Losing a hubcap is an all too common occurrence — and it’s not fun. But what do you do when one rattles loose and sails off your tire as you zoom down the highway?
This blog will discuss whether hubcaps are important for your car, if you need to replace them immediately, and whether it’s better to replace them yourself or have a professional do it.
What Is The Purpose of A Hubcap, Anyway?
Technically, a hubcap protects the nuts and bolts of your car’s tires. However, since most hubcaps today are made of plastic, the protection factor of hubcaps is low. But if you regularly wash your car and rotate your tires, rust buildup should remain at a minimum. (If you really want to protect your tires’ nuts and bolts, use alloy wheels.)
As a result, plastic hubcaps offer more aesthetic appeal than true protection. If you do not want to replace the hubcap, your car should not suffer. However, many people agree that a missing hubcap can be unsightly, so most people opt for replacements.
How to Replace a Hubcap
Luckily, the process of replacing the hubcap is relatively simple. You just need your replacement hubcaps, gloves, a flat-head screwdriver, and an optional rubber mallet.
Determine wheel size. First, determine the size of your wheel so you can choose the right sized hubcaps. The size can usually be found directly on the tire.
Remove hubcap (if necessary). If you are replacing a set of hubcaps, not just the missing one, use your flat-head screwdriver to loosen the hubcap ring from the tire.
Attach ring to hubcap. Most hubcaps come with a metal ring that has a groove in it which will fit around the tire valve. Attach this ring to the hubcap on the outer grooves for a larger tire fit and on the inner groove for a smaller tire/tighter fit.
Tap hubcap into the wheel. Use your gloved hand or a rubber mallet to tap the hubcap into place. Be careful if you are using plastic hubcaps (most common), as tapping too hard can crack the material.
Follow these steps for all wheels of the car — or whichever hubcaps you opt to replace.
While replacing a hubcap is not necessary for the health and safety of your vehicle, it can help protect your wheels and make your car look more put together. Fortunately, replacing a hubcap is a relatively simple project.
If you are uncertain about how to replace a hubcap, you’re concerned about breaking one during installation, or you’d simply like a professional to do the job, contact us at Living the Dream.