Wheel Covers or Hubcaps?


How Are Wheel Covers Different from Hubcaps?


        The wheel is one of the most important parts of the automobile. It is basically the legs of your ride. Not only does the wheel help the car move, it also helps in supporting its weight, and can even have an effect on a car’s looks. It can be prone to wear and tear, which occasionally results to damage, altered performance, compromised looks, and reduced safety. Because of this, one must provide their wheels with all the protection it can get. One of the best ways to protect your wheels is by installing wheel covers. What are these covers, what makes them different from hubcaps, and what are the distinct advantages of having them installed?


        To answer the question “what is a wheel cover”, one must first distinguish how a wheel cover is defined. And to do that, it must go head-to-head with its arguably more popular brother, the hubcap. One of the most confusing things about this question is the fact that these 2 terms are usually confused with each other. In fact, it is common practice to call wheel covers hubcaps, and to call hubcaps wheel covers. But the fact is, there are some differences that make these 2 seemingly similar wheel accessories uniquely different from each other. 


        Technically speaking, the main difference between a wheel cover and a hubcap is how much of the wheel’s surface do they actually cover. In its strictest sense, a wheel cover is an accessory that covers the entire diameter of the wheel. In contrast, the hubcap is a device that covers only the center portion of the wheel, which means it only conceals the lug nuts. And while their mounting mechanics tend to be similar with each other, their main difference is basically that: the level of wheel space it covers.


        There are different advantages of going for a wheel cover instead of a hubcap. The first main reason is wheel protection. While the hubcap is designed to keep the lug nuts protected from the elements, a wheel cover actually extends that to the entire diameter of the wheel. Because of this aspect, it provides more protection for the wheel itself. Not only are the lugs protected from abrasion, rusting agents, and all those stuff, but the wheel itself is thoroughly protected.


        But of course, the main reason the wheel cover has had such an ubiquitous presence in the automotive world is because of its aesthetics. When used the right way, it can make the wheels of your ride look much better. For those who are using OEM wheels, adding a wheel cover is an instant way to make your wheels look different, even without replacing the rims. Installing the right cover can make just about any kind of wheel, even the cheapest-looking ones, more aesthetically pleasing. There are also other wheel covers that are more extravagant by design. Some full covers are chromed for dramatic effect, and some even use specialized features such as non-rotating hubcaps and spinners to spice up their ride!


        Last but not least, did you know that there are also wheel covers designed to improve your car’s performance? Performance wheel covers were first developed by BBS, one of the prominent names in performance wheels. They developed a wheel cover that can actually channel airflow in such a way that it increases downforce. And with added downforce comes more stability at high speed. These high-performance wheel covers are now being used for both road and track applications worldwide.