To determine the hubcap size, check your tire (not the wheel). You will see a bunch of letters and numbers. These identify the type of tire you have. The number next to the letter R is the correct size. If you see R15, the size is 15 inches. If it is R17, the hubcap to use is 17 inches, and so on.
Hubcaps are also called steel covers. These are metallic discs created to fit the tire centerpiece. The role of steel covers is to shield lug nuts from the elements.
However, these are also used to decorate and spruce up the car. Manufacturers usually don’t style this area, so the steel covers are used by owners to add some personality to it.
The early models were constructed from heavy steel. These were more functional than ornamental. As time went by, the car manufacturers realized the steel covers could be used to stylize and promote their company.
During the 1920s and 1930s, different hubcap sizes and styles began appearing. These types employed the Art Deco design look. The company names were set on the steel covers.
World War II forced companies to restrict the use of chromium and steel in the steel covers. Eventually, aluminum and other alloys became the material of choice. After the end of World War II, demand for these covers grew.
The US economy grew along with the size of the cars. The steel covers in the 1950s are oversized and have ornamental extensions. Chrome was also used extensively in the 1950s steel covers.
During the 1970s, the steel covers became more streamlined. However, the older covers would become popular among collectors. Some of these items are now highly priced items.
Various types are being manufactured today. One of the most popular is the free-spinning center element. These are often chrome, silver or gold. They are very popular among young people. Their popularity is such that some companies advertise products on them.
These ads are attached to the weighted spinner. Maintaining several of these can be challenging when the tires have to be replaced. They are usually taken out using a screwdriver.
Whatever the hubcap size you use is, make sure they are secure. A loose fitting hub will fly off when you drive along the highway. You can check how fit it is by tapping the rim with a mallet.