four tires on the road have to be the same diameter within a very narrow margin to avoid drivetrain damage.
Subaru is probably less forgiving that some other “awd” vehicles. My wife’s Sorento is “awd” but rarely are the rear wheels getting any power. She could probably get away with changing 2 on the same axle. On my Subaru I’d change all 4
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update: I called the dealer this morning and they confirmed that I should not use the spare tire to drive home. They told me that new tires would have 10/32" tread depth and I should only up to a 2/32" difference in the tires so if my good tires had 8/32" or more tread depth I could replace a single tire.

I found an NTB nearby and they confirmed that my tread depth was less that 7/32" so I needed to get four tires. They had four Michelin Cross Climate 2 A/W which probably would have been my first choice anyway since I usually get Michelin tires so even though it was an unexpected expense, I think it worked out. I was out of there by 10am this morning.

I do still hear a slight rattle somewhere up front when driving slowly over bumps, seems to happen when turning left. I'll have the dealer look into that when we get back from vacation.
 

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Update: I called the dealer this morning and they confirmed that I should not use the spare tire to drive home. They told me that new tires would have 10/32" tread depth and I should only up to a 2/32" difference in the tires so if my good tires had 8/32" or more tread depth I could replace a single tire.

I found an NTB nearby and they confirmed that my tread depth was less that 7/32" so I needed to get four tires. They had four Michelin Cross Climate 2 A/W which probably would have been my first choice anyway since I usually get Michelin tires so even though it was an unexpected expense, I think it worked out. I was out of there by 10am this morning.

I do still hear a slight rattle somewhere up front when driving slowly over bumps, seems to happen when turning left. I'll have the dealer look into that when we get back from vacation.
My guess would be a tie rod. Dont ask me how I know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Is there a way I can tell if I have a tie rod problem? I asked NTB to look for any other issues and they said everything else looked good. I looked when it was on the lift. I don't know what I am looking for but nothing looked broken or seemed loose.

We are do for an oil change when we return. During this trip we noticed the passenger seat cooling fan makes a noise after about 30 minutes so I'll have them look at that and this noise. Hopefully they will cover these under warranty.
 

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also, NTB did an alignment, I don't know if that would have exposed a tie rod end problem or not
Subaru didnt catch it the first time for me. Check your steering wheel. Mine was off about 10 degrees. Also, I had some vibration/shake in the wheel at 45mph.
 

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My Outback had a rattle from almost day one of ownership. Dealership never figured it out and I lived with it until I changed the brakes. The rattle came from up front and all the suspension parts were looked at by either the dealership or myself. When I changed the brakes, I repacked the slider pins. The rattle went away.

What I would suggest is do whatever that causes the rattle with and without the brakes being applied. If it doesn't rattle with brakes applied, I would put the brakes on the list to be inspected.
 

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Despite the disruption to your vacation and the money involved, that's a good outcome and you have some great tires on your Ascent. I hope that the small noise can be diagnosed once you are back home. It may be related to the same thing that damated your tire.
 
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Is there a way I can tell if I have a tie rod problem? I asked NTB to look for any other issues and they said everything else looked good. I looked when it was on the lift. I don't know what I am looking for but nothing looked broken or seemed loose.

We are do for an oil change when we return. During this trip we noticed the passenger seat cooling fan makes a noise after about 30 minutes so I'll have them look at that and this noise. Hopefully they will cover these under warranty.
What Is a Tie Rod on a Car? Signs of a Failing Tie Rod, Repair Costs, & More | Shopping Guides | NADAguides
 

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If NTB did the alignment, then I am sure they would have checked the tie rod ends. Bad tie rods are a money maker for anyone that does alignments.
 
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