Why I hate alloy wheels and you should too.

Published by shortandsmiley on

Most of my posts on this site are about publishing, picture books and drawing. However, there’s something really, really bothering me at the minute and I just need to write it down before my head explodes.

I hate alloy wheels.

And you should, too.

I only noticed this when I was looking for a new car. My wife and I recently needed a family car – something practical, with a big boot/trunk, and a decent MPG (we settled on the Skoda Octavia) but it seems virtually wherever you turn these days almost every car comes with alloy wheels as standard.


Once upon a time, alloy wheels used to be a status symbol. They cost more than steel wheels with hubcaps. They looked nicer. They looked shinier. They were proof that you were truly in the upper echelons of society.

But now, they’re everywhere – car manufacturers feel they need to add them to base models to make them more attractive, and so an ever increasing number of cars have them.

And so what happens? You buy a car with nice, shiny alloy wheels. About a month later, you accidentally scuff it on a kerb, and for the next five years that you own that car, you hate yourself every time you look at your damned wheels. Your brain goes “See that scuff mark on the alloy wheel? You did that, you nugget.”

You then proceed to scuff your wheels more and more, until whichever angle you approach your car from, you’re reminded of the fact that you’re a crap driver who can’t be depended upon to judge how far away from the pavement you are at any given time.

Repairing damage to alloy wheels costs a small fortune, and hysterically, it does literally nothing to improve how your car functions or performs. It’s like paying a fortune teller to read it’s chakras.

We don’t own alloy wheels. They own us. They sit there, they do nothing, and then make us feel bad when we invariably damage them.

The best bit? If you had steel wheels and you scuff them, all you have to do is buy a replacement plastic hubcap, for pennies. The whole value that seems to be placed on alloy wheels vs. steel wheels is exactly the wrong way around.

Before you think I’m being unfair, I should address the one other argument I’ve come across for alloy wheels. It came from a local car salesman (who shall remain nameless.) When I asked why different models of cars came with different types of alloy wheels he replied:

It’s show off your personality, innit?

I stared at him for a good 15 seconds, before deciding that if you need to buy shiny wheels to say something about your personality, then chances are you don’t have one in the first place.

Don’t buy alloy wheels boys and girls:

You don’t need them. You might think you do, but I promise you, that you don’t.


Award-winning Author & Illustrator. Proud dad. Owner of awesome belly button.

1 Comment

Seán · 12th September 2020 at 4:13 pm

Spot on mate. Also, early alloys were forged (like the ones made by Fuchs for the 911). Most modern alloys are poured into a mould (cast alloys), and are structurally weak compared to steel or forged alloys. This means that modern cast alloys, in addition to being fragile as you point out, are also extremely heavy (extra unsprung mass), weak (not allowed on race tracks for fear they’d disintegrate), and the fact that they’re normally far too big means they’re teamed up with silly low-profile tyres. A clusterfuck with no redeeming qualities, driven entirely by fashion.

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