Giant shiny rims are pretty much the standard in the automotive industry. Even some subcompact cars that are offered on the market come with 15” to 16” sizes, while some SUVs can be had with 22” rims. Suffice to say; large rims make absolutely every vehicle look much better. They give masculinity, power, and sporty notes even to the most boring car designed. But what if we told you that you could make your wheels stand out even more? Thanks to the discovery of hub caps and wheel covers, your rims can look even better.
Some people aren’t so sure about these things, though. Putting a piece of plastic over the rim doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. However, the highest-quality wheel skins today offer the same visual appearance of your rim, while also protecting it from scratches. There are also many different finishes available, such as chrome or steel, which can improve the overall look of the rims. Finally, we can even agree that hub caps universally improve the looks of any rim, only by covering the hole in the middle.
In this article, we will cover everything there is to know about wheel accessories, such as wheel covers, wheel skins, rim covers, and hub caps. We will discuss things like design, customization, and protection, including our opinion on why to even use wheel covers.
Hub caps are the available the longest and are designed to cover the hole in the middle of the alloy wheel. Most car manufacturers today cover their rims with hub caps with the logo of the company imprinted on it. However, you can easily replace them with aftermarket custom hub caps that will have different printing on them.
Whatever the choice, everybody agrees that new wheels look better with hub caps. They seem to act as a subtle finish to the overall appearance of the wheel. Without a hub cap in the middle, the wheels might look “empty.” Oh, and they also protect the center of the wheel from getting too much debris. Most hub caps today are made from ABS plastic and colored to match the wheel. However, there are some hub caps available made from steel or aluminum, especially for very expensive rims and classic vehicles.
Most center caps are designed to fit most wheels of the same size. The primary differentiation here is color and printing. Nonetheless, on some rims, the caps must have a particular shape to fit the wheel.
Wheel covers were the de-facto industry standard in the ’90s. They were designed to cover the uninteresting design of steel wheels, all of which were similar to each other. Available in many different designs, wheel covers are an inexpensive way of making your steel wheels look better. They also act as a barrier and will protect the wheel from scratching.
Wheel covers are mostly used for decorative purposes as older steel wheels all look the same. Many different designs are available, which means that everyone can customize the wheels to their own liking. They also keep the rims itself from scratching when you touch a curb with the wheel. Some covers are designed also to regulate airflow around the wheel and improve aerodynamics. However, the difference they do is relatively small and unnoticeable.
Most wheel covers are made from ABS plastic and can be easily attached to the wheel only by pressing with the hand. However, some models can be bolted-on together with the wheels so they can’t be easily stolen. That said, for some classic vehicles, you can also find steel, aluminum, or chromed wheel covers. These are usually more expensive and not available readily.
Wheel skins are similar to wheel covers, only designed for new alloy wheels. These products are specifically designed to tightly fit one particular model of a rim. That’s why it is essential that you always choose ones that will precisely match the wheels you own. You can check by your car’s model for the factory rims, or the model of the wheels themselves if you bought them as a replacement.
Whatever the rim, wheel skins should not change the appearance of the original wheel. Their primary purpose is to protect the alloy wheel from scratches and bumps. Wheel skins cover the entirety of the wheel and act as a barrier from stones and debris, or when you touch a curb. The skins are also relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to purchasing a new rim. In other words, replacing the skins will be cheaper than repairing the scratched wheel.
Wheel skins come in many different finishes to give you a higher level of personalization. For example, purchasing chrome-plated wheel skin is much cheaper and more convenient than finishing your wheel in chrome. And if you buy high-quality ones, they will look almost exactly like full-blown chrome wheels. Other finishes and colors are also available, bringing customizability to a whole new level.
Modern tires have much smaller sidewalls, which puts a lot more strain on the wheels. It seems that every time you even touch the curb of the sidewalk, the wheels take damage. And damaged wheels certainly don’t look attractive, especially those that have special coatings.
For most car enthusiasts, scratching their new and expensive wheels is a real nightmare. Repairing a damaged wheel is costly, and the results often aren’t the best. Like most things in life, it is better to prevent the damage from even happening in the first place.
Thanks to wheel covers and wheel skins, you can easily protect your wheels from ever being damaged again. These products are often made of ABS plastic, a material that is well-suited to protect the rims. They are cheap and can be replaced in a minute, without any tool required.