Snow Tires

Last week Tom & Ray talked to a woman who had moved to Toronto and was new to snow driving. They said get steel wheels and mount snows–her car had alloy wheels. This was on the radio as I left my tire place where they had just mounted snow tires on my Subaru alloy wheels. What’s the reason for steel wheels? Secondly, my tire guy said 3 of 4 of my wheels were missing the center cap. I thought he meant the wheel covers, but they’re ok. He had said it was difficult getting them balanced. Anyone know what this means? thanks.

Getting your winter tires mounted on a separate set of steel wheels speeds up the switchover process (I could do it in my garage the night before the first snow). It also cuts way down on the wear and tear that frequent tire removal and installation causes on your alloys. I don’t know what he meant about your center cap, if they’re still on the wheels.

What’s the reason for steel wheels?

Are you asking Why steel wheels or why wheels in general. You want to use separate wheels with the snow tires so you don’t keep unmounting and remounting tires on them twice a year…which includes rebalancing. Best to just mount the snows on a set of rims and keep them there.

As for why STEEL…One word…PRICE? Steel wheels are LOT cheaper then alloy wheels. Why spend several hundred dollars on expensive alloy wheels for “Winter Driving”. Alloy wheels look nice, but during the winter (in areas like Toronto) the tires are almost always messy.

Alloy wheels are more brittle in low temperatures than steel wheels, thus leading to cracking if you slide into a curb. Under the same circumstances, a steel wheel would merely bend slightly. Also, alloy wheels are more prone to corrosion from road salt than steel wheels that have a good coat of paint on them.

Then, there are the cost and convenience factors. While initial cash outlay for a set of steel wheels will run you some money, this will be more than recouped by not having to pay the extra cost twice a year to have your winter tires and summer tires demounted/mounted on the rims. Merely bolting on a set of tires premounted on wheels is far cheaper than having to pay twice a year for demounting/mounting. Also, all of the demounting/mounting takes its toll on the tire bead (the part that forms the airtight seal against the wheel rim. Eventually, the bead will wear out from all of that demounting/mounting.

And, rather than having to rely on a garage to do all of that demounting/mounting, you can take care of putting your pre-mounted winter tires on the car when you want to do it, rather than waiting in line for 4 hours when everyone else wants the garage to do the same thing.

Center Caps.

My past 3 vehicles had center caps…And I’ve lost one or two through out the years…but they were all just plastic…and NEVER interfered with balancing the tires…In fact they had to be removed to balance the tires.

Steel wheels give you an easy change over twice a year. In addition winter driving usually means potholes etc. Steel wheels hold up a lot better than all but the extremely expensive alloy wheels used on the professional racing circuit. Those wheels cost more than my whole car.

Don’t worry about your Subaru alloys. They are not delicate.

Steel wheels main reason for people wanting goes back to the days when alloy wheels were a luxury and delicate item on cars. Now they are quite common and robust. The truth is steel vs cheap(heavy) discounted alloys the cost is a wash especially as tire size diameters get larger.

The benefit of separate rims is cheaper changeover and sometimes you can downsize the wheel making snow tire more effective and tire cost cheaper.

Subaru alloys are quite tough wheels don’t worry about them. They are also cheap to replace in the used market.

Steel wheels main reason for people wanting goes back to the days when alloy wheels were a luxury and delicate item on cars.

I don’t know of ANY alloy wheels you can buy for $25. Bought them for my wifes sister (they NEED snow tires in Baldwinsville NY). The cheapest alloy wheel we could find for that vehicle was $90.