Can You Put Different Width Tires On Same Rim? | Staggered

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Tire size impacts vehicle performance, driving comfort, appearance, and safety. Therefore, you must use the correct size and quality tire for your car and truck. When choosing different width tires has several unique pros and cons.

Depending on the tire width, it changes the traction, grip, fuel economy, cornering, braking distance, and much more. Many people like to use wider to improve the car’s appearance, and wider tires improve the sporty look.

This article cover, can you put different width tires on same rim? What to consider before changing tire size and much more.

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Can you put different width tires on same rim?

Yes, you can put different-width tires on the same rim. However, there is a limit. Tires having a width variation of 20 mm from the vehicle manufacturer’s standard wheel can be used. Failure to meet this recommendation can result in poor tire performance and catastrophic accidents. For example, if your stock tire size is 215, you can use any tire from 205 to 235 wide.

Tires typically come in different widths, diameters, and sidewalls according to that tire circumference change. The tire’s outer diameter is not the only factor affecting its performance; its width also significantly impacts how it rides and handles on the road. You can use our free online tire size calculator to compare new and old tires.

 

What to consider before changing tire size?

Before putting different-width tires on the same rim for the car, SUV, or truck, you must ensure a few requirements. (If you are not changing the rim). You can read my wider and narrow tire size article if you do not know how to check the tire size.

  1. Maximum width: Maximum tire width variation should be up to 20mm only. Exceeding this range can cause performance degradation and security issues. Check our free tire size calculator for this.
  2. Correct rim size: The new tire set rim diameter and existing rim diameter should be equal. You cannot use the new wheel if it does not match these two.
  3. Load Index. The new tire set should have an identical or higher load index. Load index is how much weight the tire can handle, and using a lower load index can damage and wear the tire prematurely. All four wheels must have a load index rating equal to or greater than that recommended by the car manufacturer.
  4. Speed index. For safety reasons, the new tire set should have an identical or higher speed index, and all your four wheels should have and should use the car manufacturer’s recommended speed index.

 

Click the following button to use our free tire size calculator to check tire diameter, width, sidewall, circumference, and revolutions per mile.

 

Staggered Vs Square Tire Setup.

Popular tire setups are staggered and square wheel configurations. The reason for using different tire setups is to improve performance and safety and uplift the sporty aesthetic. Most car and truck owners use staggered methods to improve their vehicles’ performance.

 

What is the staggered tire setup?

In the staggered tire setup, the rear wheels are slightly wider than the front wheels. This width difference should not be more than 30 mm. In this setup, the rear rim width and diameter can also be wider than the front. The staggered setups can use either diameter or width-wise.

  • Staggered width setup: The width staggered configuration uses a slightly wider rim (or tire without change rim) for the rear axle.
  • Staggered diameter setup: The diameter staggered setup uses a slightly taller rim for the rear axle.

If you have a square setup, you can use the staggered wheel setup without changing the rim. However, ensure that the smaller tire is not stretching or the larger tire squeezing at the sidewalls in this situation.

For the width staggered tire setup example (changing rim), we can set up 18×7.5 on the front axle and 18×8.5 on the rear. This configuration can use 225/45R18 front and 255/40R18 rear. Also, when using a different rim diameter staggered setup, we can use an 18-inch rim on the front and a 19-inch diameter on the rear.

Rear tires in this setup can have a higher speed and load index than front tires. In a staggered setup, the rear tires should have a lower aspect ratio than the front. This will match the tire’s overall diameter.

The common staggered configuration is a slightly wider tire on the rear and narrower in front. The ideal tire width difference in front and rear should not be more than 30 mm. Typically, rear-wheel drives use this type of wheel setup.

Running different size tires on rear axle setup improves the backend performance, handling balance, and overall aesthetic like a sporty look. This setup takes advantage of wider and narrow tire performance benefits.

 

What is Square Tire Setup?

The squared tire setup uses the exact size tire for the front and rear. All four wheels have the same diameter, width, and aspect ratio in this setup.

 

Different width tires on same rim

 

Staggered vs square tire setup performance.

The benefits of a staggered tire setup are increased grip on turning, shorter braking distance, and better handling on dry and wet surfaces. If you put tires that are 30mm wider than the front wheels in the back, you will get an under-steering backend. For instance, 225 front and 285 rear configurations. Therefore when staggered wheels, you must maintain the proper size for the front and back.

 

Can you drive with a smaller spare tire?

