Choosing the correct Defender wheels can be a minefield, so here are a few things to consider before making your purchase.
What do you use your vehicle for?
If your Defender is used for play and you’re a serious off-roader, then alloys are probably not going to be for you. Although it takes more impact to damage an alloy wheel than a steel wheel it’s much more likely that damage to a steel wheel is reparable. Steel bends easily but won’t crack and can usually be hammered back into shape, whereas an alloy is harder to bend but a heavy blow will usually result in an irreparable crack. This is especially important if you use your Defender for expeditions as you can repair a bend in a steel wheel at the road side - it takes time but it is possible.
If the aesthetic of your vehicle is important to you and your Defender is more for everyday use and the occasional/gentle off-road jaunt, then alloys offer a much larger range of designs. Here at First Four we stock a number of popular brands including Zu and Mach5.
What is your budget?
Alloy wheels tend to be more expensive than steel, due to the manufacturing methods and materials. For example, a steel Defender wheel on our website starts from £59.76 (inc. tax), whereas a Defender alloy wheel starts from £89.50 (inc. tax). That’s not a huge difference if you don’t change your wheels very often, but for serious off-roaders who will be putting their wheels under regular serious strain, the cost of replacing multiple alloys in a year could soon add up.
Steel wheels are also more susceptible to corrosion than alloy wheels, although rust can be treated and rectified with a little (or maybe a lot!) of elbow grease.
Is there any affect on the vehicle itself?
The type of wheel can affect the performance of the vehicle, in several ways. This isn’t such an important issue in the UK as our weather isn’t as extreme as, say Australia, but the thermal conductivity of your wheel can affect brakes and braking. Steel wheels retain heat for much longer than alloys which can impact on the performance and longevity of your brakes.
Steel wheels are slightly heavier than alloy, with alloys around the 10kg mark and steel wheels around the 16kg mark. Not a huge difference, however if you’re carrying four wheels plus a spare, or maybe even two on a longer expedition this extra weight needs to be considered and can definitely put pressure on your vehicle and, again, affect performance and longevity.
If you’ve got any questions or would like to discuss this matter further please don’t hesitate to contact us. In the meantime, here’s a link to the selection of Defender wheels on our website: