Aluminum V Steel Rims


Which is better Aluminum or Steel rims? I have a Volvo V40, 2002 and this is the second time where I have to replace my rims. Should I stay with the Aluminum or switch to the steel rims?


obviously change to steel


What is causing the wheel failure? I have the original alloy wheels on both of my Jeeps with thousands of miles of offroad use and no additional care other than washing them whenever I wash the cars. They still look good after 10 years. One thing that I have found about steel wheels is that they will dent relatively easily. Alloy wheels may be prone to crack but usually it’s a much harder hit than required to bend a steel wheel and the steel wheel would have become useless anyway. If you have extremely low aspect ratio tires and hit a lot of potholes, probably nothing will stand up.


Well you have three choices.

  1. Steel: strong, cheap and light

  2. Typical Alloy: not as strong, heavier, more expensive, looks neat (but not any better than nice wheel covers IMO) and shorter life.

  3. Top quality Alloys, strong, light, good looks and expensive!!


Alloy wheels are a great fashion item; the original intent was to reduce unsprung weight (using magnesium), but today’s alloy whells weigh more than steel ones. Alloy wheels require more care as well. Moy choice is steel wheels (cheap) with plastic covers, which I can change every few years due to their low cost. They are also very light and minimize unsprung weight. And I can stay in fashion!


Do you live in an area that uses salt in the winter?

We have alloy rims on our minivan and they are badly damaged from the salt. Some are more susceptible than others though; My old K5 had 18 year old alloy rims and they held up great even with severe off-road use and 18 years of Maine winters. Maybe it’s the quality of clear-cote?