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Can You Run Staggered On AWD?

Author: Sterling Feathers

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Sterling Feathers

Sterling was born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and has had a massive passion for cars since he could talk. He studied Business Administration at Ferris State University hoping to run his own car dealership one day. As time went on, Sterling began writing car reviews on his own website until he found his home with us as our first Copywriter! He loves everything about the car culture and was Vice President of the motorsports club during his time at Ferris. Sterling enjoys going to every car show and meet possible, attending autocross events, and going for long road cruises with other members in the car scene. He currently drives a 2016 Volkswagen GTI with a stage 2 tune, downpipe, BC Racing coilovers, and a set of Artisa ArtFormed Elders.

April 7, 2021

 

Due to the nature of all-wheel-drive systems, running a staggered setup can also be more complicated with an AWD car. A staggered setup means that you're running larger wheels and tires in the back. You see this type of setup on drag builds all the time where the front tires are skinny and the rear tires are FAT. This is also common with RWD cars since all the power goes to the back wheels and tires.

Let's breakdown if you can run a staggered setup on an AWD car

 

Quick Links:

- Complications With AWD and Staggered Setups

- What to Know Before Running a Staggered Setup on AWD

- Word of Caution...

 

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Bagged Widebody GTR with 3 Piece Wheels

 

 

 

Complications With AWD and Staggered Setups

A lot of people will say that AWD vehicles should always have the same tire size in the front and the rear; this is definitely the safest option, but who said modifying cars was ever safe? The reason why a staggered setup on AWD is such a complicated matter is because of the very nature of the drivetrain. 

 

 

AWD systems typically cut power where it detects slippage to prevent spinning out into oncoming traffic. 

 

READ: 4 DIFFERENCE STYLES OF FITMENT

 

1 2016 Wrx Sti Subaru Serieshyperblue Swift Springs Lowering Springs F1r F103 Black

 

Complications

When your front tires are smaller than the rear, they move faster and have less overall surface area. As a result, the AWD system will think your front tires are slipping and thus will cut the power. Other problems such as increased tread wear are also possible.

 

READ: 4 DIFFERENCE STYLES OF FITMENT

 

2012 NISSAN GT-R BLACK EDITION

 

Then, you have various little things that can end up throwing your car out of whack such as different tread patterns, different widths, and different wheels.

 

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Overall it’s a bit of a tricky matter to run staggered on an AWD vehicle but with knowledge, but it is possible and a lot of enthusiasts do it.

 

C300 Staggered

 

 

What to Know Before Running a Staggered Setup on AWD

First thing's first, you are not going to be able to rotate your wheels. A staggered setup means a one-directional wheel and tire, otherwise, you are in for one heck of a bad time when it comes time to get behind the wheel. With that out of the way, we can get into how to achieve a successful AWD setup.

 

READ: WINTER TIRES VS AWD IN THE SNOW

 

Kia Stinger

 

The key rule to follow is to have a 1% variance between the overall front and rear diameter of your wheel (including the tire) if your vehicle does not have this variance built-in from stock.

 

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The truth is that there are some AWD cars that do come staggered from the factory and if you happen to have one of these it’s going to make applying more extreme setups that go above that 1% much more manageable as opposed to a vehicle that has no variance. 

 

SHOP ESR WHEELS FOR YOUR STAGGERED SETUP

 

2012 NISSAN GT-R BLACK EDITION

 

 

Word of Caution

We are not encouraging that everyone should run out and slap a 6% variant staggered setup on their AWD cars just because it rolled out of the factory with a 0.5%.

 

CHECK OUT OUR TIRE GUIDE

 

2014 SUBARU WRX STI BASE

 

With AWD, most of the time it's best to either have little or no variance which is why you don’t see stock AWD vehicles coming out looking like drag cars. 

 

 

If you are looking into adding or increasing the variance between your wheels it is always good to ask questions. There also is a calculator tool to help you with determining the differences in diameter between your front and back wheels.

 

FITMENT CALCULATOR

 

Comments (1)

CCentrum

12/10/2020

Hi, I have 2011 Porsche Cayenne and I believe it is and AWD. I am planning to have an staggered tire 285/35R21 front and 325/30R21 for the rear with 0.6% variance. Please I need your advice if this will work fine with Porsche Cayenne. Thanks

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AWD
STAGGERED
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