There comes a point in many car owners’ lives when they decide that their stock steel wheels aren’t good enough anymore. That’s when you walk into a car parts dealer and start looking around at all the shiny wheels on sale.
When you do this for the first time, it can be overwhelming. You’ll learn that you have plenty of options to choose from. And those choices go beyond what kind of design you want on those wheels.
When it comes to wheels, you’ll also want to decide between alloy wheels vs steel wheels. But that’s not an easy choice to make.
Before you decide on which one to buy, go through this article. Here, we’ll look at the significant differences between steel wheels and alloy wheels. Then, we’ll share some thoughts on which one is better than the other.
When you go wheel shopping, one of the choices at your disposal is alloy wheels.
What are alloy wheels?
The reason they’re called alloy wheels is that alloys are a combination of a metal with other elements. When it comes to alloy wheels, we’re talking about magnesium or aluminium with additional elements mixed in.
Alloy wheels provide several benefits, mainly in terms of how they’re stronger than pure-metal wheels. Aside from that, they’re lighter, and they are much more visually appealing.
These wheels aren't all about looks, though, they offer performance benefits as well.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of alloy wheels, and hopefully, you’ll see why they often cost more than regular wheels.
Pros & Cons of Alloy Wheels
Like any other car part, alloy wheels come with a sundry list of pros and cons. Here are just a few of them.
Pro: Complex designs
One reason that people love alloy wheels is that they can accommodate various designs. When you combine a metal like magnesium or aluminium with other elements, it also has the added benefit of resulting in many exotic designs.
That means that you can shop around for alloy wheels that complement your car’s design. Not only do these wheels help the car perform better, but they also add to the overall aesthetics of the vehicle.
Pro: Lighter in weight, better performance
These two pros go hand-in-hand. Alloy wheels weigh so much less than their steel counterpart, which leads to better performance.
How? Well, lighter wheels contribute to faster acceleration and also make it much easier to bring the car to a halt.
So, if you’re struggling to justify the cost of buying new alloy wheels, you can always think of it as a 2-in-1 performance and aesthetic upgrade for your vehicle.
Con: Higher cost
Nothing comes for free, and that’s especially true with the value that you get from alloy wheels. Better designs and improved performance means that the price tag for alloy wheels is significantly higher than those made of steel.
While that’s true, it’s always useful to remember that the premium price isn’t for nothing. You do get a lot of value from your investment.
Con: Easier to crack
Unfortunately, the nature of alloy wheels includes the fact that they crack a lot easier than steel wheels. So, you might want to be extra careful around situations where you might expose your wheels to hard impact.
Alloy wheels are pretty impressive, but good ol’ steel wheels are still a worthy competitor. These kinds of wheels are straightforward: manufacturers take a solid piece of steel and carve the centre of the wheel out of it.
Then, they take a secondary piece of steel which they then weld together into the steel wheels that we all know and love today.
Now, let’s look at the pros and cons of steel wheels. As you’ll see, they offer a lot of value which is why it’s sometimes hard to decide if it’s better or worse than alloy wheels.
Pros & Cons of Steel Wheels
Pro: More Affordable
With simplicity comes affordability. Steel wheels do cost a fair bit of change, but they’re much cheaper than alloy wheels, that’s for sure.
Pro: Easier to Repair
If your car’s steel wheels were to suffer any hard impact or superficial damage, getting them fixed is super easy. All you’d have to do is hammer the bent parts back into shape.
If you tried to whack an alloy wheel with a hammer, you’d probably end up breaking it into pieces!
Again, remember that steel wheels are quite literally carved out of solid steel. So, they weigh a lot more than alloy wheels.
With that added weight comes slower acceleration. Plus, once that wheel is in motion, the inertia will make it tougher to bring that wheel to a complete stop.
Con: Limited designs
Overall, you can see that steel wheels are not as fancy as their alloy counterparts. So, some buyers might find that steel wheels are too dull for their liking. It’s harder to shape a steel wheel into stylish designs.
So, if you were planning on expressing yourself through the wheels on your car, you might want to go with alloy wheels instead of steel.
Which Is Better, Steel or Alloy Wheels?
So, which is better: alloy wheels or steel wheels? You probably already know what I’m going to say. It all depends on your preferences.
I’m biased towards steel wheels because they’re straightforward and no-nonsense. I love solid things; things that I don’t have to worry about damaging whenever I run over a pothole. So, for me, the answer is steel wheels.
But that’s just me.
If you prefer something with a bit more flash in its design, a wheel that also adds to the car’s overall performance, then an alloy wheel is the way to go for you.
Whether you’re looking for alloy wheels or steel ones, a great place to buy them is Carpart.com.au. Start your search in the marketplace for used parts and gain bigger savings. Or, you can use the Parts Finder to send out a request to suppliers all across Australia.
In no time, you’ll get your hands on some shiny alloy or steel wheels that’ll look fantastic on your car!
By Ray Hasbollah