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Alloy Wheels vs Steel Wheels: How To Choose?

alloy wheels vs steel wheels

While there are many customization options available when transforming your car the way you want, for wheels, the decision comes down to steel wheels vs alloy wheels. However, each style has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. 

Confused between alloy and normal wheels? Here’s all you need to make a call!

What are Alloy Wheels?

Well, first things first. An alloy is a mixture of different metals blended so that each metal retains its fundamental nature, such as hardness, rigidity, malleability etc. 

Thus, in this context, an alloy wheel comprises a blend of metals, generally magnesium and aluminum, usually by forging/casting methods. Regardless of their pros and cons, alloy wheels are massively popular for their appealing looks and funky designs. 

They are offered as an additional feature in modern-day cars. And while looks are indeed tempting, there’s more to the equation.

Advantages of Alloy Wheels

Striking Appearance: One of the most significant advantages of an alloy wheel that propels most buyers towards it is its looks. Often offered as a luxury inclusion, alloys are often associated with high-end variants of modern-day cars and are pitched to be the sporty and appealing alternative to conventional wheels.

Lighter Alloy wheels are more complex to manufacture than steel wheels. This makes them lighter. Alloy wheels vs Steel Wheels Weight Difference are substantial, which translates on the road. Alloy Wheels have greater fuel economy, better heat dissipation, swifter acceleration, increased longevity, and so on. 

Enhanced performance: Since alloys are lightweight, they tend to pass on less weight to the suspension set-up, providing better traction and grip along with noticeable differences in the cornering and steering manoeuvres of the car.

Rust proof: Rust continues to be the biggest enemy of steel. But with alloys, rusting issues are eliminated as Alloys are corrosion-proof, which works wonders for those who live in coastal areas.

Also Read: Things to Check Before Buying Used Car

Disadvantages of Alloy Wheels

Costlier: Since alloys are expensive to manufacture, they sell at a substantial premium over steel wheels which sometimes is as high as 50%. So in the alloy wheels vs steel wheel price competition, steel gets a price advantage.

Prone to damage: Alloy wheels are not as sturdy as steel wheels. Unlike steel wheels, alloys are prone to dents, cracks and curbside damage.

Complex to Repair: Compared to steel wheels, getting an alloy wheel back to shape is quite a complex and expensive task.

What are Steel Wheels?

As the name suggests, steel wheels are made up of stamped steel. These are also called standard/conventional wheels, which have been used for a long time and are tried and tested for maximum toughness and sturdiness over time. This is why steel wheels often appear on true blue SUVs and even heavy motor vehicles. In short, steel wheels are the cost-effective OEM choice as far as wheels are concerned.

Advantages of Steel Wheels

Affordable: Since steel wheels are easier to manufacture, they are much cheaper to buy than alloys and offer a substantial price advantage.

More Durable: Steel wheels are stronger than alloys and are the first choice for demanding, heavy and all-terrain vehicles around the globe.

Easy to repair: Dents and other damages on a steel wheel is super easy to fix and can be done by hammering the dent back to its proper place and shape.

Disadvantages of Steel Wheels

Heavier: Despite several advantages, steel wheels are heavy, putting extra load on the suspension, leading to lesser fuel economy than alloys.

Prone to corrosion: Steel wheels quickly corrode in humid and/or salty environments. However, with modern-day paint jobs, steel wheels have become slightly less prone to rapid corrosion.

Looks cheaper: While looks are subjective, steel wheels, at best, offer a classic, plain and evergreen design, which, when compared to the new and funky attire of alloys, tends to struggle behind.

Difference between Alloy Wheels and Steel Wheels: Quick Summary

Parameter Alloy Wheels Steel Wheels
Aesthetics Looks striking It looks plain and classic
Weight Lighter Heavier
Price Cheaper Expensive
Performance Superior handling and acceleration  May hinder vehicle acceleration and dynamics
Fuel Efficiency Enhances fuel efficiency  Can reduce fuel efficiency
Safety Cracks at high speeds can be fatal The probability of cracks is very low, hence safer
Durability Prone to cracking and bending in case of an impact More durable and can take more abuse
Repairability Demands a complex and expensive process for repair Relatively much easier to repair 

Which One Should You Buy?

Now the final question – Alloy wheels or steel wheels? Well, the answer depends upon your exact requirements. 

Steel wheels are affordable and practical, whereas alloy wheels are aesthetically beautiful but pricey. Steel wheels are the greatest solution if you want to save money. They are inexpensive, long-lasting, and simple to fix if something goes wrong. However, you may have to make some sacrifices in terms of appearance.

Alloy wheels are ideally suited for high-end vehicles. So, if you have no financial constraints, you may go with alloy wheels. They are visually beautiful, come in various designs, and affect the vehicle’s performance and fuel economy. So the decision is based on what you expect from your set of four wheels.

FAQs 

Q. Do my car’s alloy wheels influence its fuel efficiency?

Yes, alloy wheels affect the car’s fuel efficiency. Because they are lighter than steel wheels, they may improve fuel efficiency to some extent. Therefore the Alloy Wheels Vs Steel Wheels Fuel Economy battle is won by alloy wheels.

Q. Why do steel wheels appear on the lower trims of cars?

Steel wheels are less expensive to produce than alloy wheels. As a result, steel wheels are available in lower trims of cars.

Q. Can I use my SUV off-road with alloy wheels?

Yes, alloy wheels may be used for off-roading. However, you must use caution when maneuvering since alloy wheels can break and distort under heavy impact. They are not as robust as steel wheels.

Q. Do alloy wheels have an impact on my auto insurance?

If the alloy wheels are factory installed, you won’t have to worry about the insurance consequences. However, if you alter your vehicle with aftermarket alloy wheels, you may be required to notify your provider. It aids in reducing the likelihood of claim rejection.

Q. Can I modify the look of the alloy wheels?

There are several alloy wheel designs available on the market. You may replace the original alloy wheels with a design of your choice. However, keep in mind that alloy wheels are significantly more costly than steel wheels.

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