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Aluminum Alloy VS. Steel wheels - (Good read)

14686 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  nizmut
As an enthusiast myself, and a cost conscious one at that, I thought I should share some insights with you all on this subject.

Those that are thinking about purchasing steel wheels may want to consider purchasing an aluminum wheel such as the Vision Warrior or the MB Chaos 6 instead. Here's why.

First, WEIGHT. Steel wheels are extremely heavy. The average 16x8 soft 8 styled steel wheel weighs approx. 33 lbs. On the aluminum side a wheel like the Vision Warrior in 16x8 weighs about 23lbs and the MB Chaos 6 in a 16x8.5 weighs about 24lbs. This is, roughly, a 30% weight difference. 10lbs per wheel may not sound like much to some of you but those that know about unsprung weight will tell you that every ounce you can save at your wheels is worth saving. The less weight you have in your wheels and tires the more $$$ you will save at the pump and the more power you will have at your feet when you want it.

Second FITMENT: Many of you have already found that steel wheels, unless they are OE, hit the brake calipers on most Frontier models. Steel wheels are manufactured in two pieces, the center is stamped into shape and then welded to the barrel. This stamping process leaves flanges at the back of the spokes (or holes in the soft 8's case) and these flanges interfere with most frontier brake calipers. The easiest fix for this is to run spacers (not recommended by the wheel manufacturer). Running spacers adds $$$ to your wheel and tire package and again, more weight. (The common Spidertrax bolt on spacers run $99.00 for the set of 4) Some may try to grind down the wheel or caliper this is not recommended either. Grinding down the wheel can jeopardize the strength of the wheel and grinding down your brake caliper can be enough for some dealers to void your vehicles warranty. As for the Vision Warrior and MB Chaos 6... they fit like a glove with no need for spacers. Either of these two alloys in 16" can run a 275/70R16 without any rubbing on a stock 2005+ Frontier. They can also be run with a 285/75R16 if your 2005+ frontier has a leveling kit. (Minor fender liner modifications and mud flap removal may be needed). I’ll add images of these wheels and tires installed within the next two weeks. If any of you have either of these two wheels installed in 16" please post some pictures in this thread. :)

Now on to STRENGTH: This is the controversial one and I personally don't know which one is stronger. I have heard arguments for both but I haven't seen any data to support either. Some say steel wheels are stronger and if bent can be straightened. Some say aluminum alloy wheels are stronger and have higher resistance for impacts. I can't find a manufacturer of either has data for side impact testing. Both steel wheels and alloy wheels are tested on a pass fail basis and both types of wheels, for US DOT purposes, have to pass to be on the market. The Unique 297 has a load carrying capacity of 2200lbs the Vision warrior has a load carrying capacity of 2100 lbs and the MB Chaos 6 has load carrying capacity of 2400 lbs. :2cool: I'm thinking, I might be able to have some fun testing done for this subject.... I will keep you posted.

FINISH: Steel rusts, Aluminum alloy doesn't. Enough said here I think. Either one can be touched up easily if scratched or scuffed.

This all leads us down to COST. Most people would think that with all the benefits for running alloy wheels there would be a pretty good cost difference as well. This is not always the case. Sure, you can spend a lot of money on aluminum wheels but you don't have to. There are affordable aluminum options. The Vision Warrior and the MB Chaos 6 are just two of them. These two wheels have been brought in to help you get more for your money and they are doing just that. Here are the package details based off current pricing and promotions (May, 2010). (Prices do not include tax or installation) for an accurate quote Please call us. Responses to PM’s can take up to 48 hours.

Unique 297 with 285/75R16 Nitto Terra Grapplers -(one of our favorite tires :fantastic: )
16x8 Unique 297 12mm offset Black: $99.00 each with FREE shipping (includes center cap)
285/75R16 Nitto Terra Grappler : $170.00 each
Mount and balance: FREE
NON TPMS valves: $3.00 each
Installation kit: (lugs): $45.00
Shipping to the lower 48 states: FREE
Sub Total package for 4 each: $1133.00

Add cost of bolt on Spidertrax spacers: $99.00
Grand total: $1232.00​
Now for the MB Chaos 6 with 285/75R16 Nitto Terra Grapplers.
16x8.5 MB Chaos 6 12mm offset Matte Black and machined finish: $122.00 each
285/75R16 Nitto Terra Grappler: $170.00 each
Mount and balance: FREE
NON TPMS valves: $3.00 each
Installation kit: (lugs + hub rings): $45.00
Shipping to the lower 48 states: FREE
Sub Total package for 4 each: $1225.00
Add to this our current promotion of $50.00 off any set of wheels (excluding steel wheels) and..
your Final cost is $1175

Those that want to can probably figure out the fuel savings in an average year to add to this cost difference. I'll leave that up to the mathematicians.

MB Chaos 6

Vision Warrior 16” (Note: image shows 8 lug version)

Please let us know if we can help you with your next set. :D
Discount Tire Co.
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The stock alloy wheels can be hammered out from a bad enough bend to throw a bead also. And I am guessing the after market ones can too. Thankfully they were not my rims I had to hammer out as it was growing dark in death valley:)
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