Cars, bikes, motorcycles, trucks, they all need wheels. As one of humanity’s first inventions, we must take a moment to truly admire how far this simple technology has evolved into what it is now.
Today, we have high-quality wheels made from a variety of materials. The two most prominent of these are steel and alloy.
You’ll find many enthusiasts argue on which one is the best. That’s why we’re here to put the steel vs. alloy wheels debate to rest once and for all.
We’ll go over what makes each of these wheels unique and show their own pros and cons.
Also, we’ll recommend some of the finest products of each type. You’ll find out everything you need to know before you buy your next wheel!
So, let’s get into the guide!
Table of Contents
Steel vs Alloy Wheels
You’re probably aware of all the differences and nuances of the two types already. Nevertheless, let’s briefly compare the two types directly.
Steel tends to be much more durable and harder to break. The material is also very long-lasting and easy to repair when you need to fix it.
On the other hand, alloy wheels are weaker. They are much easier to bend when under high pressure, and repairing could compromise many of the qualities that make them great. They’re also not as long-lasting because of it.
Weight and Control
Alloy is generally very light. This boosts your car’s control as it maintains the proper center of gravity. So, you can maneuver your vehicle better and receive boosted acceleration.
Steel is the opposite. Its weight makes a lot of maneuvers harder to do. Moreover, the acceleration is a lot slower due to the added weight. However, it’s good for snowy roads as the weight actually improves your control.
As stated before, allow rims tend to help your car run much smoother and faster.
This is due to the weight, but the design and layout contribute as well. Steel still remains heavy.
Although steel lasts longer, it’s also cheaper to buy and maintain. Alloy tends to be a lot more expensive and harder to keep.
Steel might be growing less popular as the years go by, but their utility and durability make them extremely valuable even today. Let’s see why.
We all know that nothing beats steel in terms of durability. They can handle the most abuse and still offer superb support and performance.
Their robust builds make destruction an impossibility. You’ll never see a cracked steel wheel; they’re just that tough.
Some will say that you can bend them. Sure, you can. But it takes so much force to do so you can rest assured it’ll barely ever happen.
Easy to Repair
It doesn’t take much to fix up a steel wheel. You can use a hammer to fix any dents without hampering its look.
This is because steel rims already give off a rough and tough look. So, you can eliminate signs of a tear with some paint.
Despite their longevity, durability, and low maintenance, they’re much cheaper than alloy wheels. So, they’re the perfect choice for anyone who wants an affordable and long-lasting wheel.
The increased durability comes at the cost of increased weight. This can affect your car’s center of gravity, which might ultimately decrease your car’s control and acceleration.
It’s hard to make interesting shapes out of steel while still retaining its performance.
That’s why they usually look pretty bland and boring. Different wheels also begin to look the same as well.
Recommended Steel Wheels to Buy
We’ve reviewed some of our favorite steel rims on the market in case they pique your interest. Read them through, and you’ll find a product that’ll suit your needs.
Dorman 939-174 Steel Wheel (16×6.5″/5x100mm)
There aren’t many brands that have revolutionized steel rims as much as Dorman.
Their 100 years-worth of metallurgy and precision engineering experience has made them one of the manufacturers of steel wheels.
Among everything they made, the 939-174 wheel stands out as a masterpiece.
Steel wheels are already durable, but Dorman takes it to a whole new level entirely. It can handle any kind of impact and barely show any damage.
That’s to the quality steel engineering Dorman offers in all their units.
This fantastic unit also supports a ton of weight and pressure with ease.
Heavy or light, it’ll carry you wherever you want to go with minimal issues.
Worried you might get something faulty?
Well, fear not! The brand prides itself on the fact that their quality control team is nearly unmatched.
They inspect each of their wheels rigorously to ensure that every customer gets a high-grade, high-power rim.
The smart construction and layout make the 939-174 a lot easier to install. They make an astounding fit and guides you to make the perfect installation really fast.
In case you have trouble, Dorman has a ton of walkthroughs online that will guide you through the entire process.
