Steel Wheels vs Aluminum Wheels

1-800EveryRim OEM Wheels Weighs In on the Difference between Alloy Wheels and Steel Wheels

One commonly asked question by car owners is what's better, steel or alloy? Let's break down the two by the differences in weight, style, maintenance, and price:

Comparing Steel Rims with Alloy Wheels


By nature, alloy wheels are lighter than steel due to the material used for their production. However, most factory original alloy wheels weigh more than steel rims because those options tend to be a larger diameter and width. When it comes to maneuvering your car, the heavier the wheel the better traction you will have, especially in areas with heavy snow, while the lighter wheel will allow you to accelerate more quickly and make sharper turns. The difference in density makes a steel wheel stronger in comparison to alloy rims and so steel rims are less likely to bend or crack than alloy. 


Comparing Alloy Wheel Styles with Steel Rims

When it comes to comparing and contrasting steel and alloy wheels, people will often prefer alloy because they look better. Aluminum is more malleable, allowing manufacturers to get creative when designing the wheels. The density of steel results in a disadvantage in this regard, hence the plain design. However, to make up for the plain steel, plastic hubcaps are utilized to give the rim a stylish look similar to an alloy wheel. Of course, hubcaps can potentially fall off of vehicles due to the heat and expansion rims experience during use. In recent years alloy rims have been appearing in different finishes that expand beyond traditional silver such as chrome, matte finishes, hypers, and more intricate CNC machine finishes. 


All wheels are susceptible to wear and tear over time, such as rusting or scrapes. But as we’ve mentioned before, some are more prone to than others. Steel rims are prone to rust in damp climates. Alloy wheels are prone to corrosion, especially in moist areas with a lot of salt. Repairing a corroded alloy wheel is much more difficult because once the wheel has started to corrode, it’s often irreversible and will get worse, causing tires to leak air. Learn more about wheel corrosion and solutions to it here. Another worry of maintaining alloy wheels is what cleaning solution to use. Due to the many different finishes, alloy rims can come in, different solutions must be used in order to not damage the finish. Steel rims do not require as much precaution as most have a standard black or silver paint or powder coat applied. 


Steel wheels are almost always the less expensive option than aluminum alloy wheels, partly because production is simpler than alloy. This makes steel rims a great replacement wheel. Many models today won’t have a spare rim, so many drivers will opt to buy a steel wheel as a backup.

How we can help

Our OEM wheel experts can help you decide which wheel is best for you and your car’s needs. You can also take advantage of our reconditioning services. We will always let you know if the wheel is repairable or if it is simply easier to replace the wheel altogether. You won’t make a mistake, we simply won’t let you! 

Since 2007, 1-800EveryRim has been one of the leading OEM wheel companies dealing in new take-offs, reconditioned wheels, and used rims. You can buy or sell your wheels using our efficient RimText system by texting pictures of wheels to 951-RimText (951-746-8398), calling 1-800-383-7974, or emailing Sales@1800EveryRim. We also wholesale wheels! Create an online account with us at and take advantage of our live inventory, expert tech notes, and quick and easy ordering.