One way of customizing vehicles is installing hub caps. Also known as wheel caps, hub caps are metal or plastic covers that protect tires from debris and rust. But aside from protecting tires, hub caps also have aesthetic purposes. In fact, hub cap installation is one of the most common ways of improving a car's appearance. If you want to buy some hub caps to upgrade your vehicle, there are some things that you must consider first. Listed below are some of the factors that you have to consider, so you won't end up buying wrong hub caps.
The right size
When buying hub caps for your car, you need to choose the right size. Fortunately, knowing the size of hub cap that you need is very easy. All you need to do is check the last number inscribed on your car's tires. For instance, if the tires of your 2009 Honda Civic have the numbers P175/65/R14, then you will need 14" hub caps. Likewise, if the last number is R16, then you'll need 16" hub caps.
OEM and aftermarket
Once you know the size of hub caps you need, you can now choose between original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and aftermarket hub caps. OEM means that the part is manufactured by your car's maker. On the other hand, aftermarket parts are those that are made by other companies such as CCI, APA/URO, and EMPI. Basically, aftermarket hub caps are cheaper than OEM because of the market competition. However, even if aftermarket caps are cheap, you still can't guarantee their quality. So you won't regret your purchase, make sure that you're familiar with the trusted aftermarket brands in the market. But if you don't want to gamble, then you should purchase OEM hub caps. Even if they're more expensive, you can be assured that they will suit your car perfectly.
Metal and plastic
If you'll leaf through a car parts catalog for hub caps, you'll notice that hub caps are offered in metal and plastic models. Even if both metal and plastic hub caps protect tires from debris and rust, they still have differences.
- Price: Nowadays, a plastic cap ranges from 25 USD to 40 USD while a metal hub cap costs around 50 USD to 100 USD. So, if you're on a tight budget, you should buy the plastic ones.
- Installation: When it comes to ease of installation, most people prefer plastic hub caps over metal ones. This is because most plastic caps are fastened on wheels via hoops that secure them in place. Unlike metal caps, you don't need to hammer plastic hub caps in place. All you need to do is fasten them on, then voila! You have new hub caps.
- Design: Aside from protecting your tires from debris, hub caps spruce up your ride, too. If you want your car to look like those classic Mustang and Falcon vehicles, you should buy metal hub caps.