Steel vs. Alloy Wheels For Your Off Road Truck or Jeep

If you own a Jeep or a vehicle that you want to take off-roading, it is important that you do not just go out into the wild with the equipment that came with your vehicle. Even Jeeps usually require special upgrades to ensure that they are able to handle driving on terrain that is not paved. Failing to ensure that you have the right elevation, tires or wheels can lead to expensive damage. Fortunately, you can find everything you need from a Houston truck accessories provider.

Choosing Wheels For Off-Roading

One of the most important choices you will need to make when considering what accessories and equipment to install on your vehicle is what type of wheels to get. While getting the right Houston bed covers or headlights may make your life easier or your vehicle more attractive, the right wheels can keep you from getting stuck or in an accident. Your choices are steel and alloy wheels, and both their cost and performance can be quite different. In fact, the difference in performance between cast alloy and steel wheels is such that you may want to purchase a set of each.

The best wheels for off-roading are steel or forged alloy wheels; cast alloy wheels are generally a poor choice for unpaved surfaces. Whether you will want steel or forged alloy wheels will depend on your personal preferences.

Alloy Wheels

There are two types of alloy wheels: cast and forged. Most are made of aluminum mixed with another element to increase its durability, and the difference between cast and forged alloy wheels are how they are formed. Cast alloy wheels are made using a mold, and they are cheaper than forged alloy wheels; however, they are not designed for off-roading. Their light weight makes them outstanding for regular driving because they provide a smoother ride and better acceleration than steel wheels. The problem is that they are the weakest type of wheel available, so they are more likely to be damaged in non-standard driving conditions, and they are more expensive to fix than steel wheels.

Forged alloy wheels are made by exerting extreme heat and pressure on raw metal and forcing it into the right shape. This produces wheels that are about on par with steel wheels in terms of durability, but they are still lightweight, like their cast alloy counterparts. These wheels are the most expensive option, although fixing them costs about the same as fixing steel wheels. They are also excellent for off-roading, although steel wheels may be better due to their greater weight.

Steel Wheels

Steel wheels are heavy and solid workhorses that are the cheapest type of wheel you can buy. The weight and strength of steel wheels are why many consider them the best type of wheel for off-roading. Steel wheels can add a lot of unsprung weight, which is weight that is not cushioned by your vehicle's suspension springs, and things like your wheels, tires and brakes all fall into this category. The unsprung weight of a car can have a huge effect on how it performs, and it has a far greater effect than weight that is above the springs.

When you have a vehicle with a lot of unsprung weight, it lowers the automobile's center of gravity and can make it feel like you are driving a tank. Slower acceleration and agility are traded for a better grip on the road and a feeling of greater control. While these properties are not necessarily attractive attributes on a paved road, on a rocky, muddy or uneven surface, they can be very desirable. Forged alloy wheels can mimic the strength of steel wheels but not the weight and additional control they offer. Therefore, your choice of forged alloy or steel wheels will probably depend on how important price and weight are to you. 

  • Posted on   01/25/16 at 10:10:07 PM   by biz  | 
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