Aluminum vs. Steel – Which Jeep Wrangler Aftermarket Wheel is Best?

Jeeps are not known for having impressive OEM wheels. In fact, when it comes to aftermarket replacement parts, Jeep aftermarket wheels and tires are among the top selling products in the USA.  Whether they choose a set of Pro Comp alloy Jeep wheels for off-road performance or a Jeep owner is looking to improve street styling with Rugged Ridge Wheels, there is a science to picking the best set of wheels that will fit your application best.

Noted below are a few of the common things you’ll want to remember when choosing a new steel or alloy aftermarket wheel for your Jeep Wrangler.

Facts about Steel Wrangler Wheels

Typically referred to a “Steelies” – a steel aftermarket wheel is usually stronger and cheaper than it’s aluminum counterparts. These type of wheels are solid and is best suited for people looking for off-road or winter driving applications. They make a great winter driving wheel due to their ability to reduce cracking while maintaining a solid bead for all-season, all-terrain tires. While they typically do not crack, they are prone to bending if they strike potholes, curbs or those annoying rocks that tend to jump out in front of you while driving off-road.

When it comes to steel Jeep Wrangler wheels, there are a few pros and cons to consider.

Pros:

  • They are usually less expensive than alloy wheels
  • If you bend the wheel, they can often be repaired easily
  • They are low maintenance and easy to clean
  • You can repaint steel wheels to match paint schemes or cover scratches
  • Steel wheels are very hard to crack and are great for winter or cold weather climates

Cons:

  • Steel wheels can rust if not properly treated or painted
  • They are easier to bend than alloy wheels
  • They are heavier and tend to produce worse fuel economy
  • They don’t dissipate heat very well
  • Steel wheels are built for toughness, not handling

Rugged Ridge Jeep Wheels

Facts About Aluminum Wrangler Wheels

When it comes to style and shine – the custom aluminum alloy wheel tends to be the choice of Jeep owners. There are multiple different types and styles of wheels that are used for Jeep Wranglers; with the most popular being forged or cast. A forged wheel is denser, lighter and stronger than cast alloy wheels, making them better suited for those looking for all-road capability. Since aluminum is much lighter than steel, they perform better off-road than one would think. Another benefit of aluminum custom Jeep Wrangler wheels is they handle better and will produce better fuel economy than heavier steel wheels.

Pros:

  • Jeep aluminum aftermarket wheels are typically 20% lighter than steel wheels
  • They deliver superior on-road and off-road performance
  • Aluminum dissipates heat better
  • This type of wheel is less likely to oxidize (especially with newer coatings that most alloy wheels have)
  • A larger selection of custom wheel styles

Cons:

  • Alloy wheels are more likely to crack
  • The cast alloy wheel weight more but are weaker than forged wheels
  • They are nearly impossible to repair if damaged
  • Alloy wheel shine can be damaged by certain cleaners
  • They require more maintenance and care than steel wheels

When you’re in the market for aftermarket Jeep Wrangler custom wheels, choosing between steel and alloy should be your first decision. Always consider where you live, how you drive and what roads you travel before deciding on which type of wheel to purchase. From that point – choosing a style, offset and brand that fits your budget is made much easier.

If total cost, value and high-quality is important to you, make sure to purchase your next set of Jeep wheels from ShopJeepParts.com. When you shop Jeep parts online at ShopJeepParts.com, you can be confident that you will receive the highest quality aftermarket parts & accessories at wholesale prices, plus all parts we sell come with a minimum one-year full warranty. 

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