You may be wondering why most non-luxury cars come equipped with steel wheels instead of the cosmetically better alloy wheels. This article discusses some considerations that would make it better for you to equip your car with steel wheels instead of alloy wheels.
Lower Purchase Cost
Steel wheels are more affordable to buy when compared to alloy wheels. This is because alloy wheels are more complicated to make (such as requiring the mixing of aluminum with other expensive metals like nickel in order to make the wheel more shiny and attractive to look at). This elaborate production process makes the unit cost of alloy wheels high, and that translates to higher costs for you the buyer.
Better for Difficult Driving Conditions
Steel wheels are better suited for difficult driving conditions than alloy wheels. For instance, steel wheels are heavier, so the tyres will have better traction on a snowy road since that weight makes the tyres dig into the snow. Alloy wheels are lighter, so your car will have less traction on a snowy road, and that can make steering the vehicle more challenging. Steel wheels are also very tough, so it is harder for them to suffer cosmetic defects like scratches due to rubbing against a curb, unlike alloy wheels that can easily get cosmetic defects like chipping if they encounter similar challenges.
Easier to Repair
All wheels may be damaged if they are subjected to conditions beyond what they were designed to operate in. For instance, car wheels may bend during a motor accident that makes them hit a low wall at high speed. When that happens, it is much easier to repair steel wheels than it is to repair alloy wheels. This is because the toughness of the steel wheel makes it easy to hammer it back to its original shape, while the delicate nature of alloy wheels makes them harder to repair. The wheel has to be heated carefully under controlled conditions so that it can be reshaped to its original dimensions. This intricate process makes it more expensive to repair alloy wheels when compared to the cost of repairing steel wheels.
As you can see, steel scores very highly on functionality, so you should equip your car with steel wheels if the conditions in the discussion above apply to you. You can talk to a car service professional to recommend wheel caps for your steel wheels if you would like them to have a better cosmetic appeal.