Out of many features which one considers while buying a new car, alloy wheels are perceived to be a novel and premium feature, which adds to the cost of a vehicle. There has been a long debate about which one of the two is better – alloy wheels or steel wheels.
Here, we have brought a comprehensive comparison of the positives and negatives of both alloy wheels and steel wheels, and let you know which one is the better option for your use:
How are alloy wheels better than steel wheels?
Enhances handling – An alloy wheel is comparatively lighter in weight as compared to a steel wheel of the same size. This enhances the handling and cornering characteristics.
Enhances fuel economy – In addition to bettering the handling of the vehicle, the light-weighted nature of alloy wheels also enhances the fuel efficiency of the vehicle by a small margin, due to lower unsprung mass.
Lesser load on suspension – The lightness in the weight of the alloy wheels also puts less strain on the suspension setup, while driving over a non-uniform patch of road. This keeps the vehicle stable and allows for faster acceleration while on the move.
Look better – As compared to steel wheels which have a single and very functional design, there are multiple designs in which the alloy wheels can be configured. This makes the vehicle look better as well.
How are steel wheels better than alloy wheels?
Lesser expensive – In comparison to alloy wheels, steel wheels have simpler construction, because of which they cost much lesser to manufacture and buy. This is the reason why entry-level cars are armed with steel wheels, just to keep the costs down.
More durable – Apart from being cost-effective, the steel wheels are also more durable in the long run and are easier to repair. If there is a dent in a steel wheel, it is much easier to repair it.
Can absorb more shocks – If your driving cycle involves consistent driving over rough roads, the steel wheels perform better in shock absorption due to their more durable build.
Better performance in snowy terrains – As steel wheels are heavier than alloy wheels, the additional weight of the former increase the friction of the vehicle while driving on snowy terrains, which helps in achieving better grip levels.
Negatives to keep in mind
For alloy wheels – If there is a dent or crack in an alloy wheel, it cannot be repaired and eventually it needs to get replaced. Also, the replacement costs of an alloy wheel are much higher than a steel wheel.
For steel wheels – Due to the unsprung weight of the steel wheels, they offer lower acceleration and fuel economy figures. In addition to this, they are not suitable for wheels measuring 16-inches or above, as they increase the weight of the motorcycle considerably.
Which one of the two you should go for?
If you are driving an entry-level car that runs on a wheel size of 15-inches or below, and want a more durable option that is cheaper to buy and repair, the steel wheels are the ones in which you should invest. However, if you are driving a slightly more premium car running on a wheel size of 15-inch or above and don’t mind spending extra for an enhanced driving experience, visual aesthetics and fuel economy, it’s better to get yourself alloy wheels.