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Steel vs aluminum wheels

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drbarrydvm
Reg. Jul 2020
Posted 2020-07-19 10:26 AM (#173156)
Subject: Steel vs aluminum wheels


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Posts: 1

I was wondering what the opinion is out there on steel vs aluminum. I’ve heard that aluminum have a higher failure rate but hard to find trailers that don’t have the upgrade.
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RTSmith
Reg. Nov 2003
Posted 2020-07-22 7:58 AM (#173159 - in reply to #173156)
Subject: RE: Steel vs aluminum wheels


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Posts: 668
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Location: Tenn/Ala.
Like anything else, there are different quality grades of aluminum wheels. For the most part, we see no more damaged ones than steel. Biggest issue we see is folks not checking their lug nuts after a wheel has been off. After a few miles it seats some, and may loosen up. Thus needs to be tightened. Steel wheels have a spring tension on the nut and won't do that.  
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RTSmith
Reg. Nov 2003
Posted 2020-07-22 7:58 AM (#173160 - in reply to #173156)
Subject: RE: Steel vs aluminum wheels


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Posts: 668
5001002525
Location: Tenn/Ala.
The aluminum are generally truer and ride better.....  
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gard
Reg. Aug 2007
Posted 2020-07-24 7:59 AM (#173165 - in reply to #173156)
Subject: RE: Steel vs aluminum wheels


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Posts: 5861
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Location: western PA
AL wheels can often be damaged by hitting potholes or running off the roadsides. AL wheels are generally much  more expensive than steel . They are often used by automotive manufacturers, because they can be manufactured in many interesting shapes . They are also lighter than steel, which can  reduce the unsprung weight on the various vehicles' suspensions.

Depending on where you live, their maintence will vary. If you are any where near to the rustbelt states, any long term usage often results in corrosion situations. These could be seen as patches, created around road  chipping, which damages the final finish. Corrosion can also be found inside the AL rims where the tires seat against the wheels.

The exteriors finishes can be readily repaired by buffing and polishing the affected areas, and then respraying the wheels with an automotive clear finish. Access to the inside of the rims will first need to have the tires dismounted, the rims then mechanically finished smooth, a noncorrosive protective coating added to the rims' inside areas, and finally the tires are then remounted.

Because I own both steel and AL wheels on various vehicles, and live in a rustbelt state with poor roads,  I can say that over the long term, the steel are much easier to keep fresh looking, with less tire pressure leakage and  fewer damages on poor roads. My trailers have steel wheels with hub caps. Because I run tires with a relatively high sidewall (75) series, I have had no wheel failures. I can't say the same for my truck and automotive AL wheels.

Best of luck in you rownership  
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HOUSE
Reg. Oct 2008
Posted 2020-07-30 10:50 AM (#173172 - in reply to #173156)
Subject: RE: Steel vs aluminum wheels


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Posts: 144
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Location: riverside ca
one other thing is that aluminum wheels shed heat faster, ie they cool down faster than steel wheels which helps keep your tires cool and extend life. 
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