Race cars use alloy wheels because they are lighter weight, cause less tire stress, and have much better balance; all of which tends to be beneficial for increased speed. The biggest concern that people have with alloy wheels, though, is the cost. Steel wheels are definitely less expensive to manufacture, so they are of course more affordable. In the long run however, the price you pay is offset by the fact that you are getting more for your money.
In today’s auto market, alloy wheels are an attractive selling feature in new and pre-owned vehicles. Whether it’s a set of 22” inch chrome aftermarket mags, or 17” OEM wheels apart of a luxury trim package, alloy wheels seem to be more popular than ever before. On the surface, the characteristics of alloy wheels seem largely cosmetic in nature, underlying features including improved handling and suspension, reduction of road mass and fuel consumption, and improved braking do add to vehicle safety and performance standards thereby becoming considerably more common in economy and subcompact vehicles.
The use of alloy wheels began in the mid-90s as a means to dress up high-end European cars. As these expensive wheels became more popular, the concept was duplicated by aftermarket specialty manufacturers offering wheels that were not only stylized, but looked sexy and sleek, too! Demand for their supply increased. Within five years, domestic and Japanese manufacturers had also begun installing alloys on their high-cars. Today, alloy wheels are the manufacturers’ wheel of choice. The price of aluminum and its lighter weight, as well as its good looks, provides a very reasonable alternative to outdated steel wheels and hubcaps. Unfortunately, with poor road conditions, debris, and increased traffic and accidents increased the damage or bends to alloys leading to costly wheel replacement. The need for wheel repair was born.