One of the doubts that drivers have regarding hubcaps is to assess whether this element is merely decorative or whether it has any additional function regarding our road safety.
When it comes to circulating with our vehicle, anything that can give us extra security when riding 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 perform proper maintenance on our vehicle. However, within this approach we find accessories whose contribution in terms of safety is doubtful, so we do not know if their function is merely decorative or 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, in terms of safety, have a more dubious behavior. So to make it easier for you to find the best hubcaps in the future, let’s try to shed some light on that question.
What are hubcaps
To start with, let’s find out exactly what a hubcap is. The hubcaps are pieces made of different plastic materials, although there are also metallic ones, which have a design designed so that they are fitted inside the iron rims of our vehicle. For 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 being sold in a large number of designs, so that with them we can give a different touch to the exterior 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 the hubcaps bring to our vehicle is more than clear. However, the main question that we have raised in this article remains, relative to whether these hubcaps provide extra safety when driving on the road. A question that we answer in the next section.
What are the advantages of hubcaps
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 road debris from moving 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 positioned 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 mud, dust and other elements, the hubcap prevents, in part, from entering. in the inner area of the wheel.
Something similar also happens with the bumps and friction that the tire can take during the break, especially in parking tasks. The fact of having a hubcap mounted allows it to be the one that takes away those small bumps and friction with the curbs and that these are not received by the inner rim. Anyway, we are talking about a relative protection, since if the blow is strong, surely the hubcap can deteriorate or even break.
As a final point, hubcaps can help prevent rust from within the rim area. This advantage is derived from the previous two. On the one hand, the hubcap protects the area of the rim from dirt, so that the water and mud are not so fixed on the rim but on the hubcap, which prevents these contaminants from damaging that area of the wheel. And on the other hand, since the hubcap avoids those bumps and scratches, it also prevents the paint and the structure of the rim from being exposed, adding a little extra protection.
What the law says
At the end of this article, we solve a frequent doubt among drivers. It is not mandatory to carry hubcaps in our vehicle in case we do not want to. 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 case we are stopped at a control, nor will it pose any other legal problem. So if what concerns you is legality, in this aspect you will not have problems. In fact, many of the vehicles used by car rental, renting and other companies do not have hubcaps, in order to save costs both in buying the vehicles they rent and in what has to do with their maintenance, for the treatment these vehicles usually receive.
What you must bear in mind is that, in the case of mounting hubcaps, as with any other element of the vehicle, it must be safe. In other words, the hubcaps must be properly fixed to the vehicle, not be damaged, not have sharp edges or elements, nor have any defect that could pose a risk to other drivers. In this case, we could have problems at ITV, although it would be enough to remove the affected hubcap to solve it.