The hubcaps, only aesthetics or also safety?

One of the doubts that drivers have regarding hubcaps is to assess whether this element is merely decorative or if it has some additional function regarding our safety on the road.

When it comes to driving our vehicle, everything that can provide us with extra security when driving is welcome. For this reason, we usually choose tires from a quality manufacturer that are suitable for the environment in which we drive, we choose a good oil, good shock absorbers and we carry out proper maintenance on our vehicle. However, within this approach we find accessories whose contribution in terms of security is doubtful, so we do not know if its function is merely decorative or it can also contribute something to our calm.

Among these accessories, one of them is the hubcaps. Some accessories that can change the image of our vehicle but that, in terms of safety, have a more dubious behavior. So to make it easier for you to find the best hubcaps in the future, we are going to try to shed some light on that question.

what are hubcaps

To begin with, we are going to know exactly what a hubcap is. Hubcaps are pieces made of different plastic materials, although there are also metal ones, which have a design designed so that they fit inside the iron rims of our vehicle. To do this, they are usually held by a system of plastic clips, reinforced with a metal ring, or they are placed directly on the bolts that hold the tire and using the corresponding nuts.

These parts have the advantage, compared to the rims that many vehicles mount, of having a cheaper price and of being sold in a large number of designs, so that with them we can give a different touch to the external image of the vehicle without having to spend too much. In addition, they are relatively easy to install and the only thing we have to worry about when buying them is that they are compatible with our wheels.

That said, the aesthetic aspect that hubcaps bring to our vehicle is more than clear. However, the main question that we have raised in this article remains, regarding whether these hubcaps provide extra security when driving on the road. A question to which we answer in the following section.

What advantages do hubcaps have?

In order to resolve the doubt that we have raised, we are going to see some of the advantages that hubcaps have in terms of safety, although we can already anticipate that they are not of extreme importance either.

One of the advantages of hubcaps is that they prevent dirt from the road from being directed towards the inside of the rim and the axle area. It is true that this function is already fulfilled, to a large extent, by the rim itself, whose holes are placed so that dirt only enters through specific areas located on the outside of it. But most of the hubcaps are responsible for covering these holes, without affecting the interior ventilation of the tire, so that if we drive through areas with projections of mud, dust and other elements, the hubcap prevents, in part, that these enter in the inner area of ​​the wheel.

Something similar also happens with the bumps and scrapes that the tire may take during rolling, especially during parking tasks. The fact of having a hubcap mounted allows it to be the one that takes those small bumps and brushes with the curbs and that these are not received by the inner rim. In any case, we are talking about relative protection, since if the blow is strong, surely the hubcap can deteriorate or even break.

As a last aspect, the hubcaps can help prevent the appearance of rust within the area of ​​​​the rim. This advantage is derived from the previous two. On the one hand, the hubcap protects the rim area from dirt, so that water and mud are not so fixed on the rim but on that hubcap, which prevents these contaminants from damaging that area of ​​​​the wheel. And on the other hand, since the hubcap prevents those bumps and scrapes, it also prevents the paint and the structure of the rim from being exposed, adding a little extra protection.

what the law says

To close this article, we solve a frequent question among drivers. It is not mandatory to carry hubcaps in our vehicle in case we do not want to do so. The fact of not wearing hubcaps on the wheels will not cause the vehicle to be rejected at the ITV, it will not entail a fine in the event that we are stopped at a control, nor will it entail any other legal problem. So if what worries you is the legality, in this aspect you will not have problems. In fact, many of the vehicles used by car rental companies, leasing companies and others, do not have hubcaps, in order to save costs both in the purchase of the vehicles they rent and in what has to do with their maintenance, for the treatment that these vehicles usually receive.

What you do have to keep in mind is that, in case of mounting hubcaps, as happens with any other element of the vehicle, it must be safe. In other words, the hubcaps must be properly attached to the vehicle, not be damaged, not have edges or sharp elements, nor have any defect that could pose a risk to other drivers. In this case we could have ITV problems, although it would be enough to remove the affected hubcap to solve it.

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