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Old 10-12-2008, 08:32 PM   #1
fulltimeW.O.T.
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Question Winter rims: Steel vs. Alloy

Hi everyone,

Im trying to figure out what to put on my 09 WRX 5dr as my winter setup.

I've searched all around but couldn't find a specific answer about this one. I do realize that steel rims will weigh more, causing some disadvantages, but are they stronger in return? I'm trying to pick a setup for my winter wheels. So far i found a set on tirerack for $220, they are 16x6.5 black steel rims. And a vendor in the forums here offered me a set of 04 stock wrx rims (excellent condition) for $250 shipped which are 16x6.5 as well, and I know for fact they fit fine.

Now I'm just contemplating whether to go with the steels or 5 spoke alloys. Enyone have first hand experience? Are the steel rims really that much stronger and better for winter, as thats what i've heard from my mechanic. I cant image the 04 stock wrx rims being sub par for winter rims.
I've also heard that steel rims are more prone to rust over time, but in return, they can be repaired if bent, unlike alloys. For the same price, its quite a dilenma.

Either way, these rims will be wearing 205/55/16 Dunlop SP Winter Sport tires

Any comments welcomed.

Thanks
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:22 PM   #2
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My understanding in alloy rims are both lighter and stronger than steel rims. Usually stronger is better, but if you have a tendency to damage rims/suspensions then you might want to make you rims the weakest link so they are the first thing to give when you hit something and not your suspension. But for most people alloys would be better.

If you're not concerned with looks why not head down to your local auto-recycler and see if they have any 16" alloy Impreza, Legacy or Forester rims. I just picked up a set of four Legacy rims for the winter tires on my Forester for $120. I've found this site to be relatively accurate in finding stuff like that: http://car-part.com/
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fulltimeW.O.T. View Post
So far i found a set on tirerack for $220, they are 16x6.5 black steel rims. And a vendor in the forums here offered me a set of 04 stock wrx rims (excellent condition) for $250 shipped which are 16x6.5 as well, and I know for fact they fit fine.
You should be able to pick up a set of 02-04 wrx wheels only for much less than that. Check out wheels classifieds section or craigslist.

About steelies... Subaru Forester & Outback base come w/ OEM steelies as well. Check out subaruforester.org in classifieds section.

IMO, steelies work better in snow because the snow doesn't get stuck in between spokes as bad as in alloy wheels. Also, you wouldn't mind as much as when they are scratch/damage by winter craps from the road.
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:54 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Fendyman View Post
Check out subaruforester.org in classifieds section.
Here is one in PA for 100 bucks.
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:36 AM   #5
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Get whichever one is cheaper to buy. Winter wheels are almost a throwaway item, or should be treated as such because with enough winters all that salt will corrode any finish. Not to mention the increased propensity to run over crap on roads or get into accidents.
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:57 AM   #6
fulltimeW.O.T.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fendyman View Post
About steelies... Subaru Forester & Outback base come w/ OEM steelies as well. Check out subaruforester.org in classifieds section.
I found cheap 08 forester rims. Would the 16" forester rims fit fine? I assume they're the same ones as one tirerack for wrx's (16x6.5) 5x100 bolt pattern?
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fulltimeW.O.T. View Post
I found cheap 08 forester rims. Would the 16" forester rims fit fine? I assume they're the same ones as one tirerack for wrx's (16x6.5) 5x100 bolt pattern?
Forester's OEM steelies are 16x6.5" (same as Tirerack's), BUT the offset is +48 which is fine for Impreza (not sure what's the offset from Tirerack). They clear 06-07 Subaru 4-pot brakes as well. 5x100 is the bolt pattern for ALL Subaru Impreza, WRX, 04 STi, Legacy, Outback, Outback Sport, & Forester.
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rougeben83 View Post
Get whichever one is cheaper to buy. Winter wheels are almost a throwaway item, or should be treated as such because with enough winters all that sand will destroy any finish. Not to mention the increased propensity to run over crap on roads.
Fixored for us left coasters.

Honestly, it really depends on how important looks are to you and what deals are floating by at the moment.
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:39 PM   #9
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IMO, steelies work better in snow because the snow doesn't get stuck in between spokes as bad as in alloy wheels.
The problem is it still gets packed inside the wheel, and is nearly impossible to clean out w/o removing the wheel.
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:10 AM   #10
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Bump!
I have a set of 15" steel rims, a set of 16" WRX rims, and a set of 17" LGT rims. The 17" would be for summer only, so now I am trying to decide between the 15" and 16" rims for winter.

My previous car had steel winter rims, and snow would always get packed in behind the rim and shake the car to death until it fell out. The skinnier tire did seem to work better though...
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rougeben83 View Post
Get whichever one is cheaper to buy. Winter wheels are almost a throwaway item, or should be treated as such because with enough winters all that salt will corrode any finish. Not to mention the increased propensity to run over crap on roads or get into accidents.
Eh, some hold up pretty well.

My 02 WRX wheels have been through 8 winters and they are fine. One or two have a few minor scratches and there are wheel weight marks, but the clearcoat is still perfectly intact and there's no corrosion on them.
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:24 PM   #12
dado11g
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aside from being able to get steel wheels super cheap if you get lucky, you just have to have the steel wheel look going on in the winter to let everyone else know that you mean business
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Old 11-26-2010, 07:59 PM   #13
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Get stockers and paint them. If the finish is ruined in a couple of years, paint them again. Pretty simple.
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