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Steel vs. Alloy rims

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:20 am
by Zugzwang
Hi,

Would anybody care to share their thought process or views on steel vs. alloy rims?

I am getting winter tires for a 2018 Leaf and trying to investigate whether alloy is worth the additional cost.

It sounds as though alloy is lighter, which I would imagine is better for range efficiency, but I've seen written on this forum that this isn't necessary always the case.

I'm not too worried about appearance, but I'd like a quality rim. Are there other advantages to alloy that I might be overlooking?

As always, I appreciate the discussion on this board - you people really know your EV's!

Re: Steel vs. Alloy rims

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:08 am
by powersurge
I originally had steel rims on my "S". I was able to get the original alloy rims with the identical ecopia tires. I found that the alloy wheels were not lighter, but 5 pounds HEAVIER each....

I don't know what the new alloys weigh, but I know that the original Leaf alloys are heavier. For a spare set of winter tires, which you will use maybe 1/3 of the year, I would go with the steel rims.. You can be minimalist and use the bare black rims or put on a pair of $20 plastic covers.

Also, that way, if you ever want to sell them or use them on another car, then you are not locked into the Leaf rim design.... Easier to sell?

Re: Steel vs. Alloy rims

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:58 pm
by nrvous
Zugzwang wrote:Hi,

Would anybody care to share their thought process or views on steel vs. alloy rims?

I am getting winter tires for a 2018 Leaf and trying to investigate whether alloy is worth the additional cost.

It sounds as though alloy is lighter, which I would imagine is better for range efficiency, but I've seen written on this forum that this isn't necessary always the case.

I'm not too worried about appearance, but I'd like a quality rim. Are there other advantages to alloy that I might be overlooking?

As always, I appreciate the discussion on this board - you people really know your EV's!
Long time winter tire user here multiple vehicles...I'll share a story.

Once upon a time I hit a pretty bad pothole caused by the usual winter freeze/thaw cycles. The hit was so bad it bent my steel wheel. A quick trip to my mechanic and in just a few minutes he banged out the bend in the wheel and it was fine. That's something you can't do with an alloy wheel since it probably would just crack and need to be replaced.

Re: Steel vs. Alloy rims

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:36 am
by Zugzwang
Thanks to you both!

To be honest, I was half-expecting a warning not to cheap out and to spring for the alloy. But it sounds like there is something to be said for steel here.

Much appreciated.

Re: Steel vs. Alloy rims

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:33 am
by BrockWI

Re: Steel vs. Alloy rims

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:13 am
by powersurge
Zugzwang wrote:Thanks to you both!

To be honest, I was half-expecting a warning not to cheap out and to spring for the alloy. But it sounds like there is something to be said for steel here.

Much appreciated.

Look, this is not a complex issue... Steel has been around forever. When I was a kid, only hot rods had aluminum alloy wheels. Get what you like, and forget it... I, personally would get steel, as I already wrote. easy, simple..

Re: Steel vs. Alloy rims

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:04 pm
by nrvous
powersurge wrote:
Zugzwang wrote:Thanks to you both!

To be honest, I was half-expecting a warning not to cheap out and to spring for the alloy. But it sounds like there is something to be said for steel here.

Much appreciated.

Look, this is not a complex issue... Steel has been around forever. When I was a kid, only hot rods had aluminum alloy wheels. Get what you like, and forget it... I, personally would get steel, as I already wrote. easy, simple..

Another consideration...if you touch the curb with a steel wheel you'll most likely scratch up the wheel cover. Not too bad to just replace the cover. If you get curb rash on an alloy it's a bit of a pain to get it reconditioned/repaired and probably more expensive than a wheel cover. Then again people really like the look of the alloys over wheel covers so to each their own I guess. The alloys are sharp looking for sure but I kinda like my 2018 wheel covers too! :)

Re: Steel vs. Alloy rims

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:37 am
by komondor5
Depending on where you live you could also have corrosion issues with alloy wheels vs steel.

You might look at used wheels too, some areas have shops that specialize in used wheels.

I had an Eagle Talon years ago and I picked up a set of Cadillac wheels with the same offset and bolt pattern the cost for 4 was less than replacing on that had bad curb rash.

Re: Steel vs. Alloy rims

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:13 am
by RonDawg
nrvous wrote:Once upon a time I hit a pretty bad pothole caused by the usual winter freeze/thaw cycles. The hit was so bad it bent my steel wheel.
One thing the OP should also look into is if he/she is planning on getting a trim level that includes rims larger than 16 inches to consider getting 16 inch rims/tires for the winter set. The increased sidewall depth will help better protect the wheels from damage caused by potholes and chunks of ice that tend to drop from cars.

6.5JJx16 ET40 rims will fit the 2018 Leaf per https://www.wheel-size.com/ The bolt pattern is 5 X 114.3. The same size wheel (including offset) and bolt pattern is used on newer Sentras and the Juke, and older Altimas and Maximas, so there's plenty of cheap used sets on eBay or Craigslist to choose from.

Re: Steel vs. Alloy rims

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:54 pm
by specialgreen
I believe that the stock Nissan steel wheels are narrower than the stock alloy wheels. That would make the steel wheels better for driving through snow.

Also, I agree with much of the above: when steel wheels rust, you can buff them with a wire wheel and spray paint, and you're done. If you rash-up a tire against the curb, you can replace the hubcap (I just go without hubcaps in winter, because if you're shoveling your car out of a snowbank, it's nice to not worry that you're going to scratch the shiny alloy wheel if the shovel gets too close). When they dent, the dent can be pounded out easily. They don't lose air when the temperature changes. And they are much easier to install tires onto or remove tires from (I do my own tires, so I appreciate the difference).