Many drivers choose alloy wheels for their cars mainly due to their original design. The aggressive, sporty look attracts attention and emphasises the character of the car. However, they are quite costly and paying just for the image may seem a little extreme. Are alloy wheels purely an aesthetic accessory?
Cars with alloys often look better than those with steel wheels.
Yes, there is more to it than looks alone. Apart from providing a great look, they also have a significant impact on the functioning of your car. They are important in defining the rigidity of wheels, proper functioning of the suspension system and even the braking system. Properly aligned alloys can provide safety and comfort on your daily travels.
I want to buy alloy wheels!
Alloy wheels are much lighter than those made of steel. Are you sure?
A prevalent belief among drivers is that alloy wheels are much lighter than their steel counterparts. However, this is not as obvious as it might seem at first glance. In the manufacture of alloy wheels in smaller sizes, more material is used to achieve the required durability. As a result, alloy wheels can actually be heavier than steel wheels. In the case of larger wheels (above 18 inches), the choice is practically limited to alloy models, which feature better strength parameters than their steel counterparts.
The lightest wheels are used in motor sport. They are manufactured using advanced flow-forming and forging processes. They can be found in the product portfolio of such well-known manufactures as OZ Racing, Sparco, ATS and Speedline.
Their weight is important, as the wheels are non-suspended components (unsupported by the suspension system), and therefore more vulnerable to shocks from the road and forces generated while cornering. Properly optimised loads contribute to more precise steering and better cornering.
Watch our video and learn how to find the best alloy wheels for your car!
Are alloy wheels less resistant to damage?
Another myth relating to alloy wheels is that they are less resistant to mechanical damage. What in point of fact distinguishes alloy wheels is their structural flexibility.
Aluminium is more elastic than steel and this increased plasticity provides better absorption of loads and protects (to some extent) the rim against damage. Light-alloy wheels are much more durable and more resistant to mechanical damage than steel products.
Modern alloy wheels offered by top manufacturers, e.g., Borbet RE or ANZIO Light, enable drivers to use alloy wheels made of light metals all year round. Modern paint finishes offer high resistance to harsh winter conditions.
Buy Borbet RE alloy wheels!
Buy ANZIO Light alloy wheels!
Design more open to innovation
The flexibility of aluminium has an additional advantage. The properties of this material facilitate its low-pressure casting, ensuring more precise filling of the mould, increasing the attractiveness of the products and their better performance. Manufacturers can freely shape the wheels, giving them individual character.
The use of high-pressure hydraulic presses reduces the volume of the rim and increases the durability of the products. Higher plasticity may also reduce the weight of the model without losing its its properties.
Optimised volume and better workability when forming wheel shoulders and spokes enable alloy wheels to adapt better to the driving style of their users. It is particularly noticeable for those who like dynamic and sporty driving
Good to remember!
Using high-quality protective agents and regular care are extremely important in the maintenance of alloy wheels. Negligence may lead to surface scratches and abrasions. In such case, restoring the attractive look is quite expensive and requires the services of a renovation specialist.
Alloy wheels and the braking system — do they cooperate?
The proper selection of wheels is not only a matter of looks.
Properly optimised five-spoke wheels, like ALUTEC Grip, or those with an openwork structure, like ANZIO TURN POLAR, better allow a flow cooling air, thereby preventing excessive friction and overheating of the individual components in the braking system.
Buy ALUTEC Grip alloy wheels!
Buy Anzio TURN POLAR alloy wheels!
Alloy wheels and the rigidity of the suspension system
It is also worth mentioning that the properties of aluminium make it more rigid than steel. The additional strength of good-quality alloy wheels may significantly reduce the deviation of wheels while cornering. This is particularly important in the case of cars equipped with powerful engines and racing tyres which are subject to high forces.
The synergy between wheels and the chassis is extremely important.
Alloy wheels made of good alloy, e.g., BBS CH-R or OZ SUPERTURISMO LM BLACK, are appreciated by drivers who like dynamic and sporty driving.
Buy OZ SUPERTURISMO LM BLACK !
Buy BBS CH-R alloy wheels!
15” Alloys, 16” alloys... How does one choose proper alloy wheels?
Selecting the size of your alloys may be quite a problem, even for an experienced driver. It’s a very important issue, as poorly matched wheels may have a negative impact on the suspension system and condition of the tyres. Therefore, we recommend that you know the most important parameters:
Wheel width – this is a very important feature. Not only in terms of matching it with the tyres, but also from a legal point of view. According to the law, no part of a wheel may exceed the outline of the car. If the rim is too wide, a scrupulous police officer may decide to confiscate the car’s registration, something which may be followed by some considerable costs.
Wheel size and low-profile tyres – installing wheels of a greater or smaller size than the original is not too demanding. Of course, the size range defined by the manufacturer must be observed, but you can successfully replace 14" wheels with 15" wheels and vice-versa. Most popular brands, such as Borbet, OZ, DOTZ or RACER, allow you to select different sizes of one model. Note, however, that larger wheel sizes require lower tyre profiles. Low-profile tyres are more susceptible to damage caused by surface irregularities. This is definitely worth bearing in mind when choosing the size of the wheel.
The diameter of the wheel must remain unchanged – regardless of the sizes of the tyres and rims, the diameter of the wheel must remain the same. If you fail to observe this rule, your tyres could get damaged by elements of the wheel arch or even negatively affect the condition of the chassis. Larger diameter tyres are subject to faster wear and deformations.
Watch our video and learn more about correct width of wheel rims!
Steel wheels — why are they cheaper?
Despite the slow equalization of market prices for steel and aluminium wheels, those made of light metal alloys are still relatively expensive. This can be quite deceptive too, because using steel models is often associated with additional costs.
The biggest advantage of alloy wheels is the way they look. Nothing could improve the aesthetics of your car more than an appropriately selected set of alloys. Most steel models are very similar to each other, mainly due to the low strength of this material, which does not allow for too much creativity.
The effect can be enhanced by choosing appropriate hubcaps. It is important to remember that if we wish to purchase aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting hubcaps, we should go for a branded product. Naturally, we can also choose cheaper and non-original products manufactured in Asia, which sometimes also feature some interesting designs.
High-end caps generate additional costs of using steel wheels.
Alloy wheels are less susceptible to the changing weather conditions and they don’t age so quickly because they are a bit more resistant than their steel counterparts. On the other hand, the replacement of steel products is easier, which makes for cheaper service. In addition, renovating or refreshing them is much cheaper
Are alloy wheels suitable for all users?
The consumer interest in the alloy wheel market grows year on year. However, many drivers continue to choose steel wheels, despite their appreciation of the advantages provided by the alloy models. To a large extent, this is a result of an erroneous conviction that good-quality alloy wheels are costly.
However, this belief continues to be questioned. Of course, it is possible to invest several thousand to buy alloy wheels which were designed using ultramodern technologies and which feature durability reserved for wheels used in motor sport. Nonetheless, these are not our only options. Today, the cheapest alloy wheels are only slightly more expensive than steel wheels.
High-quality alloy wheels provide a satisfactory appearance and good performance, e.g., DEZENT TD, RONAL R46 or DOTZ Dakar dark and they are available at prices affordable for most drivers.
Buy DEZENT TD alloy wheels!
Buy RONAL R46 alloy wheels!
Check our Wheel configurator of steel and alloy wheels and select the appropriate model for you!