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  • FIRST POST
    • Ultrasonic
    • By Ultrasonic 3rd Dec 13, 9:17 PM
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    Ultrasonic
    Do wheel trims serve a useful purpose?
    • #1
    • 3rd Dec 13, 9:17 PM
    Do wheel trims serve a useful purpose? 3rd Dec 13 at 9:17 PM
    I have some new steel wheels with winter tyres on, and am trying to decide whether to buy some wheel trims (hub caps). I don't actually mind the look of the 'naked' steel wheels, but was wondering if some plastic wheel trims would be a good idea to protect the currently exposed wheel nuts and the end of the wheel hub?
Page 1
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 3rd Dec 13, 9:36 PM
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    Richard53
    • #2
    • 3rd Dec 13, 9:36 PM
    • #2
    • 3rd Dec 13, 9:36 PM
    As far as I can see, they are purely cosmetic. If you are bothered about the wheel nuts corroding, just pop a smear of grease on the nut and exposed threads.

    Back in the day, when the police always had bread-and-butter cars to patrol in, they took them off straight away. You could always tell a police car because it had black steel wheels, not plastic fake alloys. I can't see them doing that if it had a bad effect on the metal bits.

    Judging by the number you see by the roadside (and the number of owners who zip-tie them on), I imagine they won't be on there long anyway.
    If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 3rd Dec 13, 10:03 PM
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    esuhl
    • #3
    • 3rd Dec 13, 10:03 PM
    • #3
    • 3rd Dec 13, 10:03 PM
    I'm not entirely sure, but I always assumed they were cosmetic -- to make plain old wheels look a little bit more like expensive alloys...
    • atrixblue.-MFR-.
    • By atrixblue.-MFR-. 3rd Dec 13, 10:07 PM
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    atrixblue.-MFR-.
    • #4
    • 3rd Dec 13, 10:07 PM
    • #4
    • 3rd Dec 13, 10:07 PM
    I dislike exposed metal rims and they tidy them up nicely. poorly fitted ones will work loose and fall off or cause whistle when driving or a horrible sound when going over humps bumps and things. always nicer to buy a set of silver zip ties to tie them so not noticeable at a glance their tied on.

    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 3rd Dec 13, 10:09 PM
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    AdrianC
    • #5
    • 3rd Dec 13, 10:09 PM
    • #5
    • 3rd Dec 13, 10:09 PM
    Another vote for cosmetic only.

    A little dob of copaslip on wheelnut threads and the centre bore of the wheel's always a good idea anyway - less so on steel wheels, but it helps to prevent electrolytic corrosion between the steel hub and alloy wheels, which can make it difficult to remove the wheel.

    Back in the days before alloys were ubiquitous, !!!!!-spec models would have no wheeltrim, or maybe just a small plastic centre cap. A bit higher would have a fairly plain plastic trim. Top spec would have a glitzy trim, or maybe "styled" steels with a chrome ring around the rim...
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 3rd Dec 13, 10:19 PM
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    Richard53
    • #6
    • 3rd Dec 13, 10:19 PM
    • #6
    • 3rd Dec 13, 10:19 PM
    "styled" steels with a chrome ring around the rim...
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    I remember those. Yuk.
    If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.
    • bigjl
    • By bigjl 3rd Dec 13, 10:50 PM
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    bigjl
    • #7
    • 3rd Dec 13, 10:50 PM
    • #7
    • 3rd Dec 13, 10:50 PM
    The reason Police cars removed the wheel trims was purely financial

    If a car was en route somewhere and a wheel trim came off and hit somebody causing an injury the force would be liable financially, it would also technically be a Polacc.

    Apart from looking slightly better and providing some protection to the wheelnuts they have a slight aerodynamic benefit

    The reason Prius have plastic wheel trims aswell as alloy wheels is to protect the wheels from kerb damage as the alloy they are made of is different to most wheels, can't remember what alloy it is off hand

    As far as the OP goes I would leave as is
    • Westmead Fan
    • By Westmead Fan 4th Dec 13, 8:22 AM
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    Westmead Fan
    • #8
    • 4th Dec 13, 8:22 AM
    • #8
    • 4th Dec 13, 8:22 AM
    if you don't like wheel trims & just have the steel wheel showing what you can do is clean the rim up & spray silver paint just to smarten them up.
    • albionrovers
    • By albionrovers 4th Dec 13, 8:25 AM
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    albionrovers
    • #9
    • 4th Dec 13, 8:25 AM
    • #9
    • 4th Dec 13, 8:25 AM
    +1 for liability. A loose trim will eventually come off and cause damage.
    • neilmcl
    • By neilmcl 4th Dec 13, 8:52 AM
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    neilmcl
    +1 for liability. A loose trim will eventually come off and cause damage.
    Originally posted by albionrovers
    That's what cable ties are for.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 4th Dec 13, 8:53 AM
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    AdrianC
    That's what cable ties are for.
    Originally posted by neilmcl
    With a side order of "Not if you don't bounce it off the kerbs"
    • Joe Horner
    • By Joe Horner 4th Dec 13, 10:00 AM
    • 4,502 Posts
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    Joe Horner
    They prevent an MOT inspector from spoting your missing wheel nuts / broken studs. A bit like plastic sill covers and arch liners do with rust*

