Car manufactures have long dabbled with producing non-ferrous wheels to mitigate against the drawbacks of their ferrous counterparts, and so alloy wheels were born. Alloy wheels were the trend in the post war era, however, they soon ran out of fashion and lost favour with manufacturers. Up until recently.
What are alloy wheels
Alloys are mixtures of two or more metals. When this mixture is used to manufacture a car’s wheels, the wheels are thus called, alloy wheels. The metal of choice in the automotive industry is often aluminium and magnesium. But are they better than the popular steel wheels? Let us deduce, shall we?
Better brake performance
An alloy of magnesium and aluminium (the alloy of choice in the automotive industry) has a better heat conduction than steel. In layman terms, an amount of heat will go through the entire body of the alloy faster than it will go through steel. Now, when you drive your vehicle and suddenly hold the brakes, the friction between the car and the ground produces heat, and the faster the heat moves across the wheel, the faster the brake would hold. That’s the idea anyway.
An alloy of aluminium and magnesium is much lighter than steel and this reduces the overall weight of the car. A reduction in weight would result in better performance of the car, and a reduced fuel consumption.
Yep! Alloy wheels are super good looking.
They are expensive
There’s a reason why they are seldom included as standard equipment. Alloy wheels cost significantly more to produce than steel wheels, which is a major turn off for many of us.
Susceptible to corrosion
Okay, so are steel wheels, but still? The reactivity of the magnesium in the alloy means it readily reacts with air and water, causing corrosion of the alloy wheels, and making the tires susceptible to punctures. Ouch.
So what do you think? Is it worth pimping your ride with an alloy wheel? Or would you rather stay put with steel wheels?