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2002-2004 Subaru Impreza WRX Wheel Fitment Guide

October 23, 2021

 

Picture this. 

It's the year 2002, and Subaru announces that they are bringing the WRX to the states. 

Major parades and clouds of white smoke filled the air in every major city, celebrating the fact that the US was finally granted a cool car that our friends over in Japan have been rippin' around in for years. 

Maybe the parades and burnout fest are a little dramatic, but the energy and excitement in the car community were undoubtedly real. 

 

 

Dubbed as the "New Age" Subarus and known as the "bug eyes," the 2nd generation Subaru WRX made its way to the US market in 2002, and in 2004, it got a nice face-lift, dubbed the "blob eye." 

If you're lucky enough to own one of these badass cars, wheels and tires are a necessary upgrade. 

Let's get into some common wheel-tire specs for the 2nd gen Subaru Impreza WRX.

Quick Links:

- 2nd Gen Subaru WRX Basic Wheel Fitment Info

- 2nd Gen Subaru WRX 17-inch Wheel Fitment

- 2nd Gen Subaru WRX 18-inch Wheel Fitment

- Final Thoughts

CHECK OUT THE SUBARU WRX GALLERY

 

A bright yellow 2003 Subaru WRX running Silver Enkei RPF1s wrapped in Bridgestone tires

2003 Subaru WRX Base | ESR Sr11 18x8.5 +30 | Bridgestone Potenza 255/35 | BC Racing Coilovers

 

 

2nd Gen Subaru WRX Basic Wheel Fitment Info

There are a few factors that affect your wheel and tire specs, like your suspension setup and the fitment style you're going for. Before you get into the depths of the fitment gallery, knowing your stock wheel and tire fitment specs will help give you a good starting point. 

This generation was fitted with an undersized 16x6.5" +55mm wheels wrapped in a 205/55/16 tire. 

But, you're obviously here to do some upgrading, so the recommended wheel and tire sizes for the 2002 to 2004 Subaru WRX are wheel diameters between 16" and 18" with wheel widths ranging from 6.5" to 9.5" and offsets between +25mm to +45mm. 

 

READ THIS BEFORE BUYING WHEELS + TIRES

 

 

Another critical thing to remember is the bold pattern

This generation WRX has a 5x100 bolt pattern with a center bore of 56.1mm. 

There's nothing more disappointing than buying a set of wheels and realizing they aren't the correct bolt pattern. Thankfully, you don't have to worry about that when going through us for wheels because we'll only pull wheels with the same bolt pattern when you enter your year, make, and model. 

 

EXPLORE WHEELS WITH 5X100 BOLT PATTERN

 

A black Subaru Impreza WRX driving on a brick road running AVID1 wheels

2002 Subaru WRX WRX | Avid1 Av20 17x8.5 +35 | Federal 595 Ss 225/35 | Tein Coilovers

When it comes to aftermarket suspension on this generation WRX, you're going to get a good mix of people throwing on lowering springs, coilovers, and air suspension.

Regardless of what you decide to go with, lowering your car will affect your wheel and tire fitment because you won't have as much clearance as stock—that is, if you upgrade to a bigger diameter and/or wider wheel.

 

READ: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO COILOVERS

 

A blue Subie with Enkei RPF1 17x9 +35 wrapped in Federal 595 Rpm 235/40 and running Raceland Stock

2004 Subaru WRX Base | Enkei RPF1 17x9 +35 | Federal 595 Rpm 235/40

With that being said, a lot of Subie owners roll their fenders to achieve the perfect fitment. If you want to avoid rolling your fenders, you'll want to stay modest with your wheel size and how low your car is, so you have plenty of clearance.

If you stick with your stock suspension, you may avoid the need to roll your fenders altogether. 

 

A wheel shot of the Enkei RPF1 on a Subaru WRX

2002 Subaru WRX WRX | Enkei RPF1 17x9 +45 | Firestone Indy 500 245/40 | BC Racing Coilovers

Another important factor to consider is your build style/fitment style. Is your Subie just a daily? Are you planning to do some mild autocrossing with it? Or are you planning to make this your show car?

Here's a breakdown of the common fitment styles for each build type. 

*This is not the end-all-be-all. This is only based on the most popular setups per build style. 

Daily:  17", lowering springs or coilovers, flush fitment 

Daily + some AutoX: 17" or 18", coilovers,  flush fitment

Daily + Show Car: 18", coilovers or air suspension, tucked fitment (on bags)

 

READ: 4 STYLES OF FITMENT

 

A front facing view of a modified Subaru WRX

2002 Subaru WRX WRX | Avid1 Av20 17x8.5 +35 | Federal 595 Ss 225/35 | Tein Coilovers

 

 

 

2nd Gen Subaru WRX 

Subie owners who drive their WRX daily and/or participate in some autocross days, upgrading to a 17-inch wheel is the most popular diameter. 

The most common 17" wheel size is a 17x9" +30mm to +35mm. If you're lowered, this fitment will require rolled fenders because it is aggressively wide compared to the stock 6.5" width. However, this will still get you a flush fitment with some rolled fenders. 

