Staggered wheels may sound like an undue hazard to have on your vehicle but they can improve the acceleration and grip with the road, plus they can look really eye-catching.
The setup is typically found on a rear-drive vehicle and you may see it on high-powered cars that need a bit more extra width to pull that extra power to the ground. The effect can look increasingly subtle, though it can be glaringly obvious and hard to miss.
Having a staggered wheel setup on your vehicle is a big decision so you should want to find out as much about it as you can.
If you are curious about having staggered wheels installed on your vehicle, or modifying your next buy into having them, then you will want to know why you should. In this guide, we will look at what staggered wheels are, their benefits, their drawbacks, and whether they are right for your current vehicle.
What Staggered Wheels Are
There are two different types of staggered wheels so it is important to work out which one you want on your vehicle. The first version relates to the wheel’s width, specifically the primary three numbers for a tire’s size.
A staggered wheel by its width is also the simplest way to stagger the tires and make incremental changes to the width without compromising the rims or other associated components.
Then there are staggered rims which are a little more tricky to achieve and are the second version of staggered wheels. By altering the size of the rims you will get a tire with a wider diameter.
Having staggered rims rather than staggered wheels is a preferred situation for many drivers yet it does require more work. Specifically, you have to ensure that the vehicle has sufficient clearance once the new staggered wheels are installed.
The Benefits Of Staggered Wheels
Considering how big a job it could be to have staggered wheels on your vehicle, you should appreciate the benefits that they could bring. There are several and one could be that they simply make your vehicle stand out amongst everyone else.
Another benefit is the improved traction which is best felt on a rear-wheel drive vehicle. That’s because most of the traction comes from those rear tires and bigger ones will equate to more traction.
Put bluntly, while you may think the increased size may mean more friction, that effect is counter-acted as a wider tire will have an increased surface area with which to grip the road. Tires that grip the road effectively should bring the most benefit from the torque created by your engine too.
The Drawbacks Of Staggered Wheels
Certainly, there are several benefits to having a staggered wheels setup yet there are a few drawbacks too. As there is a difference between the size of your tires from the front to the back, you are likely to experience an uneven tire wear.
That’s due to the tires on the rear wheels having a larger surface area to grip more road and increase traction yet it will be that traction that leads to uneven tire wear.
Also, you would need to ensure that you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle to feel the full benefit of staggered wheels and those bigger tires need to be installed on the right axle at the rear.
With a front-wheel drive car, those bigger rims and tires in the rear are not going to give you any tangible performance benefits.
In fact, your driving would suffer from a reduced braking power and even worse handling which could be dangerous. This would be similar to driving a rear-wheel drive vehicle and having larger wheels at the front which would be problematic at best.
That reduction in braking performance is a clear drawback, and a dangerous one at that. The larger wheels do bring improved traction yet the brakes have to work harder to prevent the wheels from spinning.
Consider your brakes when choosing a staggered wheels setup. There is also a toll to be paid on other components on the vehicle including the brakes and tires with the staggered wheels being a primary reason for the warranty to be voided.
Are Staggered Wheels Right For Your Vehicle?
If you do have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, staggered wheels can provide a welcome boost to performance and a stunning look. This is particularly helpful if you like to race and put your foot down as those larger wheels should mean better traction.
However, if you have a front-wheel drive vehicle then staggered wheels are largely without merit as you will fail to reap the benefits from the performance.
Consider a staggered wheels setup if you are looking to improve your vehicle’s traction yet there are other ways of doing so.
Simply add some weight to the rear of your vehicle which has been proven to work in areas that often experience snow. The increased weight pushes the tires down and increases the traction.
Though if you want to improve your performance then you could look at upgrading the car’s components such as torsion bars, leaf springs, and performance shocks first.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Staggered Wheels Considered Unsafe?
There are some safety concerns with staggered wheels. One is that there are suggestions that because the wider rear tires are bigger than those at the front, that driving is risky when at the limit.
Should a driver push just a bit too hard, the car could understeer due to the front tire’s lack of contact with the road compared to the rear tires and a reduction in front grip.
What Is The Difference Between Staggered Wheels And Square Wheels?
A staggered wheels setup involves the tires and the wheels on the rear of the vehicle being comparatively bigger than those at the front.
This can improve traction and performance. However, a square setup is far more widespread as it involves tires and wheels being the same all across the vehicle.