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I going to be buying a 2017 crossover vehicle and have narrowed it down to a Subaru Forester or a RAV4 with the Dynamic Torque-Control AWD. As I understand the Subaru system, if I get flat tire I have to buy 4 new tires as they all have to be the same size. However, with Toyota's system it is basically a front wheel drive system until it determines that the AWD is needed and then it kicks in. I only need AWD in the snow and then for just getting up my driveway.

With the Toyota system if I get a flat I only have to buy 2 tires at the most.

Do I have this right? Would like to hear from others who have experience with this system in the snow.

Thanks.
 

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This makes no sense to me. Fixing a flat would not change the size or diameter of the tire so why would you have to replace it?

Now if the tires were worn and you had a blowout requiring replacement, that would change the sizing.
 

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Toyota RAV4 AWD will not kick in automatically! There is a push button to enable AWD.
Uhhhmmm, yes it does. Awd is always on and cannot be shut off.
That button is a 4wd lock button for use if you are stuck etc. And kicks off at 40 Km’s/hr, at which time normal awd mode is re-engaged.
 

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I going to be buying a 2017 crossover vehicle and have narrowed it down to a Subaru Forester or a RAV4 with the Dynamic Torque-Control AWD. As I understand the Subaru system, if I get flat tire I have to buy 4 new tires as they all have to be the same size. However, with Toyota's system it is basically a front wheel drive system until it determines that the AWD is needed and then it kicks in. I only need AWD in the snow and then for just getting up my driveway.

With the Toyota system if I get a flat I only have to buy 2 tires at the most.

Do I have this right? Would like to hear from others who have experience with this system in the snow.

Thanks.
Probably you're worrying about nothing here regarding tires, it certainly shouldn't be a determining factor in your purchase.

Also consider the Rav4 HV, which has an all-electric rear drive, more available power than the gas model and equal or greater reliability. Not to mention better MPG.

Any of these systems will go great in snow given the right tires. Buy the one that meets your needs in every way.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This makes no sense to me. Fixing a flat would not change the size or diameter of the tire so why would you have to replace it?

Now if the tires were worn and you had a blowout requiring replacement, that would change the sizing.
I have to drive 2.5 miles on a dirt/rock road to get to the hwy. Flats on this road are usually ones that cut the tire and render it irreplaceable. Called a tire dealer (Les Schawb) and they won't sell just one tire for a Subaru. They have to sell 4 so the AWD unit doesn't destroy itself. If you bring in the tire/wheel and buy one tire they will do that but without a warranty. But if I put it on it might damage the AWD system. Guess it all comes down to the computer that would get a different signal from the "larger" tire (being new and not worn) and "attempts" to compensate for it. You would think that in 2017 they would have this problem figured out. I just don't want to be buying 3 more tires when I get a flat. Bad enough that most of the time the tire can't be repaired.
 

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I can't answer for current generations but my wife's 2010 got a flat which destroyed the tire (a key, of all things). Costco (best place to buy tires) refused to only replace the flat and opposite side because they said if you didn't replace all 4 you'd scrap the AWD.

I contacted Toyota. They said unequivocally you only had to replace the flat and the tire opposite (unless it was new). So we went to the dealer and got a new identical replacement for the flat and put the full sized spare (which had never been used) on the other side. The old used tire was put in place of the spare.

Never had an issue with the AWD.
 

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Called a tire dealer (Les Schawb) and they won't sell just one tire for a Subaru. They have to sell 4 so the AWD unit doesn't destroy itself. ... You would think that in 2017 they would have this problem figured out. I just don't want to be buying 3 more tires when I get a flat. Bad enough that most of the time the tire can't be repaired.
Apparently not, and IMO a good reason to stay away from Subaru's "superior" AWD system.
I know on my 4.3 the rear drive simply won't engage if the tire diameters are too much difference, 3% I recall. So no drivetrain damage is possible as confirmed by Toyota to Mingy. The 4.4 models continued the same system with more smarts in the 4WD ECM. With the Hybrid there also could be no issue since there is no mechanical link from front to rear.
 

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That's a massively overblown and misunderstood issue. In the event that you would need to replace a single tire it is possible to have that new single tire shaved down to match the others. Tirerack will do it for you as will many tire shops. If that's even ever an issue that comes up during ownership. How often have you had to replace a single tire?
 

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And cheapest option of course would be to try to find a used tire at a similar wear level.

This idea that you need to go out and buy 4 brand new tires is ludicrous.
 

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Toyota RAV4 AWD will not kick in automatically! There is a push button to enable AWD.


They must have forgot to put the button in ours.
Going to call the dealer tomorrow!
 

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I have to drive 2.5 miles on a dirt/rock road to get to the hwy. Flats on this road are usually ones that cut the tire and render it irreplaceable. Called a tire dealer (Les Schawb) and they won't sell just one tire for a Subaru. They have to sell 4 so the AWD unit doesn't destroy itself. If you bring in the tire/wheel and buy one tire they will do that but without a warranty. But if I put it on it might damage the AWD system. Guess it all comes down to the computer that would get a different signal from the "larger" tire (being new and not worn) and "attempts" to compensate for it. You would think that in 2017 they would have this problem figured out. I just don't want to be buying 3 more tires when I get a flat. Bad enough that most of the time the tire can't be repaired.
I wouldn't be too quick to take the word of a tire dealer when they only want to sell more tires. Take Subaru's word for it instead. Ask the dealer.

These systems have tolerances. The front and rear wheels almost never travel at the exact same speed.

Again: forget this "worry" and buy the car that meets your needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I wouldn't be too quick to take the word of a tire dealer when they only want to sell more tires. Take Subaru's word for it instead. Ask the dealer.

These systems have tolerances. The front and rear wheels almost never travel at the exact same speed.

Again: forget this "worry" and buy the car that meets your needs.
I plan to go to the dealers tomorrow (Toyota and Subaru) and ask the techs what the low down is on this issue. Subaru's are used big time here in No. Idaho. You see them everywhere. If this tire issue was such a problem many more owners would be complaining about it and sales would drop.
 

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A good (and I thought smart) friend of mine bought a Subaru a couple years ago because the dealer told him the RAV4s at the sister dealer next door weren't full time 4WD and he likely get stuck in his long driveway. I'd have straightened him out if he asked but he didn't. Now he hates its CVT and wished he'd asked. His other car is a stick shift Porsche. Previous was a Honda S2000.
 

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Apparently not, and IMO a good reason to stay away from Subaru's "superior" AWD system.
I know on my 4.3 the rear drive simply won't engage if the tire diameters are too much difference, 3% I recall. So no drivetrain damage is possible as confirmed by Toyota to Mingy. The 4.4 models continued the same system with more smarts in the 4WD ECM. With the Hybrid there also could be no issue since there is no mechanical link from front to rear.

Thanks for the info, Dr.
Allow me to expand on that.
Let's assume the 3% difference is correct and see what that equates to in the real world.

New 225/65-17" tires have an outer diameter of 28.5".
Let's assume the new tires originally had 12/32" of tread depth and they were driven until completely bald.
That's a change in diameter of 2 x 12/32" = 24/32", which is 3/4".
Therefore, your tires would change in diameter from 28.5" (new) to 27.75" (completely bald), which is a 2.6% change.

So, if one tire is completely bald and another is brand new, there is less than 3% difference in their diameter.
I think we are going to be okay here.
 

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Thanks jmailly. I recall making or seeing those calculations a few years ago and coming up with the same conclusion.
The only reason not to have a new tire on one side and a bald one on the other on the same axle (besides common sense) is to save constant wear on the differential.
 
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