Which Tire Setup Is Best For Your S550 Mustang?
Last Updated: September 29, 2021
It is no surprise that the Mustang is a powerful car. Ever since its inception, the V8-powered Mustang has been able to put out massive horsepower figures with only a few upgrades and to ensure this power reaches the ground requires varying tire specifications. With the capabilities of putting our well over 800 horsepower with proper upgrades, the Mustang can be set up for straight-line racing, twisty and winding road courses, or simply for cruising the streets. Regardless of the intention of the car, you can build to massive power but must do the proper work to ensure it can not only put the power down but also do so safely and evenly to prevent issues with traction.
With each generation of Mustang, the easiest way to maintain a high-power grip on the road has been through wider tires. While it varies by each style of driving that you do, the wheel and tire setup you need may vary but running the proper tire setup can make or break your car’s performance abilities. That is why it is important to know your Mustang’s performance needs as it is the easiest way of ensuring you get the most from your car in any driving. For each setting and use of the car, properly set up tires can make or break drivability, and the importance of a proper width setup across the board is a key component to performance application.
Staggered Setup For Your S550
In a staggered setup, the front wheels and tires are a slightly narrower dimension than the rear, which gives a car the classic muscle car look of the larger rear tires. While this is a very good look on the Mustang, it is also highly functional for performance applications. If someone for example is running a staggered setup, their front tires are a 255mm width and a 275mm rear width. This example of a staggered setup is commonly found on the S550 Mustang GT Performance Package 1 and provides enough tire to put power to the road easily while easily having enough power to keep the car fun and tossable, breaking the tires loose. This setup is generally found on street cars and drag cars since there is more tire on the rear to put down power while limiting front-end weight. This type of setup is also useful for driving any rear-wheel biased platform in general as it is more useful in moving the powered wheels under less-than-ideal conditions.
Square Setup For Your S550
If performance driving is more your style, or you simply do not need wide tires, a square setup may work best for you. For those who do not need a racing fitment, running a smaller size around the entire car might work best. If you intend to race the car, however, having a wider tire to match the already wide rear tires will improve your cornering ability and give you better traction while steering. This can be done by adding spacers to the front axle to ensure that the wheels do not hit the body or get stuck, allowing them to fully turn and not snag on the car’s bodywork. Running a square fitment with spacers is an easy way to fit wider front wheels and tires on your Mustang but with smaller tires, it is possible to fit a square setup without spacers at all. If you are not using your car for racing or track use, or simply do not need massive rubber in the rear, you can also choose to run narrower tires to match your front tires which saves on the cost of more expensive rear rubber. This also makes it easier to rotate your tires to even out wear depending on if they are directional or not.
Benefits Of A Square Setup
Cars running a square setup are better fitted for track driving than for drag strip use for a few different reasons. With these cars set up as such, the front axle does bear quite a lot more weight than otherwise even if the wheels and tires are lightweight. The extra rotating mass on the front axles also creates more drag which is not ideal in a drag race. The idea in a drag race is to have less drag on the pavement in the front of the car which is done by a lighter-weight and narrower wheel. However, for racing such as autocross or lap racing having a wider setup is beneficial with a larger surface for contact and therefore improving grip and handling. Cars such as the Steeda S550 #20 Race Car and HPDE Car use this setup to stay on the race track at high speeds around corners. This square wider setup also can help drivers feel more planted around bends in general since there is more tire in contact with the road which fights understeer issues.
Benefits Of A Staggered Setup
While there are handling benefits associated with a square setup when the tire setup is wide enough, more people are used to the staggered setup that can be found on most performance cars and trucks. With the S550 platform, Performance Package 1 upgrades feature staggered tires as a basic way of ensuring the car’s power could be properly put to the ground. On cars such as the Mach 1 Handling Package and the GT500, the staggered sizes are massive at 305mm in the front with 315mm in the rear because it allows them to have enough rubber in front for steering while having even more rubber in the rear to ensure useful power gets put to the ground. On drag cars such as the Silver Bullet, the staggered setup is even more dramatic when shown as a “skinnies and slicks” setup. With the incredibly narrow front tires coming in at 185mm and the massive drag radials in the rear sitting at 315mm like you find on exotic cars and ultra-high-performance muscle cars.
Difference Between Horsepower & Torque
Best Racing Tires For The Mustang
What Is Tramlining & How To Solve It On Your S550