Like most steel wheels, it doesn’t look all that pretty. So, you might want to attach a cover to make it look nicer.
The 939-174 ensures easy direct fit replacement to do precisely that. Covers will fit a lot better and make your wheels and your car look absolutely stunning.
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Pacific Dualies 45-2960 19.5″ Stainless Steel Wheel
Many buyers are afraid to get a new type of tire. They might stick to their first brand of tires because they might worry that new models might not fit their car.
Of course, as long as you get the right size, the wheel will fit. However, brands like Pacific Dualies take this concern very seriously.
There’s nothing more tragic than having issues with the fitting when you buy a new wheel.
That’s Pacific Dualies employs a smart layout design that makes them fit easily. It makes installation smooth, easy, and fast. This is a testament to their fantastic plan.
What’s greater is its compatibility. Many car owners get annoyed by how they have to adjust their options based on their locking hubs.
You’ll need different layouts in case you have an automatic or manual hub. However, the 45-2960 is compatible with both!
Are you worried about mounting? Don’t be! The steel rim offers an incredible mounting design that makes the task ridiculously easy.
It’s so good that the Department of Transportation has given it their seal of approval. You rest assured knowing that the mounting is of top quality!
Usually, you’d expect steel rim to be tough. Though the 45-2960 takes it to a whole new level.
It utilizes premium-grade 304 stainless steel to offer the greatest deal of strength and durability.The spotless quality improves its aesthetics as well.
Pacific Dualies know that their products always deliver. That’s why they aren’t afraid to offer a lifetime warranty when it comes to their polish and workmanship.
So, there’s pretty much nothing for you to worry about while you get this superb steel rim.
Dorman 939-100 Wheel for Select Chevrolet/Pontiac Models
The last unit we’ll discuss is yet another Dorman wheel. We’ve already gone over what makes these wheels so great.
So, can anyone really blame us for including them twice? Everything about the 939-100, from its pristine durability to its intuitive design, makes earn a spot on this list.
We were outright amazed by how astounding the wheel’s quality is. But what’s more shocking is the price.
It’s so robust and durable yet so cheap; it’s almost unbelievable. The value for money makes it a cost-effective option when you go out wheel hunting.
Dorman utilizes a team of the best designers and engineers in the United States to create the most revolutionary design you’ll find. So, you can trust that the wheel will give you all the utility you could ask for.
Maybe you’re unsure about replacing your wheels. Worry not, as the wheel can be a direct replacement to specific stock wheels for quite a lot of cars.
That way, you won’t have to worry about the wheel changing the things you want static.
Of course, you must make sure that the wheel will fit your car. Thankfully Dorman offers a system that’ll allow you to find the perfect fit.
With that out of the way, you get to ensure the size and attach your wheel worry-free.
All of these make this wheel nothing short of something absolutely fantastic.
It upholds the unbeatable quality that makes Dorman unique while also delivering excellent fitting options and a spectacular price!
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The alloy has become the material of choice for most modern cars. There’s a lot of reasons behind its rise to popularity.
However, they do have drawbacks. So, let’s go over what these rims have to offer.
When it comes to aesthetics, alloy wheels are the best you’ll find. The material offers much more flexibility.
Manufacturers can get more creative with how they can shape the wheels to make them more appealing. That’s simply impossible for steel wheels.
This is actually one of the biggest reasons why these wheels are so popular. Cars look a lot better when the wheels can have intricate and stylish designs that capitalize on the quality. So, if you want elegant, then alloy is the way to go.
Alloy tends to perform a lot better than their harder and heavier counterparts.
The lightweight makes them more suitable for control in most weather conditions.
It also increases acceleration as you won’t by dragging as much weight. So, the wheel offers a much faster and smoother driving experience as a result.
This is where the material begins to show some of its weaknesses. First off, the rims are more prone to damage.
On impact, they can twist and bend easily. This also means that they can absorb impact better to lessen the danger to the passenger.
Since they’re easier to damage, it can affect its appearance. Repairing becomes more expensive and difficult because of it.
