Steel vs. Alloy for Winter Use?

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4,118
Location
Olathe, KS
If the same price, which would you chose? I plan to buy a winter set during the current DTD sale. After rebates, I can buy nice alloys instead of black steelies, for the same price. I know the pluses and minuses of both. Steel is stronger, heavier (better traction?), but corrodes much easier, and are homely. Alloy looks much better, resists corrosion, but will dent/ding much easier, and you typically have to buy new tuner lugs (another +~$30). I've had both in the past, but only for 1 season each. Our winters really vary in KC. We haven't had bad ice in the past several years.
 
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9,736
Location
Ontario, Canada
It depends? I find factory finished steel rims almost never have problems with corrosion, as do factory alloys. Budget steelies do chip and rust fast. I've never bought cheap aftermarket alloy rims for winter, so I don't know how they do. If you buy cheap steelies, paint them again when they are new and they should go a few extra years before looking bad.
 
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802
Location
western ny, usa
Alloys tend to leak air after a few years and need rim cleaning/ tire remounting. If you change the tires yourself alloys are lighter, which is a plus. Not sure what I would get.
 
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Messages
14,731
Location
Central NY
Steel. Like ronbo said - alloys will develop bead leaks after a few winters. I have alloys for mine, unfortunately. Was all I could find in the junkyard. Had to break one down and scrape the bead surface with a wire brush because it would go flat after two days. That made for a lot of pumping up this winter!
 
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15,859
Location
NE,Ohio
I had problems with DTD's really cheap unique series of black steelies The tirerack models are actually hub centric and much nicer. so If I was buying from DTD and getting free mount and balance.. I'd get alloys and make sure they are hub centric to your vehicle(if applicable)
 
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13,616
Location
Frisco, TX
Originally Posted By: Miller88
Steel. Like ronbo said - alloys will develop bead leaks after a few winters.
Never had that problem on any of our cars over the years. If you make some effort to rinse the wheels off occasionally, you'll be fine.
 
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4,880
Location
Lakeville, MN
Originally Posted By: Miller88
Steel. Like ronbo said - alloys will develop bead leaks after a few winters.
Define "a few years". The only set of alloys I've ever had this issue on was a set for my '88 Cherokee. They developed a bead leak after about 20 years... Other than that, never been an issue on alloys on anything I've run - both aftermarket and stock. And the comparable steel rim after 20 years in the salt - yikes!
 
Messages
809
Location
Nebraska
Originally Posted By: dparm
Originally Posted By: Miller88
Steel. Like ronbo said - alloys will develop bead leaks after a few winters.
Never had that problem on any of our cars over the years. If you make some effort to rinse the wheels off occasionally, you'll be fine.
Never experienced that on any of my vehicles either. To answer the OP's question, if it's a Crown Vic, I'd go with steelies. Otherwise I'd get OEM alloys off eBay or Car-Part.com.
 
Messages
1,639
Location
L.I. NY USA
Alloys are much more expensive to fix from the normal winter wear and tear. With Steelies; sandpaper, primer and a can of Rustoleum and you are good for a couple of years. Decent hubcaps aren't too expensive to cover them either.
 

kkreit01

Thread starter
Messages
4,118
Location
Olathe, KS
The "steelies" in question are DTD's generic black 16" (Unique 83). I've used them in the past, but for only 1 season. I always put a good coat of sealant on them before winter. I'd leave them naked -- w/o caps. The alloys in question are from DTD's cheapest offerings (Rage R20) in matte black (OE wheels are black, so they will look good). I'm not too worried about bead leaks. I often clean, and I won't have them for 10-20 yrs. Either set would be cleaned, sealed, and stored in a finished basement during the off season -- if that helps you decide. I won't use TPMS sensors on the winter set (never have). The OE steel wheels are 17", so I'm sure they will be more than $65/ea. I see a decent set on CL -- with poor AS tires (good tread, but poor tire) for $400 -- not very tempting.
 
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Messages
36,461
Location
ME
I would not go with aftermarket alloys-- nowhere to crimp weights on the outside, most times. Leads to sticky tape weights or an indifferent tech doing a static instead of dynamic balance. I'm using used Saab OE aluminum rims on my HHR. Looks dumb but they were the cheapest I could find. Work fine. I took my time mounting, sanded down the bead surfaces, etc and they hold air great. approved
 
Messages
13,616
Location
Frisco, TX
Originally Posted By: eljefino
I would not go with aftermarket alloys-- nowhere to crimp weights on the outside, most times. Leads to sticky tape weights or an indifferent tech doing a static instead of dynamic balance. I'm using used Saab OE aluminum rims on my HHR. Looks dumb but they were the cheapest I could find. Work fine. I took my time mounting, sanded down the bead surfaces, etc and they hold air great. approved
What's wrong with tape weights? Been using those for the last decade on all our vehicles and again, no issues. Why is everyone trying to make this winter wheel/tire thing so old-fashioned and low-tech?
 
Messages
5,435
Location
KC
This can't be serious. Snow tires in KC? It is too warm for snow tires in KC. You'd have to take the wheels off every weekend.
 
Messages
1,530
Location
iowa
Originally Posted By: badtlc
This can't be serious. Snow tires in KC? It is too warm for snow tires in KC. You'd have to take the wheels off every weekend.
After last winter I would want them in Atlanta.
 
Messages
17,916
Location
NH
I've wondered about buying new a/s for winter, at the start. Either replace every fall, or buy a new set and keep the old tires, and swap back to old tires come spring. Although, something that dawned on me the other day, I wonder if you could buy new tires, run to half-tread, then CL them when you buy new tires. Might only get a quarter of the tires value, but if you really cared about tread and performance, well... I wonder if you could just get really good a/s for winter down there. Run them as winter tires, but at least they would take the heat better, and you could always finish them off in the summer. At least something rated for ice, which IIRC is what you see more of there.
 
Messages
704
Location
Canada
I've used steel mostly in the past, however you may have cosmetic issues. Aftermarket wheelcovers generally look awful, and can't seem to stay on. OEM are way too expensive to make sense. If left uncovered, be prepared to deal with surface rust over time. With our new vehicle picked up in January, I opted for aftermarket alloy. Too soon to say how time will treat them, but they appear to be a better quality one, so I'm guessing will do okay. Pros for steel: cheaper, can take abuse better (think sliding into a curb or hitting potholes), and if damaged, are cheap to replace. Pros for alloy: nicer look and wife doesn't complain about what they look like.
 
Messages
5,435
Location
KC
Originally Posted By: Traction
Originally Posted By: badtlc
This can't be serious. Snow tires in KC? It is too warm for snow tires in KC. You'd have to take the wheels off every weekend.
After last winter I would want them in Atlanta.
Why? When road temps are above 45F, you are just tearing up those tires. Even in KC, we hardly go a week in the winter without temps jumping above 45F.
 
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