What Is the Purpose of Hubcaps?

by Kim Nunley

A hubcap, or wheel cover, is a decorative piece that covers the center area of an automobile tire. Hubcaps are used primarily for aesthetic reasons. However, they do provide some minor safety and aerodynamic benefits.

Function

A hubcap's position over the center of the wheel provides some weather protection, thus helping prevent rusting and corroding of lugs and studs.

Effects

Hubcaps may cause an automobile to be more aerodynamic and thus increase, though minutely, fuel efficiency.

Benefits

If wheel lugs are not properly tightened, they can fall off. If a hubcap is present, they will fall into the wheel cover and jingle, alerting the driver so that immediate attention can be given. Wheel lugs falling off unnoticed can result in the entire tire coming off the car.

Potential

Despite not being essential, hubcaps can be somewhat expensive, so if an owner is not concerned with aesthetic benefits, generic hubcaps are available. Used hubcaps can be purchased for a more affordable cost from a recycling yard.

Considerations

The presence of hubcaps will affect the resale value of the car, so an individual interested in selling would want to ensure the presence of all four hubcaps.

References

About the Author

Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.