Posted on

Interesting Hubcap Features

Below is a brief discussion and illustration of several common hubcap features.


back and front view of hubcap # c14ford1975_6

The first full size stainless steel hubcaps were truly solid.

back and front view of hubcap # c14chry1975_7

The front side was a polished [shiny] finish and the back side was not polished.

So, above, you saw hubcaps with decorative notches and holes in the design.

Now, below, are some of these stainless steel designs that have various symbol imprints into the metal surface. And, also, some centers have plastic center inserts or attachments.


An option worth mentioning is a trim ring.  A hubcap rim can make a 15” hubcap fit a 16” wheel.  An example of a trim rim [the outer ring piece] is shown in images below.


There are some designs where the design was both stainless with some major plastic parts. Below is a 14 inch Chrysler 1988 hubcap with both “metal and plastic” on both the back and front.

And, below, are some mostly all plastic designs with very creative and attractive contours .


The initial wire wheel hubcaps had wires that ran radially as shown. [Note that one design is 14″ and other is 15″ wire wheel] And then, designs used an attractive crossing wires as illustrated below.

Because wire wheel hubcaps are relatively more expensive, some locking designs became quite common. This locking is done by making the center piece (INSERT) removable for the installing of a locking bolt design (BELOW) difficult to remove.

Most owners found the locks very troublesome because changing a flat tire became more labor intensive and, also requiring specialty tools. [ Hubcap Hilton has very low inventory of locking hardware for wire wheel type hubcaps. ]

The above L14chev1981_6 {locking hardware} is not a common item we sell. But we do have a few and this fits a wire wheel type hubcap w14chev1981_3 , a 14 inch chevy 1981.


Rims were common with use of small diameter caps. These are hard to identify; and the market is small, so the discussion will be very limited. Hubcap Hilton does not sell rims and small caps yet because we have not inventoried / identified our rims yet.


Hubcaps are attached to the steel wheel by either wedging [pushing] or bolting. Wedging is the most common and the designs are quite varied. The attachment design is on the back of the hubcap.

One of the nicest wedging attachment designs is an integral stainless multi-clip design. Amazing that stainless steel could be formed in this manner. Many like this design because no carbon steel exists in the backside design and hence no rusting occurs with time [which destroys many “antique” hubcaps].

Another common and very functional attachment design has a carbon steel ring with several flexible clips riveted to the ring. The design results in several groups of 4 metal points that project out radial and flex when the hubcap wedges onto the wheel. The images below illustrate this design.

Another attachment design uses a wire ring design and provides several clip points for attachment. Many plastic designs commonly had plastic arms and hence several clip attachment points. Below are a few images illustrating these various designs.

There are a few hubcaps where the front does not change, but the clip design is varied for some (unknown) reason. Below is an example.

And there are a few designs where the hubcap attaches via nuts screwing onto the wheel studs. One design illustration below uses plastic lug-nuts within the hubcap and another illustration shows a design where the car lug-nuts are for attachment.


Because of the large hubcap variation, one common question is whether a different hubcap will fit properly on a different wheel? Our advice, to increase proper fit, is to stick with a design in roughly the same time frame [plus or minus 7 years] as the original hubcap. And, also stick with the car manufacturer. And, upgrading to a wire wheel hubcap, is a pretty desirable move if the attachment design is fully functional. When trying such an adventure, buy from a supplier that will accept returns for any reason [such as shop at HUBCAP HILTON].