I Have a Staggered Vehicle, Can I Go Back to a Square Set-Up?

The industry's trend of offering vehicles with different size tires in the front and rear (staggered) continues. This can be a frustration point for some unsuspecting consumers. First, tire choices can be fewer than hoped when trying to find two different sizes that match in the same brand. Second, prices on the larger rear pair can be more than expected. Third, tire rotations are either non-existent or limited to a side-to-side scheme.

What are your options besides staying with the staggered set-up? One option is to square up the vehicle. This is very common when running a dedicated Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package. In most cases, this can be accomplished as the front and rear size difference lies in the width only, and not the height. Therefore, by simply using the front size on the rear, or possibly an intermediate size, you accomplish this goal.  

There are some things to watch out for before venturing down this road. You must make sure it is in fact only a difference in width. If there's a significant difference in height, you will not want to square up. This could cause the vehicle's electronic systems, such as ABS and traction control, to become confused.

The second thing to consider is the rims' widths of your wheels and whether or not the narrower tire will fit on the wider rear wheel. If not, there may be an intermediate size that will work on both the front and rear wheel widths.

You can get a tire's overall diameter and rim width ranges from our website by checking the "Specs" page for the tires you're interested in. The widths of your current wheels may require a conversation with the dealer.

For more information on properly rotating your staggered or squared set-up, read "Tire Rotation Instructions."


Thursday, May 26, 2016 by mike

I have a 2013 BMW xDrive 35d sport activity. My tires are 275/40-20 front and 315/35-20 rear. The staggered set up is becoming a pain going thru tires fairly quick. Is it possible to square up the tires? Use the 275/40-20 for all 4 tires.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016 by David

You can square that vehicle up, but you need to buy the narrower front wheel to use on the rear.
Monday, March 12, 2018 by Adam

I have a 2016 Camaro 2ss and the rear tires need to be replaced but the front tires still have about 3/4 tread life left. The tires are the goodyear eagle f1 run flats. I am wanting to replace the rear tires with a tire that has a better durability. Is it ok to put a different brand of tire on the rear then the goodyears on the front and is it ok to run new tires on the rear and 3/4 tread on the front?
Friday, March 16, 2018 by Tire Rack Team

Adam, you cannot mix run-flat tires and standard tires. It is not recommended to mix models of tires as it can lead to unpredictable handling. It is best to have the better tires on the back of a car so that is okay. Recommend you get one more set of matching rears so that when all four tires are worn out we can look at other options as a set.

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