 

A modified Subaru WRX wagon running Enkei RPF1s wrapped in Firestone tires and BC Racing coilovers

2002 Subaru WRX WRX | Enkei Rpt1 17x9 +45 | Firestone Indy 500 245/40 | BC Racing Coilovers

If you want to avoid the fender rolling, opt for a less wide wheel to have more fender clearance. Most people are running a 17x8 +35mm with a 225/45 tire or a 17x8.5 +30mm to +35mm with a 215/45 tire on their lowered WRX to achieve a flush fitment without rolled fenders. 

You could even go as narrow as a 17x7.5 +35mm to a +45mm with a 225/45/45 tire. 

 

An aggressive silver 2004 Subaru WRX running Enkei RPF1 17x8.5 +40 wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport 225/40 and BC Racing Coilovers

2004 Subaru WRX Base | Enkei RPF1 17x8.5 +40 | Michelin Pilot Super Sport 225/40 | BC Racing Coilovers

All of these options fill the space much better than the stock sizes without looking flashy or unnatural.

Running a 17" also allows you to show the perfect amount of tire for a daily driving car. Oftentimes when you get too big in diameter, you have to compromise with a shorter tire sidewall to avoid rubbing issues.

Some enthusiasts like this style, but most prefer to have a decent amount of tire showing. After all, tires are a big part of the driving experience too. 

 

A classic blue Subaru WRX with gold wheels running the Rota Torque 17x9 +30 wrapped in Continental Extremecontact Sport 245/30 and BC Racing Coilovers

2004 Subaru WRX Base | Rota Torque 17x9 +30 | Continental Extremecontact Sport 245/30 | BC Racing Coilovers

If you're going to participate in autocross, a solid setup would be a 17x8.5 +35mm with a 225/45 or 235/45 tire. You could even run a 245/35 tire, but you'll definitely need to roll the fenders and make sure you're not too low. 

The biggest thing to consider here is your tire size. You want to run a wide tire so you can get the most grip in the corners. Narrow tires won't cut it if you're going to get competitive, whether that's with a club or with yourself. 

 

A black modified Subaru WRX WRX running Avid1 Av20 17x8.5 +35 wrapped in Federal 595 Ss 225/35 and Tein Coilovers

2002 Subaru WRX WRX | Avid1 Av20 17x8.5 +35 | Federal 595 Ss 225/35 | Tein Coilovers

 

 

2nd Gen Subaru WRX 

The most common fitment specs for an 18" wheel on the 2nd gen WRX are 18x9.5 +35mm to +45mm with a 245/35 to a 265/35 tire

With this wide of a setup, you're obviously going to need to roll the fenders and maybe even make some other suspension modifications. If you run a 265/35, you might even have to remove your fender liners to make it fit. 

 

 

 

A super clean black 2003 Subaru WRX running Rota D2 18x9.5 +38 wrapped in Hankook Ventus Rs4 245/40 and BC Racing Coilovers

2003 Subaru WRX Base | Rota D2 18x9.5 +38 | Hankook Ventus Rs4 245/40 | BC Racing Coilovers

For dedicated show builds, many people will go even wider with an 18x10, 18x10.5, or even an 18x11 or 11.5 wheel. 

These fitments are not easily achieved and need further suspension modifications to make it all fit okay. Keep in mind that these types of build styles usually run stretched tires and tons of cambers as well. 

 

A slammed black modified 2004 Subaru WRX running Work Meister S1 3p 18x11.5 -27 wrapped in Federal Ss595 255/35 and Air Lift Performance Air Suspension

2004 Subaru WRX | Work Meister S1 3p 18x11.5 -27 | Federal Ss595 255/35 | Air Lift Performance Air Suspension

If you want to stick on the safe side of things, the other most common fitment setup is a 18x8.5 +30mm to +35mm. You'll still need to roll your fenders if you're any kind of lowered, but that will be the extent of your modifications. 

This is a very common wheel size for a lot of platforms, so there are tons of wheel options out there by popular brands like Enkei and ESR

 

A modified yellow 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX running Enkei RPF1s and Bridgestone tires

2003 Subaru WRX Base | ESR Sr11 18x8.5 +30 | Bridgestone Potenza 255/35 | BC Racing Coilovers

 

 

Final Thoughts

Finding the perfect fitment on any platform really comes down to your fitment preference and build style.

The stock wheel size is pretty small for the Subaru Impreza WRX, so there's an added level of difficulty since you almost always have to roll/pull your fenders when you're lowered. 

 

A rear shot of a black modified Subaru WRX running Work wheels and slammed on Air Lift suspension

2004 Subaru WRX | Work Meister S1 3p 18x11.5 -27 | Federal Ss595 255/35 | Air Lift Performance Air Suspension

Regardless of what fitment specs you decide best fit your lifestyle and build style, your next step is to build your perfect wheel and tire package. 

When you package your wheels with new tires, we'll ship your setup to your garage in as little as 7 days with free mounting, balancing, and shipping. 

 

BUILD YOUR WHEEL + TIRE PACKAGE HERE

 

A front shot of a silver 2004 Subaru WRX running Enkei RPF1 17x8.5 +40 wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport 225/40 and BC Racing Coilovers

2004 Subaru WRX Base | Enkei RPF1 17x8.5 +40 | Michelin Pilot Super Sport 225/40 | BC Racing Coilovers

And before you hold up your build again, check out our financing options through Affirm. Instead of paying the total amount of your wheel and tire package upfront, you can spread it out into small, manageable monthly payments so you can still enjoy life! 

 

EXPLORE WHEELS BY LOW MONTHLY PAYMENTS

 

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