With the advent of alloy or aluminum wheels, the hubcap seemed doomed to disappear. However, we are seeing this car accessory make a comeback on the market. Partly because of how cheap it is, but also because of its new image.
If we take a look at the vehicles of some twenty or thirty years ago we will see how most of them mounted hubcaps on the tires, the exception being those that came with rims of any kind. What’s more, many of these cars had metal hubcaps, even more resistant and elegant than conventional plastic ones. With the passage of time, alloy wheels, aluminum and other materials have been imposed, leaving these hubcaps aside.
However, a glance at current catalogs and new vehicle releases shows a resurgence of these products, hubcaps, versus rims. Something that is perceived in new vehicles but also among users, who in some cases are also betting on this type of accessories for their vehicles. Let’s find out the reasons for this revival of hubcaps.
Cost, one of the keys
When it comes to buying a new vehicle, price is one of the most important aspects at our fingertips. We are talking about an investment that is rarely less than ten thousand or fifteen thousand euros, on the low side, although in more expensive models they can multiply that figure by two or three. When making that purchase, there are many options that we have at our disposal to equip this new vehicle. And among these options, alloy or aluminum wheels are the most common.
However, in times like today, in which the sale of low-cost or adjusted-price vehicles is in fashion, cost reduction comes from all sides. And rims and hubcaps cannot be an exception. For reference, a set of 16-inch wheels can increase the cost of the vehicle from € 300 to € 500, which is a considerable amount for some users. An amount for which, for these users, it is worth opting for the best hubcaps that the manufacturer can offer. Some hubcaps that, generally, will also have a higher quality than conventional ones and will not have as much risk of loss or damage.
As if that were not enough, generally the use of rims usually implies a higher cost in the change of tires of the vehicle, especially the lower the profile is. 17- or 18-inch, low-profile rims require the assembly of considerably more expensive tires, the cost of which can double that of the original tires that the car would mount with hubcaps and a conventional metal rim. So we are not only talking about a higher cost compared to the purchase of the vehicle but also in the future, in terms of the tire changes that we have to do over time.
New designs gain a following
Portfolio aside, when it comes to this choice, another important aspect related to this preference has to do with design. Today, just take a look at any comparison of hubcaps that we have on hand to see how their designs are far removed from the bland and boring approaches of a few years ago.
As an example, today we have hubcaps that quite accurately mimic the design of conventional alloy wheels, with their spokes, their metallic finishes and other elements typical of said wheels. It is also possible to find finishes other than the usual chrome, ranging from white to black, through red and even some more exotic colors, for those users who love tuning. To make matters worse, these hubcaps can be easily painted, so fully customizing them is not a problem either.
To top this approach, vehicle manufacturers themselves are reviving classic designs of their old hubcaps, while others are launching new lines, based on current affordable models. Designs that do not clash with the new lines of these vehicles, as befits a modern design product.
What manufacturers offer
At this point, perhaps the most interesting thing is to take a look at what manufacturers offer us in this regard, as proof of the new bet that brands and manufacturers of hubcaps are making for this type of product.
One of those brands is Ford, which in its new 2018 Focus includes hubcaps in the basic versions, or in those in which the user prefers them. Some hubcaps that maintain the traditional line of the brand but with a modern touch, so the fit in the image of the vehicle is ideal.
Another example is Mercedes, which has launched a low cost version of its A-class, the Mercedes A160, with a 109 horsepower engine and a design that follows the approach of this model, but with the exception of mounting hubcaps. A vehicle that is not for sale in Spain and whose main destination is car rental companies, which generally prefer cheaper cost vehicles for their operations.
As for the manufacturers of hubcaps, the truth is that there are hardly any reference names that we can cite. Among the most prominent we have NMR, whose products are intended to give a touch of tuning to our vehicles, Sakura, with products with an interesting quality-price, or AutoStyle, which has been offering all kinds of accessories for vehicles of quality at attractive prices. In any case, the offer is wide and as soon as we search we will not have problems finding interesting products at a good price.