Steel Wheels and rust?

FlyingTexan

Contributor
I've never owned anything that's had steel wheels but one but one thing to take into account is rust.  I live on the Texas gulf coast and on the beech a lot here. Tow a boat in and out of the salt water a lot.  Do auto manufacturers do something special to keep steel wheels from rusting? Is this something I should make a real concern or am I over thinking it?  I haven't seen any mentions of anti-corrosion efforts on these.  It's a pretty big deal where I'm at. 
 

emax

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I don't know a solution.

But I wonder what your rims were made of? Aluminum isn't any better I think. At least, after 21 years my aluminum rims look like cancerous ulcer from the salt on winter roads.
 

Spjnr

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FlyingTexan said:
I've never owned anything that's had steel wheels but one but one thing to take into account is rust.  I live on the Texas gulf coast and on the beech a lot here. Tow a boat in and out of the salt water a lot.  Do auto manufacturers do something special to keep steel wheels from rusting? Is this something I should make a real concern or am I over thinking it?  I haven't seen any mentions of anti-corrosion efforts on these.  It's a pretty big deal where I'm at. 

It doesn't really matter what you coat the wheels with, once they get some inevitable stone chips, the surface rust will start to set in. Only solution is to regularly touch up any paint chips and hope for the best. Steel wheels are what they are, cheap, strong and suited to work vehicles where aesthetics aren't top priority.

A bit of surface rust wont hurt the wheels, its just that in the last few years 'steelies' have become a bit of a fashion statement. Theres loads of new Defender owners worrying about the same thing on their forums, but in reality, that's why steel rims aren't the choice for premium SUVs.

Ill be choosing the Steels, but only so I can save money and put it towards some after market alloys 
 

emax

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> it just corrodes 

Rust is corrosion. It looks different, but is the same thing with similar effects. My aluminum rims where coated, and exactly what Spjnr said, the corrosion creeped under the coating and destroyed the surface of the rims. This looks even worse than rust on steel and is one of the reasons  why I will take steel rims on my next car (a Grenadier I hope). Steel rust is easy to remove with a sand blaster. With aluminum this may look quite different and can be  a bit like cancer and is almost unstoppable.

And new steel rims, in case you don't want the effort of sand blasting and recoating, are cheaper than aluminum rims.
 

FlyingTexan

Contributor
I get corrosion vs rust but I have a 25yr old boat trailer with steel axels and the trailer is fine but the axels have rusted through. Rust can be corrosion but they are not the same. 
 

Tazzieman

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Boat trailers are galvanised which is why they resist corrosion for decades. You use galvanised trailer wheels for the same reason. But I've not encountered galvanised steel wheels on a car. 
If you beach drive and pull boats you will rust the wheels. Squirt them well inside and out asap and they will last a long time. And they are relatively cheap to replace.
Alloy wheels can corrode from the inside out and fail...
I tow boats etc and will choose steel.
 

FlyingTexan

Contributor
Tazzieman said:
Boat trailers are galvanised which is why they resist corrosion for decades. You use galvanised trailer wheels for the same reason. But I've not encountered galvanised steel wheels on a car. 
If you beach drive and pull boats you will rust the wheels. Squirt them well inside and out asap and they will last a long time. And they are relatively cheap to replace.
Alloy wheels can corrode from the inside out and fail...
I tow boats etc and will choose steel.

Not to argue the subject but everyone acts like I don’t understand corrosion and rust. Both my boat trailers are aluminum framed. Hot dipped galvanized rusts faster than aluminum or stainless. Anyway I was just wondering what or if anything special was done to combat corrosion like special coatings, zinc diodes, or using low voltages. Or if it’s just inevitable that if I got the steel wheels they’d be rusting within the year. 
 

Tazzieman

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Given many cars will see salted roads I imagine they have given this some thought.
 

MileHigh

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Would stainless steel still have the ductile properties that people like in steel wheels? I see many mentions of hammering a steel wheel back into ‘round’ to get out of the bush?

Do the wheels rust out of the holes for mounting, or from defects in the face of the rim?
 

