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Steel vs Aluminum Wheels For Off-Roading – Which One Is Better?

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If you are planning on heading anywhere remote, you probably want to set up your vehicle to be as reliable and dependable as possible – like with steel or aluminum wheels. No one likes being stranded in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone signal. You might not know it, but the material your wheels are made from can play a big role in the dependability and adaptability of your vehicle. Thus the steel vs aluminum wheel debate… Both steel and alloy wheels have their pros and cons – in today’s article, we are diving deep into the facts of steel vs alloy wheels for off-roading. 

Steel vs Aluminum Wheels: Which One is Stronger?

steel vs aluminum wheels for off-roading

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Many people believe that steel wheels are stronger than their alloy counterparts – that’s not the case though.  Alloy aluminum wheels will take a harder impact before they crack, but when they do give, they cannot be repaired again.  Steel wheels tend to bend rather than split; so, when somewhere remote, they can be reshaped with a hammer and you are back on the road! 

Can I Find a Set in the Middle of Nowhere?

steel vs aluminum wheels off road

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No matter where adventure happens to take you, a steel wheel will be available when needed.  Aluminum wheels ones will be hard to come by in remote areas and it’s almost guaranteed that the one you’ll find won’t match the ones you have on now. 

What About Sizes?

How to get the right sized steel or aluminum wheels.

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Alloys have a far greater size availability. They can be found anywhere from 15 inches up to 22 or even 24 inches You don’t want to go with anything bigger than 18 inches when off-road though – you’ll probably destroy both the wheel and the tire. Because the market for steel wheels is mostly aimed at farmers, workers, or off-roaders, the only sizes available range from 14 inches to 18 inches

Steel vs Aluminum Wheels: Which One Won’t Break the Bank? 

Aluminum vs Steel Wheels: which one won't break the bank?

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When it comes to pricing, steel wheels win hands down. They can be found for under $100 and a good set will set you back $150 at most.  Alloys can range anywhere from $300 up to eye-watering prices. This is important for off-roading because a broken steel wheel will be cheap to replace – an alloy one will hurt the wallet. 

What if I Stay in a Shady Neighborhood?

steel vs alloy wheels 4wd

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Thieves probably won’t be interested in steelies. Those badass looking alloys though – man you’re in trouble.  If your neighborhood is so shady that the whole truck might get nicked, I am afraid steel wheels won’t make much of a difference. 

I’ll Do a Lot of Beach Driving – Which One Withstands Corrosion Best?

Which One Withstands Corrosion Best

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As I am sure you know, steel corrodes easily. Alloy wheels will withstand the test of time far better.  That being said, you can easily sand down a steel wheel and repaint it at home. The choice is yours. 

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Steel vs Aluminum Wheels: What About Hot Environments?

What About Hot Environments

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This might sound irrelevant, but on a hot summer’s day coming down a steep mountain road while towing a loaded camper trailer, the material of choice will be alloy. It absorbs heat slower, and can dissipate heat faster – keeping those brakes cool and your pants clean.

Are Alloys Lighter Than Steelies?

Are Alloys Lighter Than Steelies

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An alloy wheel is lighter than a steel one – the difference is not as big as you’d think though. What you should keep in mind is that over five or even six wheels (depending on the spares you carry) that little bit of extra weight from each wheel will add up. Generally speaking, an alloy wheel will give you better acceleration, braking, and suspension performance.  Although, if you are running 37s or even 35s the small difference in the weight of the wheel won’t be enough to provide any obvious performance gains.

What if I Want My Truck to Look Great?

Are aluminum wheels better than steel

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Here you will have to go with an alloy set. The design options are endless; therefore, picking the look you want for your specific build will be easy.  Steelies are steelies, they’re all pretty much the same. There is something about seeing a scratched-up 4WD on steelies though, it tells you that the owner likes going out on adventures and reliability is the number one priority. This is something to consider in the steel vs aluminum wheels debate.

Steel vs Aluminum Wheels: Which One Should I Go For?

steel vs alloy wheels off-road

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As always, it comes down to the same question. What is your 4WD going to be used for? Are you planning any remote trips? Or most of the driving you do is on-road and nearby trails? If you are someone who loves the aesthetic aspect of trucks and doesn’t head out too remote, then alloys are great. For remote travel, a steelie would be the option I would go for. It can be found and fixed no matter where you happen to be – that can be the difference between continuing your adventure or ending it there.  Let us know which one you will be choosing: steel vs aluminum wheels.

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