Which ones to choose in winter – aluminium or steel wheels?
Many drivers wonder if they should replace their aluminium wheels with steel ones in winter. Contrary to a common belief, the first ones are a better solution.
The most important point given by the supporters of using steel wheels in winter is the fact that alloy wheels corrode faster in difficult weather conditions and in contact with road salt. However, in reality, steel wheels are more exposed to corrosion. It is because we often scratch them when, for example, installing hubcaps.
Apart from that, aluminium wheels are better protected. They are not only varnished with a base colour coat, but also with an anti-corrosion primer. Thanks to that, an aluminium wheel is better protected from corrosion than a steel one, which does not have so many layers of varnish. However, remember that if you do not care for it properly, it may also be a subject to damage.
A point in favour of steel wheels, which is often used, is that in case of even a small skid, when the car stops on a kerb, wheels may be subject to damage and aluminium wheels are more expensive to repair. It is hard to deny that. Repairing aluminium wheels is surely more difficult and more expensive, but let’s not forget that they are more robust and harder to damage than the steel ones.
In winter season, aluminium wheels of complicated patterns should be avoided as it is harder to clean and preserve them. We also should not mount high-polished or chrome-plated wheels. Because of their thinner protective layer, they can be easily damaged and they can corrode more quickly in winter weather conditions.
It is not entirely true that aluminium wheels must be more expensive than the steel ones. You have to buy a few additional things for steel wheels, such as screws and hubcaps, which may mean a higher total amount than in case of a purchase of the cheapest aluminium wheels.
What should you do? An ideal solution is to buy not only two sets of tyres, but also two sets of wheels – for summer and for winter. In that way, we can avoid additional costs of their change, because we can change our wheels ourselves. – The cost of a second set of wheels is similar to the cost of a seasonal exchange of wheels for a period of 4-5 years. If you have another set of tyres, you can change them yourself at a convenient moment and do wheel balancing during the low season, when the queues are not as long – says Filip Biesek, the Coordinator of the Wheels Department of Oponeo.co.uk