It may be a new year, but the longtime debate in the truck wheel industry continues. Which is better—aluminum or steel wheels? It’s a favorite topic among experts that breeds detailed conversations, including the differences between the two metals, advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as their respective manufacturing processes. As the global leader in aluminum wheel innovation, we clearly have crowned our winner, but let us break down all the reasons why aluminum wheels still outweigh steel.
The Ultimate Simple Solution
Spec’ing lighter weight forged aluminum wheels is all you need to increase overall fuel efficiency and oftentimes more importantly, reduce maintenance costs. Despite what some may believe, forged aluminum wheels are not the aluminum cans that are shredded in the recycling process. Their mechanical properties give the wheels the high yield strength and great elongation that make them tough. Also, as low operating costs are critical, the urgency for fleets to find solutions that contribute to improved freight efficiency, reduced maintenance costs and increased productivity becomes greater than ever. Not only lighter in weight than steel, but forged aluminum wheels are also stronger and more durable to increase freight capacity and improve maintenance savings for increased productivity and, ultimately, lower lifetime operating costs.
Fuel Efficiency and Weight Savings
Equipment managers should consider overall lifetime operating costs when spec’ing wheels on new equipment since forged aluminum wheels can improve quick and continuous “payback” in fuel savings or freight productivity combined with maintenance savings. For added fuel savings, wheel manufacturers offer innovative technology, which assists in increased weight loss. For example, forged aluminum wheels significantly reduce wheel weight versus a comparable steel.
It’s no secret that the lighter the truck, the more cargo it can legally carry. The weight of an Alcoa forged aluminum 22.5” x 8.25” hub piloted wheel is 39 lbs. vs an equivalent steel wheel at 68 – 82 lbs. Therefore, this upgrade takes advantage of this significant weight reduction to further improve fuel efficiency. Forged aluminum wheels’ strength, durability and low weight also deliver environmental advantages to complement their financial benefits. With larger payloads due to the weight savings, trips are reduced, and, since forged aluminum wheels are infinitely recyclable, they will never see a landfill.