Stagger vs. Square Tire Sizes for Winter Use

Friday, December 23, 2011 by Gary Stanley
BMW in SnowMany vehicles today are being equipped with wider tires on the rear axle. This is commonly referred to as a staggered set-up. Those wider rear tires may look better cosmetically and perhaps offer an increase in dry grip traction during the summer months, however, when it comes to winter traction a narrower tire is more effective in cutting through snow and is often more economical. 

As a moderator of a few BMW forums, I'm often asked if one can eliminate the stagger set-up and run the same size winter / snow tires in the front and rear. For most vehicles, the answer is that you can indeed go to a square set-up and use the same size on both axles. However, depending on the vehicle application, this new set-up may require purchasing different wheels. 

Note: A few rare applications require that a taller diameter tire be used on the rear rather than just a wider tire in order to maintain the functionality of the vehicle's ABS and traction control systems.  

To see if you can use a square set-up on your vehicle for improved winter traction, shop by vehicle or contact one of our sales specialists

Comments on Stagger vs. Square Tire Sizes for Winter Use

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 by Jeff:
I have staggered summer tire on my Challenger SRT8. 255/45ZR20 & 245/45ZR20. Should I go with the 245/45R20 squared for a winter tire size?
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 by Gary:
Jeff,

Yes, you can indeed run a square setup with 245/45R20 all around for winter use on the Challenger SRT8.


Winter http://www.tirerack.com/winter/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Friday, September 26, 2014 by Diz:
I have been told that I can go with a square 235/60R18 set up on my Macan S (standard is staggered). Tirerack doesn't suggest square...does that mean I need to go staggered?
Friday, September 26, 2014 by Gary:
Diz,

Yes, you can use 235/60R18 all around on the Porsche Macan S. However, you will need different wheels since the original rear wheels are too wide to accept 235/60R18 tires.

Winter http://www.tirerack.com/winter/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 by Scott:
I have a 2013 Mercedes E63 AMG Wagon and want to know if I can go with a square set up for a winter tire/rim set up ? I believe the tires on the rear are taller as well as wider.

Thanks.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 by Gary:
Scott,

Fortunately, you can indeed use a square setup on this vehicle as the overall diameter of the original staggered tires are the essentially the same.

Winter http://www.tirerack.com/winter/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Monday, November 17, 2014 by Sean:
I have a 2012 e350 bluetec..rear wheel drive. The car currently runs 245-40-18 all around. I have found a pair of nice CLS winter tires that are 235-40-18 on a set of staggered rims (18x8 in the front and 18x9 in the back). Am I going to be okay using these winter tires my 2012 E350?
Monday, November 17, 2014 by Eddie:
I just installed my wheels and tires in a square setup on my 2013 Cadillac ATS. I was wondering if I should keep the tire pressures the same on all tires or use the recommended staggered pressures?
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 by Emry:
I have a 2013 Genesis Coupe Track A/T and want to run squared for the winter on four 225/40R19 instead of the staggered 245/40R19 in the back. Any insight on any issues you think I might run into would be great.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 by Gary:
Emry,

The 2013 Genesis Coupe Track is unique in that the rear tires aren't just wider, they are also taller. So we cannot recommend the same tire size on all four wheels.

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