    Apart from that pretty well cosmetic only





    * Although properly designed and fitted arch liners (quite rare) will reduce the rust in the first place
    • Stooby2
    • By Stooby2 4th Dec 13, 10:07 AM
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    Stooby2
    With a side order of "Not if you don't bounce it off the kerbs"
    by AdrianC
    Many years ago, outside the Oval cricket ground, a road repair was made across the road - a trench a foot wide, which was filled and left. The new tarmac sunk a few inches leaving a shallow depression, which seemed to be the exact dimensions for removing wheel trims. I can vividly remember following a Datsun which went over the trench and all four hubcaps came off together and bowled down the road.

    By the time the trench was remade a few days later there was quite a pile of hubcaps on the pavement. Given the state of our roads today, I'd imagine it's quite easy to lose hubcaps without ever going near a kerb.
    • Ultrasonic
    • By Ultrasonic 4th Dec 13, 10:09 AM
    • 2,119 Posts
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    Ultrasonic
    if you don't like wheel trims & just have the steel wheel showing what you can do is clean the rim up & spray silver paint just to smarten them up.
    Originally posted by Westmead Fan
    The wheels are brand new so no need for any work, which is partly why I think they look OK

    Thanks for the replies everyone.
    • Retrogamer
    • By Retrogamer 4th Dec 13, 2:37 PM
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    Retrogamer
    They help limit the exposure to the elements, especially in winter. When i worked in a garage if 1 wheel trim was missing from a car, that was usually the wheel where it was difficult to get off because the spigot had rusted onto the hub / drum.
    • londonTiger
    • By londonTiger 4th Dec 13, 7:15 PM
    • 4,826 Posts
    • 1,308 Thanks
    londonTiger
    I have some new steel wheels with winter tyres on, and am trying to decide whether to buy some wheel trims (hub caps). I don't actually mind the look of the 'naked' steel wheels, but was wondering if some plastic wheel trims would be a good idea to protect the currently exposed wheel nuts and the end of the wheel hub?
    Originally posted by Ultrasonic
    I use "naked" steel wheels. The plastics have seen better days and the paint has flaked off on some areas.

    I think you have to look aty it from the original dealers POV. When wheel trims are brand new, they do look somewhat respectable. They certainly look a lot more sellable than exposed steel wheels.

    I think that's ultimately why they have it at the beginning.
    Last edited by londonTiger; 04-12-2013 at 7:17 PM.
    • oldagetraveller
    • By oldagetraveller 5th Dec 13, 11:25 AM
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    oldagetraveller
    Another vote for cosmetic only.

    A little dob of copaslip on wheelnut threads
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    No, never do this. It will mean that the torque cannot be applied accurately and lead to overtightening of the nuts/studs.
    Between the wheel and hub mounting faces, yes.
    Did you hear about the politician who had a backside transplant? It rejected him.
    • Uxb
    • By Uxb 5th Dec 13, 12:00 PM
    • 1,158 Posts
    • 1,243 Thanks
    Uxb
    I can remember the old chrome hub cap which just covered the centre bit where the wheel nuts were.
    They were often more difficult to get off than the subsequent wheel nuts!
    The car's supplied jack spanner often had a special bit on the other end to hook under the cap and then by levering it against the wheel edge to 'pop' the caps off.
    • GolfBravo
    • By GolfBravo 5th Dec 13, 1:57 PM
    • 1,083 Posts
    • 1,556 Thanks
    GolfBravo
    Apart from that pretty well cosmetic only
    Originally posted by Joe Horner
    No, they're not cosmetic only.

    Car manufacturers make a fortune selling replacement wheel covers - they are very crucial part of their aftersales cashflow.

    Every car manufacturer I have ever worked with had wheel covers close to the top of their spare part/accessory profitability list. There is one I know with a 1200% profit margin even before a dealer profit margin is applied. It's a goldmine!

    For any heavy-duty driving you're better off without them. Look at these guys:


    "Retail is for suckers"
    Cosmo Kramer
    • OddballJamie
    • By OddballJamie 5th Dec 13, 3:04 PM
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    OddballJamie
    Keep them naked and be proud of the winter boots.

    You're making the roads a safer place.
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