Vintage Car and Truck Wheels, Tires, and Hubcaps
Hubcaps and wheel covers are used to protect the central portion of the wheel. They come in different shapes, sizes, and designs. This makes finding one for your vintage car or truck that matches your style easy.What are hubcaps made of?
Over the years, manufacturers have made hubcaps with different materials, such as these:
- Nickel-plated brass: This material is common in caps for vintage cars made before 1915.
- Aluminum: This material is common in caps for vehicles made in the 1920s. Some caps in the 1930s were also made out of this material.
- Chrome: Cord and Hudson were some of the early manufacturers in the 1930s to start using full-wheel chrome hubcaps. These caps can be identified by a Hudson or Hudson Eight written on the centre of the cap.
- Painted steel: Caps made from this material started to appear in the 1940s and were painted to match the colour of the vehicle.
- Plastic: The most common type among newer vehicles, plastic wheel covers have replaced steel ones.
Wheel covers and hubcaps get interchanged frequently. Here are the main differences between the two so that you can search easily for the one that matches your needs.
- Hubcaps: These are typically found on older vehicles. They fit directly over the wheel hub so that they can keep dirt and moisture out of the wheel bearings.
- Wheel covers: Wheel covers typically protect the whole wheel, including the lug nuts.
There are three main ways for how hubcaps attach to your tires. Here are the methods for removing the caps off of each of them.
- Snap on: For hubcaps that are held on by clips, you can use a prying tool like a flathead screwdriver to remove it if it just covers the hub area. For full-wheel covers, you can use the prying tip on the lug wrench. On most hubcaps, you should see slots where you can remove them.
- Lug nuts: Using the lug wrench, you will want to loosen the nuts without removing them completely from the tire. Some vehicles have plastic caps instead that allow you to remove the hubcap without removing the lug nuts.
- Screw on: Some hubcaps are held on to the wheel by screws. Some will require a screwdriver, but others may need special tools.