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Staggered wheels refers to when your vehicle has different sized wheels in the front, than in the back. Larger wheels are usually installed on the back, for example a 17” diameter on the front and an 18” diameter on the rear. Staggered wheels are meant for rear-wheel drive vehicles only, and throughout the years, many high-end sports cars like Porsches, Corvettes, and others have been designed this way. It’s also common to see this style run on cars like Toyota Supra’s, Ford Mustangs, Nissan 350z’s and more. Although staggered fitments are usually meant for rear-wheel vehicles, there are some all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive cars with staggered fits, as it is possible and a lot of car enthusiasts do it.
There are many benefits of staggered wheels, with the most prominent one being better traction/grip. The wider the tire, the more surface area your tire has to grip the pavement with, it’s simple! This will help performance and handling, as it will allow your car to grip the pavement easier resulting in better acceleration and even breaking. Having more grip in the back also promotes understeer, which is when a car steers less than the amount commanded by the driver.
A square wheel setup is when all four wheels and tires are the same width/diameter. This can positively influence stability, and the front end of the car feels more planted because of the contact patch. Unlike staggered wheel setups, square tires are known for having front-rear tire rotation, which results in improved tire longevity.
Staggered tire setups are most common with performance vehicles, and specific staggered tires are designed to deliver performance and handling balance/characteristics. Staggered wheels are when the front and rear axles are a different size, as this is represented by the wider wheels that are usually placed at the back. The two rear wheels are usually an inch or two larger in diameter than the front wheels, which may seem small, but makes all the difference!
Just remember staggered wheels are not meant for every vehicle, and you should know your vehicle well in order to choose whether you want it or not. They are meant for performance and power, and while there are plenty of benefits for staggered wheels, such as improved grip/handling, it’s important to note the drawbacks too. You will notice uneven tire wear, as tires with a larger surface/more grip will wear out more due to the constant traction it’s getting from the ground. Also, there are shorter maintenance intervals, as staggered wheels tend to take a toll on different components of your vehicle. It’s important to note that you can’t rotate staggered tires to achieve an even tread wear. These types of tires can only be rotated side to side since the bigger tires need to be kept in the rear and the smaller tires need to be kept in the front. A side to side pattern has little benefit, but it’s better than not rotating your tires at all.
When it comes down to choosing what’s best for you, it all depends on your personal preference. Some vehicle owners prefer the aesthetic of a staggered wheel setup, as it appears more powerful. Others prefer the comfort of running a square wheel setup as it may not require as much maintenance. Both look great, but find out what’s most suitable for you and your car, as you may have to run staggered wheels if you have a sports car!
If you’d like to learn more about staggered wheels and if they’re right for you, please contact your local TIRECRAFT today! We would be pleased to help you find out what’s right for your car and your overall preference.