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Wheels 101 – Alloy Wheels & Steel Wheels

When car shopping, you may often come across the option to have either alloy wheels or steel wheels installed, with the latter being the less expensive option. But the question remains: what's the difference between each type of wheel?

What are the Differences?

Traditionally, most car wheels were made of steel. They were durable and looked presentable. However, as technology and expectations progresses, steel wheels were no longer enough. In fact, they are considered to be slightly too heavy and not that good looking. Hence, when alloy wheels became available, they instantly took over as the new trend. Alloy wheels are different to steel wheels in a number of ways:

  1. Instead of steel, they are made of an alloy of aluminum or magnesium, sometimes a combination of both.
  2. Alloy wheels are usually significantly lighter than steel wheels.
  3. They tend to have greater strength compared to weight than steel wheels. In simpler words, alloy wheels deliver all the strength of steel wheels but with lighter weight, which in turn is always a bonus for performance.
  4. Alloy wheels have greater heat conduction, which in turn, means that they are more vulnerable in a fire.

Choosing between Alloy Wheels and Steel Wheels

For normal drivers, the benefits of alloy wheels are not significant enough to make a huge difference to the driving experience. However, for true motoring enthusiasts, they are persuasive, because lighter weight does matter to speed and power of cars. Furthermore, good alloy wheels make a visual statement (i.e. they can be really good looking), and this is important for many people who consider motoring a priority.

Making the Final Decision

Ultimately, your choice of wheel type will depend on your own aesthetics and aspirations. Alloy wheels tend to be significantly higher in price, which may be a major concern for many, thus, make steel wheels a better choice; but if price is not an issue to you and if you’re looking to have the ultimate driving experience, alloy wheels may be the clear choice. Either way, no matter what you choose, make sure you research the options in some detail before you make your choice, because you WILL be surprised by the huge number of choices available. Stay safe and happy car shopping!



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