Stagger vs. Square Tire Sizes for Winter Use

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


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


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

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


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.

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.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 by Gary


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.

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


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.
Sunday, August 30, 2015 by Edward

Hello! I have an '01 BMW 740i and I want to run stock sized staggered wheels (18 x 8 front, 18 x 9.5 rear) in the winter. Any problems with doing that? Should I run the stock tire size or can I go minus a size on the width?
Tuesday, September 1, 2015 by Gary


You can use winter tires on the stock sized staggered wheels on the 2001 740i with no problem.
Friday, November 13, 2015 by Markham

With a 2011 335i x drive m-sport sedan the stock tires are 225/40/18 Front, and 255/35/18 Rear. Dealer recommended to stick with those sizes for winter tires. Tire Rack search says 235/40/18 should be OK all the way around. I am hesitant because on my 2014 328i x drive with a square setup a 215/45/18 winter setup all the way around messed with the traction control vs the stock 225/45/18. Any input for the 2011 recommendations?
Friday, November 13, 2015 by Gary


We've had good experience and feedback with customers using either 225/40R18 all around or 235/40R18 all around for winter use on the 2011 335i xdrive m sport sedan.
Sunday, October 9, 2016 by Jeremy Lavigne

I am currently running 225/40R/18 (front) 255/35R/18 (rear) on my Cadillac ATS AWD. Wondering if I could go with 225/40R/18 all around for the winter?
Monday, October 10, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Jeremy, What year is your ATS?
Saturday, February 11, 2017 by Ron

Can a BMW M2 run an 18" square setup? In various forums, people have reported on success with square setups. However the factory tires are different heights (265/35R19 front, 245/35R19 back), so I am thinking a square winter configuration might be problematic. The Commonly reported square option for this car is 245/40R18. Thanks.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Tire Rack Team

Ron, You can run the 245/40R18 front and back with an 18" wheel between 8-9.5" wide with the proper offset. You can view the options available by entering your vehicle information on and select you are shopping for a "winter tire and wheel package".
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 by Peter

I am getting a 440i xDrive Front: 19x8.0, 225/40 R19 and Rear: 19x8.5, 225/35 R19. I am wondering if I can switch to a sqaure setup. Also, can the M4's 255/40 R18 wheels fit the 440i ? Thanks in advance.
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 by Barry

For an Audi RS3 with 255/30/19 front and 235/35/19 rear, can I use a 235/35/19 square setup winter tires with existing wheels? Thanks.
Sunday, December 10, 2017 by Ash

I have a '17 X5 xdrive 50i that has a set of Pirelli P Zero summer tires in a staggerd setup. Fronts are 275/40 r20 XL and rear are 315/35 r20 XL. Been doing a lot of reading up on dedicated winter tires or all seasons. For winter, could I go with a 19" square setup?
Wednesday, December 13, 2017 by Tire Rack Team

Ash: Yes, you can use a 255/50R19 all the way around for the winter package. They are less expensive and work better in deeper snow as a narrower tire option. Click here to select your vehicle and see what is available for your X5:
Thursday, December 28, 2017 by Jonathan

I have a 2015 GS350 F Sport RWD and was wondering if I can go to a square set up with either the factory wheels or a new wheel package?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018 by Tire Rack Team

Jonathan: Yes, you can go with a square set-up in 245/40R19 on your car as long as the front and rear wheels are between 8 and 9.5 inches wide.
Saturday, January 6, 2018 by Jeff

I have a 2014 Cadillac CTS VSport with a staggered set up. I’ve heard I can use a square set of 245/40/18 with the stock wheels for snow setup. Would you agree?
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 by Tire Rack Team

Jeff, the 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport came with a 19-inch stagger that I show. If you have 18-inch wheels, the recommended size would be 255/45R18. As a square set up, the 245/40R18 would be too small. Click below for winter package options:

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