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September 1, 2016

Staggered Setup

Ever seen a Buick where the wheels look bigger in the rear than in the front giving it a really aggressive look? Don't worry, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. What you are looking at is the beauty of a staggered setup. This is also referred to as staggered fitment or staggered application. What this means is that the rear wheels are not the same size as the front wheels. The rears are wider than the front to give it not only a better appearance but also provide a performance benefit. This makes the Buick look great and let's face it, it's the main reason that Buick caught your eye to begin with.

Why Have a Staggered Setup?

If your Buick is rear wheel drive and want a gain in performance, you might want to consider a staggered setup. This setup however does not work on front wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles.

A few good reasons to have to have bigger wheels on the rear is because not only will it give you better cornering and braking, but you'll be able to put more power down on the road. In the summer on dry pavement, you're getting better traction as well. If you live in a place with seasons, in the winter time you will want to switch to a squared setup (all 4 wheels the same size) to help deal with the rain and snow.

Pros and Cons

As with everything, there are always pros and cons to consider when modifying your Buick. If performance is your goal, a wider wheel is going to give you better traction and acceleration. If you are just going for the look, a wider wheel will give you a more aggressive appearance.

A couple of cons to consider is that now you will not be able to rotate your tires as you would normally, front to back. You're only going to be able to rotate them laterally (side to side) and if they are directional tires, no rotations at all unless you dismount the tire and remount each time. Secondly, depending on how wide your setup is, you might notice a drop in ride quality.

If you are starting off with 17" stock wheels, possible staggered wheel setups that apply to most rear wheel drive vehicles include:

18" wheels you will notice better performance and almost no change in ride quality.

At 19" you are going to get a noticeable gain in performance and only a slight change in ride quality. You will definitely love the look.

Once you start going over 3", you are not gaining performance and are purely going for looks. The ride quality on your Buick will not be that great either. The look will be amazing because with bigger wheels, you will need low profile tires. This results in the wheel taking up most of the wheel well giving it the fitted look as if it were lowered. That aggressive look is going to come at the price of ride quality however.

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) California Tire Dealers Association Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)