You can drive with a smaller spare tire, but not long distances. For safety reasons, you shouldn’t drive more than 50 mph and over 100 miles on this wheel. As soon you get a service center, replace the correct size. A smaller spare tire can negatively affect the alignment, ABS, and traction, handling.

This spare tire call as “Donuts.” Modern cars ship spare wheels smaller than the standard wheel because this donut tire is used less frequently and needs to reduce space requirements and make it easy to move in an emergency.

 

Pros and Cons Changing Tire Size.

Wider and narrow tires have different advantages and disadvantages.

Wider tires pros.

  • Better traction on dry surfaces.

Wider tires have a larger contact surface and better traction on a dry surface. Wider tires cause more friction because they have a larger surface, making them easier to steer and brake.

  • Shorter braking distance.

Since the wider tires have a larger contact patch, therefore have a better grip and wider area treads. Therefore braking distance is shorter.

  • Sporty look.

Wider tires give the vehicle a more attractive sporty look.

  • Better grip in cornering.

Since the wider tire has more contact area, it has a better grip, especially in cornering. This will help to reduce over and understeering.

  • Less heat generates due to the wider surface.

Wider tires have a larger contact area, and a large surface means that the weight is evenly spread over a wide area. Hence the pressure per square inch is relatively lower than on narrow tires. Accordingly, wider tires generate less heat.

  • Comfortability. 

Width is important because it affects the tire contact patch area and how much air the tire can hold. A wider tire can hold more air than a narrower one, which gives it better cushioning and grip. They’re beneficial on roads with many potholes and bumps.

 

Wider tires cons.

  • More expensive.

Generally, wider flat tires are more expensive than narrow tires.

  • Less grip on wet surfaces.

Wider tires have a larger contact patch and relatively smaller pressure per square inch. Therefore wider tires have relatively less grip on wet, slush, and snow surfaces than narrow tires.

  • Hydroplane.

Wider tires are more prone to hydroplaning. This is because of the wide flat surface.

After rain, the road can have a several millimeters high water layer. Tires are designed to remove this water layer to improve grip. When driving faster, the tire and its treads cannot remove this water layer on the road at a certain point. Due to that, the tire lifted a few millimeters above the surface and lost grip on the road. At this point, the steering control loses.

Tire width, tread depth, driving speed, and water depth affect the aquaplaning. So wide tires hydroplane faster than narrow tires because of their wider contact patch.  It is a matter of safety. Even if tires have strong treads, the wet surface causes less grip, and aquaplaning can occur.

  • Fuel economy.

Flat tires have a large contact patch. Therefore it puts more friction per square inch. Due to this high friction, it needs more engine power (torque) to move the vehicle. High torque is more fuel consumption.

 

wider wheels on snowy road
Wider wheels on a snowy road.

 

FAQ.

Does tire width need to match rim width?

The width of the tire and the rim do not have to be the same; the only thing is that the tire edge should fit on the rim. Typically, tires are wider than the rim. For example, 215mm (8.4inch) to 245mm (9.6inch) wider tires can be fitted to an 8-inch rim. The optimum size range for an 8-inch rim is 225mm (8.8 inches) and 235mm (9.2 inches) tires.

 

Different tire sizes on front and rear?

You can use two different tire sizes on the front and rear. The front wheel typically has a narrow tire, and the rear wheel is wider but has the same rim size. This type of setup is called a staggered wheel setup, and it improves the backend tires’ performance, short brake distance, better wet and dry handling, and improved grip in cornering. However, there is not a massive increase in performance.

 

Can you have tires with different widths?

You can put different width tires on the same car, but not the same axle. You can put a narrow tire on the front axle, and for the rear axle, you can put a wider tire. This setup is called a staggered wheel setup. This wheel configuration improves the vehicle’s overall performance on dry and wet surfaces and increases the grip.

 

What happens if one tire is bigger than the rest?

When one tire is larger than the other three, the ABS and overall performance of the vehicle decrease. Furthermore, it can cause oversteering or understeering depending on the higher tire location because the rotational speed of one tire differs from that of the other wheels.

 

Final word.

Cars and trucks can use different-width tires on the same rim. Moreover, you can use wider tires on the rear axle and slightly narrow tires on the front axle. This type of front and rear axle wheel configuration is a staggered tire setup.

Before using different-width tires on the same rim, you must verify a few things. The older and new tire rim sizes should be identical; for safety, all wheels should have a similar or higher load index and speed index.

Before replacing different size tires, you must check if it is legal in your country or state and in compliance with the insurance policy.

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