Car manufacturers traditionally provided steel wheels, until weight and looks become more of an issue for car owners. Enter alloy wheels—typically made of aluminum combined with another metal, such as magnesium (that’s where “mag wheels” comes from). Nickel or some other combination of these light metals are also common. In addition to their light weight, the benefits of alloy rims include:
Alloy wheels lighter weight means better steering and handling. There’s less weight to muscle into a turn, and alloy makes for better cornering and steering. The lighter weight puts less stress on the suspension, too. Because they’re lighter, alloy wheels allow your car to accelerate faster as well.
Less weight means better gas mileage. With tighter fuel economy standards, automakers have tried to find every possible part to lighten up in weight and using aluminum alloys to make the wheels is one of the main ways they do it.
Alloy wheels cool off faster than steel wheels, and as a result, cause less heat stress on the brakes. Plus, alloy wheels don’t “hop” as much as steel wheels when braking, so they have better traction.
Steel rusts, even if it has a protective coating. The slightest scratch can allow water to get under the coating and start the oxidation of iron in the metal, resulting in rust that then spreads. Aluminum alloys don’t rust, and when aluminum corrodes, it actually creates aluminum oxide—a more protective coating. Road salt will eat away at the aluminum oxide, though, so powder coating alloy wheels is another option to consider.
Aluminum alloys are easier to cast in stylish designs compared to steel. You can paint an alloy wheel or coat it with chrome for a shiny look.
Alloy wheels offer many advantages in handling, style, fuel economy, and less wear on steering and suspension; however, there are a few drawbacks. They’re not as durable as steel, and they’re more expensive—in some cases a lot more expensive. Thankfully, most cars now come with some kind of alloy wheel as a standard part, and the benefits of alloy rims in reduced wear and better handling might offset the greater vulnerability to damage. Whether you need to replace your Honda Accord wheels or any of a long list of other makes and models, the WheelerShip has you covered. We can explain the different wheels and materials available to fit your car. We’re likely to find an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or equivalent certified part that will fit your car.