Aluminum wheels are up to seven times more expensive than wheels made with steel. For this reason, alone, it is easy to see why so many auto manufacturers choose to produce their products with steel wheels- and also why so many people will replace wheels with steel when the time comes to do so.
However, the finest cars and trucks on the market come with aluminum wheels, and automobile aficionados in the know also choose aluminum- because of one simple reason- aluminum is superior.
Aluminum comes with a lower cost of ownership. By dropping upwards of a hundred pounds of hauling weight, any vehicle will enjoy better gas mileage with aluminum wheels installed. Vehicles with aluminum wheels have better stopping and starting capabilities- a serious consideration in performance cars.
Aluminum wheels exert less inertia when they spin. That means, in addition to being easier to bring to a stop, they will also impose less wear and tear on your braking system.
Wheels made from aluminum are also dominating the off-road market. Serious off-roading vehicles need larger rims and fatter tires than street vehicles, and for this- aluminum is just better. This has a lot to do with the fact that when steel bends and breaks- the result is far more serious than an aluminum break. But it’s also because the size requirement of off road wheels means you’ll be packing on a huge amount of weight by using steel wheels
Steel Wheels may have been a great Rolling Stones album- and it may roll off the tongue better than ‘Aluminum Wheels’- but when it comes to the overall cost of ownership- and performance- aluminum takes the prize.
Of course, as we have said, aluminum is expensive. The sticker price alone can send frugal shoppers packing. However- over the life of your vehicle- aluminum is well worth the investment. It’s going to be easier on your gas budget and keep your car or truck out of the shop much better that steel.