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Steel Wheels vs. Alloy Wheels: Which One Is Right for You?

by John Eastwoodon March 30, 2021

When it comes to wheels, their main purpose is function. While this is true, for many drivers, the style aspect also comes into play. With wheels today, two of the most popular options include steel and alloy. You can find other materials, too, such as carbon steel, but most of the options you will find will be either alloy or steel.

Steel Wheels vs. Alloy Wheels: Which One Is Right for You?

Since these are the two main options you have to choose from, you face the question – steel vs. alloy – which is better? Keep reading to learn more about each of these materials.

Taking a Closer Look at Alloy Wheels

If your top priority from your wheels is function (as mentioned above), then alloy is best. Most automakers today use alloy wheels over steel ones because of the benefits they provide. You will find that while function is a top feature of alloy wheels, they are also stylish and can be found in several designs and styles. You can also find this material of wheels in many sizes and with an array of finishes. Compared to steel wheels, alloy provides performance benefits too.

One of the top reasons that alloy wheels offer better performance than steel options is because they are lighter. This puts much less strain on your vehicle’s suspension, offers faster stopping and starting, and provides improved fuel economy. If you are driving in more demanding conditions regularly, then choosing alloy is best. On rough terrain, alloy wheels can dissipate heat from different vehicle components, such as the brakes.

Even though there are many positives related to alloy wheels, they have some disadvantages, too. One of the main ones is that they can become dented, cracked, and damaged. Alloy is not as durable as steel, which means damage can occur. Another potential disadvantage is that alloy wheels are more expensive than steel wheels.

Taking a Closer Look at Steel Wheels

The biggest two advantages of steel wheels are that they are more durable and more affordable than alloy wheels. It is virtually impossible to crack or damage a steel wheel. This makes it ideal for vehicles operating in rugged conditions. Also, steel wheels will not rust if the surface is covered in paint. While this is true, steel wheels can bend or dent, but these issues can be resolved by using a hammer to restore the proper shape.

While steel wheels are durable and affordable, they also have certain drawbacks. For example, they don’t offer the high style that alloy wheels do. Another disadvantage is that steel wheels are heavier than alloy wheels. This can reduce your vehicle’s center of gravity, which is going to cause more wear and tear on your vehicle’s suspension system.

What Option Is Right for You?

When deciding between alloy and steel wheels, you have a few things to consider. As you can see from the information above, alloy wheels are stylish but expensive. Steel wheels offer superior durability and are more affordable. It’s up to you, but this information should help you decide what is right for your vehicle.