It is always hard to choose between the right kinds of wheels. The probable question that might hit on your mind is whether your vehicle is suited for the steel wheels or the alloy ones’.
Both the wheels come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. We will discuss some facts and figures about wheel types.
History of Wheels
In around 3500 BC, it is said people started using long round woods to transport heavy items in Mesopotamia by joining together the logs, can’t be counted as wheels but are rollers the primitive wheels.
Then by 2000 BC, Egyptians developed spoke wheels for the chariots which gave them more speed and stability. By 1000 BC, iron rims were introduced.
In 1802, Mr. G.F. Bauer patented the first wire tension spoke, and later the wire is replaced with round tension spoke as we use in bicycles.
Then a major evolution came are the disc wheels in which steel rime and metal disc are joined together to form the strong, durable and economical wheel. From there the steel wheels, alloy wheels and much more to come in line. Let us focus on steel and alloy wheels.
Steel wheel centre is made from a single piece of steel and is fitted inside the second piece – the rim, which is made from other pieces and cast around the centre to form the wheel. The jolted single wheel is then polished and coated.
Advantages of Steel Wheels
Durability – Steel wheels are strong and need very low or zero maintenance. With periodical coating, this will roll a lifetime. The forged steel is to hard to get damaged or deformed and even if something happened it can be restructured very easily and can be used further.
Economical – As the manufacturing process is way too easy, steel wheels are available at a very less cost in the market. As we already talked about the durability, chances of changing steel wheels can happen only once in a blue moon. So for a customer who needs a long life for wheels will go for steel wheels only.
Stability – The average weight of a single is around 10 Kg and this mass helps the vehicle in its stability. This weight offers a better grip on the roads and besides the wheel can carry great weight with stability. Whether you are hitting the road on a rainy season or a poor overall road condition, steel wheels have got you covered. With a heavier weight and a better overall weight distribution, steel wheels can run over any possible surface.
Cons of Steel Wheels
Efficiency – Unsprung weight is the combined weight of the suspension, connected elements, and wheels. As steel wheels are heavier, it increases the unsprung mass and it eventually influences acceleration, speed, and fuel economy.
Aesthetics – Steel wheels can’t offer much beautification enhancements. Different, yet very limited models were cast out for they are more into economical and utility side. Still, there are different types of wheel covers available in the market to make the steel wheels a better look.Alloy Wheels
Alloys are a mixture of metal and other elements. The alloy used for wheel manufacturing is a mixture of aluminium or magnesium. The main advantage of an alloy is its strength and lightweight. During initial times magnesium alloy was used for wheels but later changed to aluminium alloys because of their advantages.
Advantages of Alloy Wheels
Performance – An alloy wheel weighs around 6 Kg only. This, in turn, reduces the unsprung weight and helps the vehicles to accelerate faster and perform better efficiency.
Heat dissipation – Alloys have got way better heat dissipation quality and this property helps the braking system to release heat in a faster way. This improves the braking performance and life of brake components.
Aesthetics – Alloy wheels are easy to craft into different designs without losing strength. Another best thing about the alloy wheels is that they can be polished, pained, machined and even chromed to get the customized look you have always craved for.
Cons of Alloy Wheels
Strong but brittle – Alloy wheels are very strong compared to weight but at the same time they are brittle, ie easy to break. Alloy wheels tend to get cracked in hits and repairing them is almost impossible. So the maintenance of alloy wheels is a factor of concern.
Maintenance – The alloy tends to galvanic corrosion, it same as that of rusting in iron. Forged steel is also prone to rust but with even paint coating, it is way too durable. But in the case of alloy wheels, we need to keep them neat and clean to avoid corrosion.
Highly-priced – Alloy wheels are priced high for the production cost, designs, and overall performance. Considering the cons above mentioned, having alloy wheels is a costly business.
At the end of the tunnel, it is you who is going to determine which one to choose. So, if you prefer high performance along with better looks and quality, then alloy wheels are the perfect option for you. But, if you are a daily driver who wants to get their job done without making a fuss about it, steel wheels must be your goto option.
Many car manufacturers have both wheel options for most of the models. Pay a visit to your nearest car dealer to have better know-how on the details.