DCPU

Active Contributor
Grenadier Ordered
If I was doing what you are doing on a regular basis, then I'd expect the wheels to outlast some other components ~ rear lights, towing electrics & rear brakes; or if not outlast, give me a higher maintenance workload.
 

klarie

Contributor
My dad was a car mechanic and a master in craftsmanship. In the past folks had steel wheels that are rusting in particular for winter tyres. So either zinc plating / galvanize it. to allow longer lasting. But anything in contact to salt water will wear out faster and still need conservation.
This means once you re out of sea water - go to next gas / petrol station and take the pressurized sweet water to clean... The same applies to aluminium wheels. In the past aluminium wheels were not painted just polished to so they corrode faster. - Modern ones are painted hence less risk of corrosion. Means - if you have appropriate paint on your wheels - Sea water should not be an issue. From time to time you need to repaint.
 

emax

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Grenadier Ordered
@MileHigh
> Would stainless steel still have the ductile properties that people like in steel wheels?

No. Stainless steel is tougher, but does not necessarily keep shape as well.

And stainless steel is in fact not really stainless. I can rust as well.

If you put a chip of normal steel on a stainless steel surface, the chip will kind of contaminate the stainless steel and thus make it rust. The reason is that stainless steel develops a kind of a coating which protects the steel. This coating can be damaged for various reasons.

How does this 'coating' work?

Stainless steel contains a relatively high proportion of chromium. Since oxygen reacts much faster with chromium than with the rest of the material, chromium dioxide is formed. And this layer protects the stainless steel and thus prevents oxidation with the iron content. If this layer is now damaged, the protection is breached. And that is precisely the reason why parts that are exposed to increased, mechanical environmental influences rust despite being rust-free. Rims, for example.

So although stainless steel is highly resistant to rust, it is not invulnerable. So you really have to care for the rims and thus even stainless rims need maintenance, otherwise you'll have a similarly ugly look like ordinary steel rims after a while.

And stainless rims cost a fortune (and weigh a bit more).

...

Btw: It is the chromium dioxide coating that is responsible for the fact that stainless knives are never as sharp as knifes made of carbon steel. The coating kind of smoothes the knife edge just like a varnish would.

For that reason, my best knives are all made of carbon steel. I protect them with Ballistol. Some KaBars, my trusty Glock M78, and others. Most importantly my smaller kitchen knifes, they are sharp like hell. They cut soft tomatoes by just sliding them over their surface with zero pressure.

Absolutely impossible with stainless blades.

But that's another story.
 
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DaveB

Active Contributor
Grenadier Ordered
My first 4wd was a Suzuki Sierra with Sunraysia white spoke wheels. That would have been about 1980 I think.
They were white powder coated steel wheels.
They rusted if you didn't clean them well and touch up any scratches quickly
This isn't a picture of mine but almost the same. I would have to go through the old boxes of actual pictures to find one of mine.

1661290305280.png
 

emax

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Grenadier Ordered
When I was young, 19yrs 24yrs or so, I was mad about this car.

Then, there was a lottery of a hardware store which had a number of stores in our region. The price was this car. So I collected around 400 lottery tickets in the stores here and there, and at home I filled in my name and address, changed pencils, colors and disguised my handwriting. Then I drove to the shops and distributed the lottery tickets evenly in their mailboxes.

I was convinced I would win that car.

I didn't. 😭


But don't let anyone say I haven't tried it ... 😡
 
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MileHigh

Contributor
Grenadier Ordered
My first 4wd was a Suzuki Sierra with Sunraysia white spoke wheels. That would have been about 1980 I think.
They were white powder coated steel wheels.
They rusted if you didn't clean them well and touch up any scratches quickly
This isn't a picture of mine but almost the same. I would have to go through the old boxes of actual pictures to find one of mine.

View attachment 7792432
Trailer hitch on side panel because they tipped over so much???
 

emax

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Grenadier Ordered
There is as well another one on the back.

The side thing must be for something else, rigging sth., or a lash for some equipment.
 

bemax

Contributor
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It is the mounting point for the parachute. That’s important if you want to take this beautiful beach car to a deserted island 🏝
 
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