Speaking of expenses, we have to mention that alloy costs more as well. However, it balances that cost through better aesthetics and performance.
Recommended Alloy Wheels to Buy
There are a ton of great alloy wheels on the market. It’s popular, after all. So, if you’re out to get one of these wheels, check out our recommendations. They’re some of the top models out there.
Dorman 939-632 Alloy Wheel
Many of you must have read about the 2 fantastic Dorman wheels from the steel wheel section.
They were absolutely fantastic models and might actually tempt you to get steel rims. But those who are on the alloy wheel side don’t have to worry. The 939-632 has you covered.
Look at the gorgeous painted finish. It exudes beauty and premium quality. However, the car isn’t all looks. The performance is nothing short of top-notch.
Dorman’s expert quality engineering gives them incredible control and speed.
The moment you start your car up, you’ll feel the ride becomes smoother, and the acceleration becomes faster.
This is because they always run each of their units through several tests, including radial and axial runout tests.
Like we’ve mentioned before, this is all thanks to the spectacular United States-based designing team. They’ve taken every measure to ensure more speed and control.It’s also very cheap, considering everything that it offers.
Compared to other alloy rims, the price is considerably lower. That’s such a great deal that you shouldn’t miss out on it.
Finally, we’ll talk about the fit. Dorman offers a ton of fitting options that ensure that you’ll get the right size no matter what car you have.
So, you won’t have to worry about getting a bad fit. They can even act as a direct replacement for certain stock wheels.
Ion Alloy 171 Polished Wheel
We don’t think many brands can make rims as pretty and affordable as Ion Alloy. Their 171 is a testament to that wonderous quality as the shine is nothing short of magnificent.
The polished aluminum will soothe any heart, and the incredible build-quality makes this nothing quick of a must-buy.
A lot of pretty alloy rims focus too much on looks and too little on durability.
They are naturally weaker than steel, but that doesn’t mean you should expect damages on every term. Ion Alloy manages to make something that’s built to last.
So, you get both looks and reliable quality in the bag. The layout, style, and design are a timeless classic that has elevated this brand to the top for 20 years. So, we know that it’s a design you’ll absolutely love.
They manufacture each unit with great care and attention to detail. Each rim is crafted to absolute perfection with the top-of-the-line hardware and technology to ensure whatever you get is the best in the industry.
Ion alloy does everything they can to assure top-tier compatibility. They have a huge range of sizes for you to choose from.
You’ll get the exact fitments, offsets, and backspacing you need to perfect your car.
The US-designed wheels are nothing short of something special. Their quality and utility are entirely unmatched.
Not to mention it’s gorgeous polish sets it apart from anything you’ll ever see.
ITP SS ALLOY SS212 Matte Black Wheel
Has there ever been a time when ITP disappointed with its spectacular designs?
They constantly churn out versatile, effective, and gorgeous alloy wheels. Their SS212 is an excellent example of what makes them so revered.
Whether you’re looking for durability, a gorgeous finish, weight support, or build, the SS212 has you covered. The superior cast processing technology lets them make top-tier wheels.
This quality lets them support a ton of weight too. It’s the very definition of a heavy-duty wheel.
The 12-inch ATVs are rated at 700 pounds. Thus, you get a ton of support for any car you need.
You won’t find a finish quite as gorgeous as this one. The black accents on the machined wheel fit wonderfully with the clear-coated finish.
It looks stellar on any car, and the overall design meshes with any type of vehicle.
If you want to get the best look, you’ll want to get the right wheel caps. Thankfully, the SS212 has a matching cap to maximize its appeal. It’s already a must-buy for aesthetics alone.
All-in-all, it’s a superb rim with fantastic utility and looks. It’s among the best you’ll find for heavy-work while still offering a significant performance boosts for a smooth and chill riding experience.
Ultimately, both of these rims have their own pros and cons. Steel is good in some ways; alloy rims are better in others.
Although alloys are more popular, the steel vs. alloy wheels is still prominent.
Go through the guide, and you’ll find what’s best for your car. So, head out and burn some rubber with your favorite wheels!