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I have a 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i and I need new tires. My current tires are P225/55R17 95H. Searching around, I found some Yokohama Avid Ascend tires, which look to be great touring tires, especially in the winter - but they are only T-rated (118mph) as opposed to my current H-rated (130mph). The dealer is very wary of installing because he would be going below the current rating. I am not a crazy driver - I might get the car up to 75 on the freeway. Is there really any concern here about moving to a T-rated tire?

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Are the new tyres of the same load rating (the 95 before the H) as the recommended ones?

The primary issue with using a lower than recommended speed rating is legality, particularly relating to insurance. Obviously this will vary according to which country/state/jurisdiction you are in, for example in the UK you must declare this to your insurance company (as they consider it a modification from standard specification), and failing to do so would invalidate any insurance policy and leave you open to prosecution for driving without insurance.

  • Yes, the Avid Ascends are 95T. I will check with my insurance - sounds like a good idea. – Conrad May 18 '15 at 15:00
  • Just spoke to my auto insurance rep and she says there's nothing that would be invalidated if I put lower speed-rated tires on. – Conrad May 18 '15 at 15:08
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    T rated tires are good to 118mph ... if you don't plan on exceeding that, you should be golden. Load rating is important as Nick explains. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 May 18 '15 at 18:30
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Do not go under the LOAD RATING. Use the manufacturer's recommended load rating as a minimum, and do not go under that minimum. In some cases, you will "feel" the car ride differently, and it can even begin to handle dangerously (wallowing in turns, back-end kick-out, etc). This can increase risk of spinout a high speeds, as well as increasing rollover risk.

Speed rating does not matter so much - but load rating is crucial. Often - they are paired, so that picking a lower speed rating puts you at a lower load rating also.

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