Steel and alloy wheels are the two most common types of wheels used in cars. There are other types like carbon fiber, but, those are rare and costly.The term "alloy wheel" is usually reserved for wheels made from non-ferrous
alloys, mostly of aluminium, nickel and magnesium. On the other hand "steel wheel" refers to wheels made of steel, which, is an alloy of iron and carbon. The main differences between alloy and steel wheels lie in their durability, strength and appearance.
Alloy wheels are not included as standard equipment in most new cars, instead being marketed as optional add-ons or as part of a more expensive trim package, due to their cost. Most new budget cars, and many older cars, come fitted with steel wheels. Steel is the metal of choice for most car parts; it is cheap, besides, it can be made into different shapes easily. It has always been an obvious choice to use for wheels. But more and more cars are now equipped with alloys wheels to fetch higher prices in the market due to their looks.
Advantages of alloy wheels
Alloys of aluminium or magnesium are typically lighter for the same strength, provide better heat conduction, and often produce improved cosmetic appearance over steel wheels. Lighter wheels can improve handling by reducing unsprung mass, allowing suspension to follow the terrain more closely and thus improve grip, In extreme driving conditions, alloy wheels are better able to dissipate heat away from brake components. Reduction in overall vehicle mass can also help to reduce fuel consumption, as cars accelerate quicker and stop faster.
Benefits of steel wheels
Steel wheels are usually pressed from sheet metals, and then welded together (often leaving unsightly bumps) and must be painted to avoid corrosion and/or hidden with wheel covers/hub caps. Steel wheels, are less expensive than alloy wheels, mainly because of differences in production techniques. Steel wheels are also more easily repaired than alloys, as steel can often be hammered back into place when bent. On the other hand, alloy wheels tend to break or crack more often under impact than their steel counterparts.
Visual differences are, for many drivers, the primary factor in whether to purchase steel or alloy wheels. Alloys are more conducive to complex styling of the wheel itself and improve the overall looks of the car.
The high cost of alloy wheels makes them attractive to thieves; to counter this, motorists often use locking nuts or bolts which require a special key to remove.
Replacement market wheels
A sizable selection of alloy wheels are available to motorists who want lighter, more visually appealing, rarer, and/or larger wheels on their cars. Although replacing standard steel wheel and tyre combinations with lighter alloy wheels and potentially lower profile tyres can result in increased performance and handling, this doesn't necessarily hold when increasingly large wheels are employed. Both acceleration and fuel economy could suffer with increasingly larger wheels.
Ride comfort and noise could be negatively affected by the larger wheels too.
We hope you will be able to make an informed decision between alloy and steel wheels from now henceforth.
Click below for our collection of alloy wheels