Do 29 inch wheels fit a 2009-2013 Subaru Forester? 265 70R15

Sadly, no they do not… stock.

The largest wheel that will fit a 2009-2013 Subaru Forester is 28″ in diameter. If you own a 2014 Subaru Forester or newer, well then you are in luck. As rumour has it, your vehicle will fit the 29″ wheels.

This is because 2009-2013 have a pinch weld in the front fender well.

Is it possible to fit 29 inch wheels in 2009-2013 Subaru Forester?

Yes, happy to confirm it is possible. They can be made to fit with simple modifications.

Update, what’s it like driving after 4 months?

I love it. It took a while to sort out the wheel rubbing inside the front wheel well when turning at full lock. That sound really drove me nuts.

Now that it’s quiet, I love it.

Our city got hit with the most snowfall I’ve seen in recent history. My snowbanks were 4 feet high. The large Toyo tires are perfect for these conditions. Many side roads were not plowed and vehicles were getting stuck in the huge amount of snow we’ve had.

With the lift and tires I have 13″ of clearance to the sidewalls and 11.5″ to the rear diff. You’re capable of getting through anything winter throws at you with this setup.

Why I went with 29″ wheels?

The plan for this Subaru is a winter driver to get out to the backcountry service roads for skiing. So I needed all terrain tires that were good in winter. And I needed approximately 12 inches of clearance, to clear the center ridge of snow pack.

Toyo Open Country A/T tires fit the bill perfectly. They are winter rated, well reviewed and the right weight for a Subaru.

I also installed the Flatout suspension lift.

Combined I now how 13″ of clearance to the sidewalls and 11.5″ of clearance to the rear diff.

*If I did not have these requirements I go with a 28″ A/T wheel setup.

What to do?

Step 1: Add a 1.5″ lift. I went with 2.3″

I wrote a post on how I installed that.

Step 2: Trim or roll the front pinch weld. 

This is fairly straightforward. Ideally you will want to keep the pinch weld.

First, remove the rubber wheel well liner.

Then, using a heat gun, heat up the exposed metal pinch weld.

Next, using a 4lb metal hammer, hit the pinch weld until it folds flat. You can also use a grinder to grind relief cuts. Word has it that it makes it easier to fold the welds, without damaging the integrity of the pinch weld.

This is not my picture but used as an example of relief cuts, found on a forum.

Sand the area to remove any rough spots and prep the metal for paint. Then using a wax and grease remover or rubbing alchohol, clean the area thoroughly.

Product I used to clean the pinch welds

And then prime it using a rust inhibitor primer.

Rust inhibitor primer

Next, paint it with a good quality paint. I used a paint for brake callipers. It’s overkill, but better safe than sorry.

Brake caliber paint

Then, once dry apply a silicone seam sealant over the entire area to prevent rocks or other debris from building up or contaminating the area.

Once finished, reinstall the rubber wheel well liner. You will need to trim the area where the rubber used to overlap the pinch weld with a sharp utility knife.

Then using the heat gun, heat up the wheel well liner near the pinch weld and press it flat. Hold it there with leather gloves or a block until it is cold. About 5 minutes.

Now you should have enough room for your wheels with no rubbing. If you notice any rubbing from the front of the wheel well, you may need to heat those areas with the gun and press and hold them to create more space for your wheels.

Since installing them, I’ve had to do a few minor adjustments to the wheel well with a heat gun to eliminate the rubbing on full locked turns. It is taking me a few tweaks to get it right.

And now you can confidently drive with your 29″ wheels on your 2009-2013 Subaru Forester. Have fun.

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