If you are a huge fan of car modification, you already have heard the name of alloy wheels. They were originally a symbol of aristocracy in high-end car models.
But from the turn of the century, the wheels companies are producing them in a more budget friendly way for all kinds of compact, sub-contact and budget cars.
So, without any further ado, let us now dive into the details of this luxurious wheel model.
What do you mean by Alloy Wheels?
The word “alloy” refers to a metal which is the mixture of two or more metallic elements. This new kind of metal is made with a view to giving it greater strength and more corrosion-resistance than the original element.
Alloy wheels are wheels basically made from an alloy of aluminum or magnesium. The alloy of aluminum and magnesium are popular for better heat conduction and outstanding appearance than the steel wheels.
For being an alloy of aluminum, one of the lightest metals, the wheels are also lightweight than their steel counterparts. Less weight accelerates better gripping and control of the car. It also reduces the overall mass of the vehicle, which reduces fuel consumption.
It also wonderingly provides excellent wheel model that helps to emit heat from the brakes and prevents brake failure due to overheating in extreme conditions. Alloy wheels are greatly admired for their braking performance and suspension control.
Although most of the wheels are designed for better corrosion-resistance, some cheaper alloys may fail in this test. Even some pricey alloys can be subjected to galvanic corrosion.
Alloy wheels vs Normal wheels
I will definitely prefer alloy wheels to the daily used steel wheels when a question regarding weight arises. Alloys are best known for their marvelous lightweight design whereas steel wheels are heavier than them to a great extent.
Steel, which is itself a combination of iron and carbon, is much weightier than an alloy of aluminum and magnesium. This reduction of weight provides great advantage in case of handling and upliftment of the performance of the concerned vehicle.
Suspension is the system that connects a vehicle to its wheels and allows relative motion between the two. The heavier the wheels are, the less jerk handling capacity the vehicle gets.
Lighter wheels improve handling by reducing unsprung mass and provides less inertia to the suspensions. But the heavier steel wheel does the opposite. That’s why I will also put alloy wheels ahead in the case of improved vehicle performance.
A proverb goes that, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But here alloy wheels come saying, “Hold my beer!”. If you want to give a marvelously aesthetic and classy look to your favorite vehicle, then steel wheels do not even get a chance to compete with alloy wheels. By increasing its external beauty, alloy wheels make your vehicle quite a stand out in a crowd.
Alloy wheels are way more ahead in terms of fuel consumption rate than that of the steel wheels. As I have already mentioned, alloy wheels are lighter than steel wheels, they consume less fuel and provide more mileage than their steel counterparts. It’s certainly helpful for your fuel economy and reduces monthly traveling expenses.
Corrosion and Rust
Although alloy wheels are famous for their rust-free characteristics, all wheels for value are not corrosion-resistant. Without being sealed with paint and wheel covers, they can easily get rusty just like the steel wheels. But, if painted with the wheel covers, the alloy wheels can remain rust-free for 3-5 years of usage.
Alloy wheels have been originally made for high end vehicles as a sign of aristocracy. Though the wheel companies tried to make budget friendly alloy wheel models, they are still a bit expensive than the steel wheels. In the case of value, steel wheels are comparatively cheaper and most widely used than most other wheels on the market.
What are premium Wheels?
Though it may sound quite astonishing but people have been craving to know what a premium wheel is for a long time. But the thing that may disappoint you is that “premium wheels” are no different species of wheels that the alloy ones are.
When you buy a new vehicle, you get the factory-built wheels with them without any extra cost. But some vehicles can also give you the option of upgrading the factory-built wheels to an upper level. This newly upgraded wheels are called the “premium wheels”.
In other words, you get a standard wheel from a manufacturer that comes free with the car but when you add chrome to those wheels, you have to pay a premium for it. Normally, the premium wheels are bigger than the standard wheels but it doesn’t have to be.
For your better understanding of what I’ve said so far, I will give you a more clarifying example. Suppose, you bought a car with 15 inches standard wheel but you have the option of upgrading it to a 20 inches alloy wheel. For doing this you have to pay an extra $5,000 premium. So, you can call the newly upgraded wheels as premium wheels.
Some manufacturers may also label some specific wheels as the premium ones. They will be more expensive, attractive and high-end type, the reason for getting tagged as the premium. An alloy wheel can also be a premium wheel.
Alloy Wheels vs Premium Wheels
Basically, there is no difference between an alloy wheel and a commercially tagged alloy as the premium wheel. The premium wheels having an extra enamel to the surface, attracts people towards its appealing elegance. It serves no special engineering function but mere aesthetic looks and acts as an eye-candy!