What Are Staggered Wheels? (+ Other Common FAQs)

The term staggered wheels probably paints a different or more complex picture in one’s head than what the term actually stands for, and many may be unfamiliar with what it actually means.

Therefore, if wheels are something you might be thinking about upgrading or you already have upgraded wheels, then perhaps you’d like to know what staggered wheels are. If so, continue reading this article for better insight on this topic!

What Are Staggered Wheels?

When a set of wheels is wider and or bigger in the rear than they are in the front, this is called having staggered wheels. This practice is used to gain better traction from the wheels that receive power from the engine, and is also used on cars to give them a more pleasing stance.   

If you’d like to learn more about what staggered wheels are, what kinds of cards have staggered fitment tires and more, keep reading for more useful information and facts!

The term staggered wheels means either you have a set of front or rear tires that are bigger and or wider at one end of your vehicle than the other.

The method of staggering wheels is done for two different reasons: one is to get better traction from the wheels and tires that are powered by the engine, and the other is for a more sporty look, similar to the appearance of a race car.

What Kind Of Cars Have Staggered Fitment Tires?

What Kind Of Cars Have Staggered Fitment Tires?

Almost all cars that are designed for drag races will have a staggered wheel fitment, so that when you take off from a dead stop and immediately go to full throttle, the meatier tires will have a better chance of sticking to the ground.

You will also find staggered wheels on road-course vehicles, as going in and out of turns in a vehicle at high speeds can cause a vehicle to fishtail or even spin out.

As well, front-wheel vehicles may have wheels and tires in the front that are bigger than the wheels in the back if they are going to be drag raced.

Since all the power would go to the front wheels when acceleration happens, bigger wheels and tires are placed in the front to get a better grip, while the wheels in the back may be very skinny, which saves weight and accomplishes better elapse-times.

You can also find staggered wheel setups at car shows, but very rarely will you see a set of front wheels bigger than the rear, as bigger rear wheels are very common at car shows.

However, not all four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles will have staggered wheels, because all four of the wheels can get the same amount of power sent to them, showing the need for staggering altogether.

Are Staggered Wheels Bad?

If wheels are staggered correctly with the right size and width, they will not cause any damage to your vehicle.

However, if you or someone else does the wheel fitment wrong, your vehicle could suffer all kinds of mechanical issues, such as with the tires, wheels, or suspension components.

Therefore, if you plan on putting staggered wheels on a vehicle that has not yet been prepared for them, it is recommended that you consult a wheel and tire expert first, as your vehicle could be in danger if the fitment is done incorrectly.

Can Staggered Tires Be Rotated?

In some cases, if you don’t have directional tires (meaning they can only go in one direction), you could rotate the tires from one side to the other.

However, if you have a staggered wheel fitment, never take a wheel from the rear and switch it with a front, as you could be risking severe damage.

If you decide that you want to take the chance and change a wheel from the front to the back or vice versa on a staggered wheel fitment design, issues with the fenders, suspension, tires and/or wheels could be ruined.

Can Staggered Wheels Ruin My Warranty?

Can Staggered Wheels Ruin My Warranty?

If your vehicle did not come with a set of staggered wheels and you opt to customize your vehicle this way, it is very possible that your warranty might be void.

Therefore, it’s important to always check with your dealership for warranty information, to ensure that you’re not risking your warranty coverage by staggering your wheels.

Will Staggered Wheels Affect The Smoothness Of My Suspension?

It’s quite rare that different-sized wheels will affect the smoothness of your vehicle, unless the wrong setup is used.

Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you talk to a professional that knows about tire and wheel size and the effects they can have on a vehicle.

With all car parts, including tires, going too big or too small can be a bad thing. You may achieve the desired look for your vehicle, but you might end up hating the way your vehicle drives and (as mentioned above) you may be doing damage to the vehicle overall.

What Is The Difference Between Staggered And Offset?

Staggered wheels are usually big in the back and smaller in the front for a better stance/look and or for performance reasons.

In contrast, off-set wheels are usually the same size on all four corners of the vehicle. Offset wheels are designed to fit suspensions that were upgraded, custom body styles, and more by using backspacing to even out the fitment of the wheels and tires.

How Do I Know If My Wheels Are Staggered?

How Do I Know If My Wheels Are Staggered?

You can find out if you have staggered wheels by simply looking to see if the rear wheels are wider than the front wheels.

If the wheels are too close in size and you can’t tell the difference, you can tell by looking at the size on the sidewall of the tires.

In the cluster of numbers and letters on the sidewall, there will be a letter first, then a set of numbers which serve as the tire width. If those numbers don’t match, this means that your car has been outfitted with staggered wheels.

How Do I Tell If My Staggered Wheel Fitment Is Done Correctly?

In order to tell if your staggered wheel fitment was done correctly, you must examine your wheel placement to ensure they are even with each other from the front to the rear on the outside.

If, however, your wheels are not even, you likely have a problem with your tires that should be fixed straight away by taking your vehicle to shop for examination.

To find out more, you can also see our posts on what are Blizzak tires, what are highway tires, and what are low-profile tires.

Conclusion

Staggered wheels are a set of wheels that are wider in the rear of the vehicle than they are at the front. Wheels are staggered to achieve better traction and power from a vehicle engine, as well as to give the car a more aesthetically pleasing look.

Vehicles that have staggered wheels are generally cars intended for drag racing, as well as road-course vehicles. However, it’s unlikely that four-wheel or all-wheel drive cars will have staggered wheels, as the practice is unnecessary for such models.

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