Staggering information on Staggered wheels

Staggering information on Staggered wheels


If you own a high-performance vehicle like a Porsche 911 or Ferrari, or maybe a more reasonably priced one like a BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Mustang, Infiniti G35 and such, you've probably heard the term “staggered wheels” when you go to get new tires or wheels for your car. I'm sure, if you didn't know what it meant, you thought “what does that mean?”. In short, it just means the front and rear wheels are different sizes. Usually, the back wheel is going to be wider, larger or both and this is for various reasons. The larger wheels on the rear help to provide better traction on uneven surfaces while at the same time the smaller front wheels help with maneuverability. Besides the increased performance, staggering your wheels also gives your vehicle a very sleek and aggressive look that's aesthetically pleasing.


Let's dive a little deeper into the performance to set the stage and dazzle you with some technical knowledge. When you have staggered wheels, this helps to improve the balance of the vehicle since rear-drive vehicles are tail heavy. This is due to their engine placement which can cause the vehicle to oversteer, so the staggered wheel design helps to counter the oversteering and balance out the vehicle. With the added width and or size, it increases drag and traction for the rear wheels. As well as improving the balance, it assists with improving the vehicles acceleration and braking. Which is why you see a lot of street cars with a wider rear wheel and tire. With having a larger wheel on the rear, this will raise the end slightly causing the front to be lower which helps create a low profile when driving at higher speeds and can help shorten the turning radius. Since the vehicle has a lower center of gravity, this can end up improving your gas mileage.

Besides high-performance vehicles having staggered wheels, off-road vehicles, Formula 1 race cars and tractors also utilize the staggered wheel set up. Not too many people know that airplanes use this wheel set up to improve balance for take-offs and landings!




The above shows some great benefits but keep in mind, with positives, there's always negatives as well. So, after reading the above you may think you want to upgrade your vehicle and get your wheels staggered but keep in mind, you can only do this if your vehicle is a rear-wheel drive vehicle. If your vehicle is four-wheel drive vehicle and you try to stagger your wheels any way, prepare for some catastrophic damage on your powertrain and suspension. This is due to the front wheels feeling the need to spin faster than the rear which can cause a loss of traction and your vehicle to perform in unexpected way. If you have a vehicle that accepts staggered wheels, then a downside may be that you'll need to rotate the tires every 6k miles or so. Since the front wheels and rears are different, you can only rotate with the wheel next to it so rears with rears and fronts with fronts. Besides that, would be that you'll have to purchase 2 different sets of wheels and tires. It may not sound bad but say you need a new rear wheel because your tire went flat and a wheel cracked, then you take it to a shop, say our shop, Santa Ana Wheel. If you're lucky, we might have a replacement rim for your rear wheel, or from what I've seen more often, we have the front wheel but not the rear. In that instance it can be an inconvenience to have staggered wheels.

Now that you've filled yourself with knowledge on staggered wheels, let's get down to the summary and do a Pro and Con list to better assist with any decisions on staggering your wheels or better understanding why they are that way.

• Improved maneuverability.
• Sleek, aggressive, aesthetic look.
• Better balance to combat against oversteering.
• Increases traction.
• Improves acceleration and braking.
• Lower profile when the rear is raised.
• Shortened turning radius.
• Improved gas mileage.

• Not recommended for four-wheel drive, only meant for rear-wheel drive vehicles.
• Tire rotation every 6k miles or so.
• Rotating rear tires with only the rear and fronts only with the fronts.
• Possibility of replacement wheels for front or rear not in stock and not being able to interchange the 2.

-Heather Jarkow