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What are the Advantages of steel vs. aluminum cars?

steel vs. aluminum cars

All vehicles must be mounted on tires. There are two basic options: aluminum / light metal or steel wheels. Does this really make a difference?

Let's go straight to the point. Weight is usually considered an advantage when talking about alloy wheels. The phrase "alloy wheels are lighter than steel wheels and therefore improve driving performance" is, nowadays, insubstantial. Of course, the main component of aluminum foam is a light metal and, therefore, is not as heavy as steel consisting mainly of iron. However, the thickness of the wall of modern steel wheels has been reduced so much due to advances in technology that the difference in weight is hardly noticeable. In particular, when a pure aluminum rim is combined with a large or wide tire, the weight argument is invalid. Of course, there are exceptions. The very, very expensive alloy wheels with magnesium (magnesium wheels) and the carbon wheels, Made of carbon fiber, they are ultra light, but also very expensive for personal use. They are mainly used in motor sports.


Steel wheels made of rolled steel are standard equipment, especially in small cars. Steel rims usually consist of two parts, the rim itself and the wheel disc. Both sides are welded so that stress and heat will not damage the joints. Alloy wheels are usually cast in one piece and then painted. If they are manufactured in two parts (the ring and the disc), both parts are screwed together. Another metal is added to the rim; for example, iron, to increase stability for those who believe that aluminum is too soft. It is correct to call alloy wheels, alusion alloy wheels.


Anyone who drives frequently on unpaved roads will do well to use steel wheels. This material is much more robust than light metal. Road salt will only visually damage the tires; the steel structure will remain intact. If the tire is hit hard against the sidewalk, it can usually be repaired relatively easily. Although steel rims are oxidized, only the surface of the rim is affected and the driving performance is not altered. The rust can be easily removed. Alloy wheels, however, are much more vulnerable to gravel, mud and road salt. At the moment when the material is struck lightly, surface scratches quickly appear on the transparent layer. If any fluid enters these scratches from the paint, the tire corrodes and becomes unstable. A deep bump can end the life of an alloy rim damaged in this way. The repair of alloy wheels is a bit complicated, sometimes impossible. An alternative for fans of alloy wheels: special, sturdier, winter tires are available for an additional price. However, these rims cannot compete (yet) with the stability of steel wheels.


Steel rims are cheaper than aluminum rims. If you do not want to give up alloy wheels, but at the same time you do not have much money, you could consider second-hand tires. When buying used alloy wheels, make sure they are not damaged. You will also have to see if there are superficial scratches. It is expected that these signs of use are present in the alloy wheels used, it is quite common. Its absence indicates work of embellishment and perhaps the defects are hidden. 

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