Tire Forge > Tire How To's > Hubcap Replacement Guide – Measuring hubcap size, Install & More
If you wish to replace your hubcap, the most important thing to note is that the size printed on your tire will not match its physical measurements.
In the automotive world measurement of hubcap size is done in relation to the tire size of your vehicle.
Thus, measuring the hubcap with an old tape measure will get you the actual diameter but in practice, the listed hubcap diameter will be slightly lower than that.
How to measure hubcap size?
Physically measuring the hubcap is not required here.
You will know your hubcap size by looking at a series of numbers printed on tires.
So, if you look at the side of your tire, there will be a series of numbers ending beginning with ‘P’ and ending with ‘R’ and a number, R14, R15, R16, etc.
This final number will determine the size of hubcap you need. R14 would mean you need a 14-inch hubcap.
Can I place any hubcap on my car?
99% of the time they are interchangeable among different makes and models as long as the tire size remains the same.
In other words, a 14-inch hubcap will fit a correct size wheel across all vehicles on the road today.
Popular Sized Hubcaps for 14,15,16 and 17inch wheels
Pilot Automotive’s wheel covers are constructed out of corrosion and rust-resistant ABS, this gives them a lustrous and durable finish.
They are easy to secure, utilizing a micro-adjustable retention system that guarantees a snug fit on all 14-inch tires.
The only downside, the covers come with four metal retention rings that have to be attached to each of them first before they can be installed onto the wheels.
This can get a bit fiddly and will require a bit of prepping from your end.
Pilot Automotive’s Step-by-Step Guide to do this is not particularly helpful in this regard.
Alpena’s 15-inch wheel cover sports a carbon texture and a satin gunmetal finish.
They are made in Germany from premium quality materials for long-lasting durability.
With these, you get a carbon fiber look at under $50, which is very good value for money in our opinion.
However, some users have complained about their fit, so that is something to keep in your mind while buying these.
These Spyder/Gunmetal Grey wheel covers from Pilot Automotive provide an economical way to give a big visual upgrade for your vehicle.
They are designed to fit snugly on any 16-inch steel wheel rims.
Do not use them for alloy wheels as they are not compatible with them.
Just like all other Pilot Automotive wheel covers you need to first install the metal retention rings before installing them onto your wheel.
Pilot Automotive is a renowned manufacturer of budget-friendly wheel covers that instantly transform the wheels of your vehicle.
This 17-inch wheel cover carries all the latest innovations such as corrosion-resistant materials that keep the covers from being easily damaged from the rigors of the road.
It also features a micro-adjustable retention system, that gives you peace of mind from your wheel covers falling off.
What is the difference between Wheel Covers and Hubcaps?
In most cases these terms are interchangeable.
However, in the traditional sense hubcaps were usually just to cover up the lug nuts of the wheel hub/bearing assembly.
Wheel covers on the other hand cover the entire face of the wheel.
How to Remove & Install Hubcaps
This will depend on the type of attachment that is used to secure your hubcap. There are two types, one that screws on with lug nuts and the other that snaps onto the wheel rims.
Screws on with lug nuts
If yours is the first kind, you will need to unscrew the lug nuts with a tire wrench put on the new hubcap, and screw them back on. Make sure to park your car on a level road and engage the handbrake before undertaking this.
Also, most new hubcaps come with was washers, make sure to put them in as well, or else it can lead to squeaking.
On the other hand, if you have one of those snap-on ones, you will only need to pry the cover with a flat screwdriver.
Once unclipped you should be able to remove it by pulling it towards you. It is only fixed by small plastic hinges that have just lodged in the wheel rim flange.
Installation of new ones will require you to just line it up with the wheel rim and snap it on.
Some alloy wheels might require you to take out the entire wheel to install the hubcap. If this is the case with your vehicle, we would suggest getting it done by a professional.
Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About Stretched Tires
Why do my hubcaps keep falling off?
One of the major reasons this happens is because the hubcap is not installed properly.
This can be fixed by tightening the lug nuts or making sure they are fit flush to the wheel rim. Another reason for this can be driving over potholes.
Not only do potholes cause these items to come off a car, but they can cause tire damage as well.
Are there any quick repairs for damaged hubcaps?
In case you don’t want to buy a new hubcap right away. You can use zip ties to tie your damaged hubcap to the wheel spokes.
This is an effective on-the-go repair. However, if your hubcaps are extensively damaged, we would recommend you to get rid of them altogether, instead of temporarily tying on a broken one.
Can you drive without hubcaps?
Yes, you can definitely drive without them. Hubcaps are mainly used for cosmetic purposes, although they do have some practical benefits other than that.
They can help protect the wheel face from dirt, rocks, and other debris from the road.
A snug full-face cover can also have a very slight effect on the performance of the vehicle, as it reduces air drag at higher speeds.
How long do wheel covers last?
These days most wheel covers of them are made out of high-quality plastic and you can also get alloy ones.
Good quality ones if maintained properly can last for years, and can be used from one tire to the next.
Hopefully, this article helped you understand everything related to hubcaps and wheel covers.
If you need any other automobile-related questions answered do check out our blog for more helpful articles such as this.
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To determine your hubcap or wheel size, start by finding a series of 9 letters and numbers on the side of your tire that begins with the letter "P". At the end of this series, you will see the letter "R" followed by 2 numbers. These last two numbers are your hubcap or wheel size.How do I know what size hubcaps to buy? ›
To determine your hubcap or wheel size, start by finding a series of 9 letters and numbers on the side of your tire that begins with the letter "P". At the end of this series, you will see the letter "R" followed by 2 numbers. These last two numbers are your hubcap or wheel size.Is hubcap size same as tire size? ›
The size of your hubcaps isn't actually determined by the size of your car's wheels – it's determined by the size of your tires. Every tire made in the United States has a series of letters and numbers stamped on it that helps track what type of tire it is.
Because there is no standard style of hubcaps, you may need to do some work to determine which type your car has.How do you measure wheel hub size? ›
The hub length is the measurement through the middle of the wheel (or hub) measuring from end point to end point (or bearing to bearing). You'll want to make sure to measure through the center of the wheel and not just the outside as there will be space in your rim that will go unaccounted for.What is the difference between a hub cap and a wheel cover? ›
Hub caps protect the area of the center cap but typically cover more area. Wheel covers contain the whole face of the wheel. All offer aesthetic and practical benefits to the wheel. Hub caps protect the lug nuts but a wheel cover protects the entire wheel surface.Does bolt pattern matter for hubcaps? ›
Upload complete! A: It doesn't matter. The important thing is the wheel size. The hub caps don't mount with the lug nuts, they snap into the outer edge of the rim.Are all hub caps interchangeable? ›
They are not a universal fit like wheel covers, so be sure to do your research on them and confirm they will fit the exact style of wheels of your vehicle.Does the tire tell you the rim size? ›
The next number is the diameter code, in inches, of the rim onto which the tire can be mounted. For example, a tire with the 33X12.50R17LT 120Q would fit a rim with a 17-inch diameter.
The outer diameter is the hub bore, while the inner diameter is the diameter of the vehicle hub itself. For example: a hub-centric ring size of 73-67.1 would mean that the wheel center bore is 73 mm wide and the vehicle hub is 67.1 mm wide.
Do i need to lift the car up with a jack before doing this? Not necessarily. However, you do use a jack after you loosen the lugnuts, so you get the tire off the vehicle easier.Can hubcaps go over any rims? ›
Yes, you can put any design or shape of wheel coverings you want over your rims. Just match your wheel size and bolt pattern to make sure it is compatible.What is another name for hubcaps? ›
A nave plate is a British name for a hubcap.