Hubcaps can add a little touch of style to your car without your wallet suffering too much. But to achieve this, it is necessary to have quality products that adapt to both your style and what your car needs. For many users, the hubcaps are beautiful pieces that are in charge of beautifying cars. Still, they are also an accessory that serves to protect and disguise the steel wheels, making the vehicle look more sophisticated and elegant.
Depending on the brand, model, and quality, they can be fragile pieces, and from time to time, they need to be replaced. So if you are looking for these elements for the car, you should know that there are many alternatives to choose the best cheap hubcaps for your vehicle.
If something should be clear about these elements for the car is that they are manufactured to improve the visual aesthetics of the vehicle, by hiding the metal part of the wheels. Thus, beyond being a cheap hubcap, it must have a design that adjusts to the taste of each user. The hubcaps are designed with different styles that personalize the car tires. Regardless of brand, these accessories can make an older vehicle look more modern. Similarly, there are some models that are manufactured to give a more sporty aesthetic, while others look on the wheels in an elegant and sophisticated way.
The vast majority of the models available in the market are of uniform color or two-color, incorporating tones such as black and silver. Also, some designs include chrome nuts that give it more styling. Meanwhile, some alternatives tend to add the logo of the car brand, being suitable alternatives to identify the manufacturer, so care must be taken, since not being universal in style, it would be less convenient than in a car Opel look hubcaps identified with the Ford brand logo. Although this does not affect performance and function (they may even fit perfectly), it will not look aesthetically consistent. However, it will depend on the tastes of each user.
Units and weight
When making a comparison of hubcaps, it is necessary to analyze the weight as one of the characteristics to contrast, because this property can make installation more accessible or more complex. Also, these models are generally made up of four lightweight pieces, that is, a hubcap for each of the car’s wheels. The intention with this is that the user changes all the elements at once and not just one of the wheels.
It may happen that only one of the tire hub caps has been damaged. However, manufacturers advise that old parts are removed, and new units fitted so that the wear process is consistent. As for the weight, it will vary due to the materials, but it is recommended that light and easy-to-install alternatives be selected, with a weight ranging between one kilo and four kilos maximum, so that there are no problems with the wheels and the metal.
Having an estimate of how much hubcap costs can be obtained through an analysis of the materials the manufacturer used to make the product. In this way, in the market, you can get from simple models made of plastic, to some pieces of higher cost and resistance that are made of carbon fiber, ABS plastic, and polypropylene. Although the materials are resistant, it is prudent that they have elastic properties and that they are not entirely hard so that they can be placed on the different wheels, without any inconvenience in fitting the parts to the wheels.
When purchasing a hubcap, special attention should be paid to the compatibility of the model with a specific series of cars. Many models are available in a kind of universal size, so it is only necessary that the tire be the same size as the hubcap, regardless of the make or model of the car.
However, there are some alternatives to these parts that are made specifically for a certain brand and model of car. For example, there are some hubcaps with a diameter of 16 inches, which are only valid for a particular Seat brand car.
Meanwhile, some alternatives are universal and are valid for any type of car as long as it meets the standards of inch measurements. It is recommended that these decorative pieces are appropriate for a more significant number of vehicles, as this will ensure that no returns are necessary.
Hub cap size
One of the advantages of the hubcaps, compared to other parts such as tires, is that choosing the specific model is quite simple. In fact, with some exceptions, almost all hubcaps are universal concerning the size of the rim for which they have been designed.
This is something easy to see in any comparative of hubcaps, in which we will see how they are grouped precisely by that rim or tire diameter, which is the same. Anyway, the options to confuse us are few, since in the market there are only four measures: from 13 to 16 inches diagonally.
Even so, before seeing how much the hubcap costs, how beautiful it is, or how it is mounted, it is vital that you verify that this product has the corresponding measurement for your vehicle. Something that we must do directly on the tire since sometimes the technical sheet contains several sizes and some of them may be different from the one mounted on the car.
Original, replica, universal
When looking for a hubcap, or a hubcap set, one of the questions we often ask ourselves is whether to go for an original product from the manufacturer or one that is not. Indeed, the original hubcap is usually designed specifically for our vehicle. Still, it is also true that the difference in how much one of them costs compared to a universal one is considerable.
In the middle of both worlds, there are the hubcaps that we call replica. In this case, they are not original products of the brand, but they are made in their image so that they are more or less similar to those originals. The main advantage is that they are more economically priced and do not break the aesthetics of the vehicle too much.
As a third option, we have universal ones. In this case, they are hubcaps that are valid for any vehicle. The originals or brand also work, the truth, although it is rare to see a Ford logo on a Peugeot, for example. Anyway, the universal ones are valid for any car and allow you to change your image, ranging from classic and traditional models to those that imitate the most sporty and modern wheels. It is all a matter of what you prefer for your car.
We cannot forget the hubcap mounting process since there is a difference between the two main ones. The best known is the one with plastic tabs and a metal ring. A system that does not evolve despite being somewhat complicated to assemble and not being the most resistant, since any bump can blow your hubcap. That is why it is convenient to verify that it offers an excellent grip to avoid this problem.
Something that can also be solved with the other existing hubcap system. Specifically, we are talking about the products that are held by the tire nuts. This system has the disadvantage of having to remove the wheels to place them, but in return, you will never lose them, and they will not be stolen. Anyway, if you opt for this system do not forget to check that the product has the necessary holes for mounting, as many as studs have the wheel, usually four.
We have left for the end what has to do with the appearance of the hubcap, for being something more aesthetic than anything else. But this is not something we should leave aside.
