The Difference Between Alloy And Steel Wheels


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Wheels are essential components in every vehicle. These days, there are a number of different materials used in fabricating these from carbon fiber to a plastic and rubber compound mix. Two of the most popular varieties are alloy and steel wheels.

But which one is the far better option? Both of these wheel types are available from have their fair share of pros and cons. When a driver is concerned with beauty and performance, alloy wheels work best. In the case of a wheel requirement calling for toughness, durability, and inexpensiveness, steel wheels should be considered.

Most cars now come with alloy wheels as a standard inclusion not only because they offer both a good look and quality performance but also because these can be worked into so many designs. Alloy is a material that is quite easy to cast offering easy customizability when it comes to wheels. And unlike steel, this is a much lighter material making the wheel more agile and accommodating of a greater level of acceleration.

Unlike their steel counterparts, being lightweight allows the alloy wheels to bend with ease when they are exposed to road impact. But as they lessen the shock felt by the driver or passengers, the wheel becomes vulnerable to cracking via over bending. Although different finishes can be applied to alloy wheel, these become more vulnerable to cosmetic damage including corrosion and scratches.

As for steel wheels, they are known for their unsprung weight. This is because the heaviness of the material means that the suspension springs cannot support the weight entirely. This is why even the smallest change in the weight carried by the vehicle can have a strong effect on how the ride feels.

Steel wheels are probably the heaviest types of wheels there are. The weight easily dampens the agility not to mention the acceleration capabilities of the vehicle. Cars are much more difficult to drive. Seemingly undesirable in most conditions, this tank-like feature is actually beneficial when vehicles are driven across wet or snowy roads.

Even if they are heavier than their alloy counterparts, the added weight makes steel wheels stronger. More force is required to bend them and it is almost impossible for these to crack. Cosmetic issues also do not exist for steel wheels because of their utilitarian design. Drivers that favor larger wheels will also have a problem with the steel types as these can only be made with a 17-inch diameter at the largest.