Off Road Wheels.
Steel rims vs. Alloy rims:

Steel Off Road Wheels:

Steel off road wheels only come in a few styles and colours, the colours are black, white and polished steel.

Steel rims are used by most 4 wheel drivers, they are cheap and always available from any good tire and wheel shop.

Steel is heavier than Alloy and wont split or crack. It will bend on hard impact but is easily fixed by hammering the dented area back into shape, this can be done when getting to the campsite or even on the track, in some circumstances even while the rim is still on the 4 wheel drive.

Steel wheels being heavier than alloy is not really a problem as they are part of what keeps the vehicle moving, it’s not like the vehicle is carrying more weight as it’s sitting on the wheels not transporting them as cargo.

The best place to have extra weight is at the lowest possible center of gravity and having steel rims will actually decrease the chance of a roll over by a small amount in some cases off road.



Alloy Off Road Wheels:

Many off road cars these days have sporting Alloy off road rims, some makes and models roll out of the factory fitted with alloys, usually the special edition/higher end model of the same make.

Alloy 4x4 rims are stronger than steel rims but if damaged they are not repairable. If a really hard impact should happen on the tracks the wheel could split rendering it useless, leaving no choice but to buy a new wheel once back to civilization.

There is an abundance of styles and brands available, not all styles are made in all sizes but there is so many that finding a particular type and look is no problem.

The price on Alloy off road wheels is fairly expensive compared to steel, at least 3 times and up to 6 times more expensive than steel wheels.

Changing light weight alloy wheels out on the track is far easier than the heavy steel wheels, which makes a real difference when changing wheels traveling solo.



Off Road Wheels with Bead Locks:

Rim Bead Lock:

When off roading at low pressures tires can sometimes roll of the rim or simply breach the bead letting dirt in and air out.

There is a way to help prevent this and it’s called a “Bead Lock”.

A Bead Lock is an outer rim which is bolted to a special bead lock rim; once the tire is fitted this extra rim plate is bolted via holes on the wheel. This acts as an outside wall preventing the rubber/tire from rolling off the rim or popping the bead. This type of bead lock only prevents problems on the outside of the rim and not the inside. Tires can roll off the other way too.


Internal Bead Lock:

With an internal bead lock installed a 4 wheel driver should never have to worry about rolling a tire again. Even if puncturing a tire the vehicle is still not disabled as the internal bead lock acts as a second air, like a tube inside a tire.

When being installed to a rim an extra hole is drilled to house a second air valve. The second air valve inflates the internal bead lock, once inflated the air pressure pins the bead from the inside to the rim preventing a tire from rolling off the wheel.

An internal bead lock will allow a 4x4 to drive on flat tires; this is however not recommended as it will damage the tires if continually driven deflated.

Internal bead locks are generally constructed with Kevlar, the same material bullet proof vests are made from.




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