The good news is that since we have already dropped, we have a little bit of everything. So if you want a model with a more classic finish, a simple design and some tones in aluminium or silver, you will be able to find it. And if you prefer something modern, even with sporty touches, with more exciting colours and a more modern look, too. Indeed, these latest models are not as lavish as the more traditional ones, but they are increasingly found more easily.
In any case, while you are reviewing this aspect, do not also forget to check that the product has excellent resistance, so that its right image will last you longer although curb rubbing is always going to be a problem.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: How to clean hubcaps?
The cleaning process of the hubcaps is not particularly complicated, being able to use on them the water jet of any gas station gun, clean them with a hose or directly with a sponge or conventional cloth. A process for which we can use any product that is not aggressive, as it happens with the rest of the vehicle. In any case, you can also find specific products on the market, such as foams and the like, specially designed for hubcap materials.
Q2: Can I pass the ITV without hubcaps?
The hubcaps are an aesthetic element that does not affect the stability or safety of the vehicle, so there is no problem in passing inspection if they are not installed in the car or are not the original ones. The only case in which they can tell us something is if the hubcaps are loose or can come off, as it is a risk for driving. But it would only be a warning and should not have more influence on the inspection process.
Q3: How to change hubcaps for tires?
In truth, all cars have tires, and some also have hubcaps. So truly, the process would not be to replace hubcaps with tires, but rather to change the vehicle’s iron rims, on which the hubcaps are mounted, for alloy wheels, aluminum, or the material that we like the most. Something for which we will need to know the measurements of the tire and its equivalences, as well as what the technical data sheet indicates in this regard, then proceed to buy the corresponding rims and discard the iron rims. With all these elements it would be enough to mount the tires on the new tires and mount them on the car
Q4: How to secure hubcaps so they don’t fall off?
One of the main problems with hubcaps is that their fastening system is quite unfortunate, so we have many ballots for them to fly en-route in case of catching a pothole with lousy shadow. We can do everything we want in the placement of it, that if it has to jump, it will drop. One solution is to use flanges, which would link the hubcap and the rim, preventing their “freedom.” Another solution is to apply some adhesive, such as silicone, that secures the hubcap in place. Anyway, don’t forget that sooner or later, you will have to remove the hubcap, so be careful with what you use for that fixing.
Q5: Are there hubcaps that don’t fall off with potholes?
There are them, although the problematic thing is to find them. Specifically, we are talking about the hubcaps that are directly attached to the rim bolts, with the corresponding holes in the central part of the rim. This has the advantage that, unless they are broken, it is impossible for the hubcaps to fall off or to be removed. The drawback is that if we want to change them, we will have to remove all the bolts from the wheel.
Q6: Where to buy original hubcaps?
Finding original hubcaps is a complicated process. The fact that it is a relatively cheap part and that, today, it is beginning to be in disuse due to the rise of the tires, means that they are not parts that we can find in a scrapyard. It is not entirely easy to find these hubcaps at our dealership either, and if they do, you will have to prepare your wallet as they are usually quite expensive. As a last option, we can go to the network, where it is possible to find some loose game that is original.
Q7: Are hubcaps universal?
The best hubcaps are universal, as long as they have the same inches as the tire on which we are mounting the part. In other words, 15-inch hubcaps can be installed on any 15-inch tire and rim, regardless of the make of the vehicle or any other detail in this regard, with few exceptions.
Q8: Can I spray paint hubcaps?
The hubcaps, as they are plastic, can be spray painted without problems. However, some preliminary tasks are necessary to ensure a satisfactory result. Correctly, we should start by cleaning and sanding the entire surface. To make it easier for the paint to stick and also to eliminate scratches, bumps and other surface damage. Depending on the amount of color absorbed by the material, it may take two coats of spray, and even one of lacquer to fix the result.
How to use hubcaps
Although it seems one of these elements of our car to which we do not give importance, the hubcap is an element that deserves our attention, at least during the assembly process. So if you want to know what it takes to ride safely with this model, we leave you some interesting tips about it.
Choose the correct position for the valve
Before mounting the hubcap, it is necessary to choose the correct position. All the best cheap hubcaps usually have a kind of semi-circular notch on the outside of the part, designed to match the valve area. The location of the groove must always be respected, since if we do not do so, we may not be able to access the valve or, even worse, we may damage it.
Fitting a conventional hubcap
When we mount a conventional hubcap, the different elements must be correctly located. This involves holding the inner metal ring in place as well as placing the tabs inside the circle that forms the rim. We must resist the urge to give a blow to the different costs of the assembly to fix them since we have many ballots to end up breaking something. What we should do is gradually insert the tabs, using a screwdriver to locate those that require it when the tension begins to make the process difficult.
As you will see during assembly, the fastening is carried out using tabs that go inside the rim. This has the disadvantage that they can come loose with potholes or other road imperfections. So there are more than a few users who opt for additional fixings to avoid losing the hubcaps along the way. Among these solutions, we have the use of flanges which to fasten the hubcap to the rim efficiently or the use of some adhesive that fixes it in place. IF you finally decide to resort to any of these solutions, it is essential to remember that the hubcap must be removable, so a final fixation is not possible.
Mounting of a hubcap to screws
We have called them hubcaps with screws, although we can also call them antitheft hubcaps. Specifically, we are talking about the models that are installed on the rim bolts, which prevents theft or accidental detachment of the hubcap. In this case, the assembly process is complicated, since to proceed, we will have to remove the nuts that hold the tire to the corresponding studs.
Next, we must put the hubcap without forgetting what we have already mentioned for the valve. The next step is to tighten it all again, maintaining the proper pressure so that the wheel does not move. As a final step, we will have to place the trim that covers the part of the hardware, in case the hubcap includes it.