What Is the Difference Between Alloy Wheels & Premium Wheels?


Steel wheels are the standard sold on high volume car models. However, manufacturers often offer upgrades to alloy or premium wheels, that offer performance and aesthetic differences from the standard steel wheel.

Alloy Wheels

  • Manufacturers form alloy wheels from either aluminum or magnesium combined with other raw materials to engineer a specific designer metal. The result is a lighter wheel that increases car acceleration and improves braking. Apart from the performance benefits, aluminum alloy wheels are easily formed and can therefore be offered in a tremendous variety of patterns that cover a large range of aesthetic sensibilities.

Premium Wheels

  • Manufacturers deem specific wheels as premium. The specific meaning of the term is to some degree dependent upon the manufacturer. However, most manufacturers designate wheels as premium wheels when they place chrome on top of an alloy wheel.

The Difference Between Alloy and Premium Wheels

  • Premium wheels are alloy wheels with chrome placed on top of the alloy. The difference between the two wheels is purely aesthetic.

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  • "Wheels: A Passion for Collecting Cars"; Stuart Leuthner; 2005
  • "Racing Cars (Cool Wheels)"; Richard Gunn; 2006
  • "Wheel and Tire Performance Handbook (Motorbooks Workshop)"; Richard Newton; 2007
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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