1. Hot pan, cold oil.
2. Oil shimmers, start cooking.
3. Ya's forgit somethin', ya's gots whats ya's gots now!
4. All that scrubbing is taking off all that cooked in goodness.
5. I refer thee to "The Breath of A Wok" by Grace Young, either book or YouTube.
Aluminum or steel? Easy-peasy. Test it with a magnet.
I very much doubt it's aluminum. Uncoated aluminum is a very poor material for cookware because you cannot cook acidic substances in exposed aluminum cookware. The acid reacts with the aluminum and releases toxic aluminum salts into your food.
I don't see any reason to not use steel wool. If there's any kind of patina it will grow back.