Hubcap Replacement Guide – Measuring hubcap size, Install & More

If you wish to replace your hubcap, the most important thing to note is that the size printed on your tire will not match its physical measurements.

In the automotive world measurement of hubcap size is done in relation to the tire size of your vehicle.

Thus, measuring the hubcap with an old tape measure will get you the actual diameter but in practice, the listed hubcap diameter will be slightly lower than that. 

How to measure hubcap size?

Physically measuring the hubcap is not required here.

You will know your hubcap size by looking at a series of numbers printed on tires.

So, if you look at the side of your tire, there will be a series of numbers ending beginning with ‘P’ and ending with ‘R’ and a number, R14, R15, R16, etc.

This final number will determine the size of hubcap you need. R14 would mean you need a 14-inch hubcap.

Can I place any hubcap on my car?

99% of the time they are interchangeable among different makes and models as long as the tire size remains the same.

In other words, a 14-inch hubcap will fit a correct size wheel across all vehicles on the road today.

14inch Hubcap 

Pilot Automotive WH553-14S-BS

Check Prices
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Pilot Automotive’s wheel covers are constructed out of corrosion and rust-resistant ABS, this gives them a lustrous and durable finish.

They are easy to secure, utilizing a micro-adjustable retention system that guarantees a snug fit on all 14-inch tires. 

The only downside, the covers come with four metal retention rings that have to be attached to each of them first before they can be installed onto the wheels.

This can get a bit fiddly and will require a bit of prepping from your end.

Pilot Automotive’s Step-by-Step Guide to do this is not particularly helpful in this regard.

15inch Hubcap

Alpena 58259 VR Carbon Wheel Kit

Check Prices
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Alpena’s 15-inch wheel cover sports a carbon texture and a satin gunmetal finish.

They are made in Germany from premium quality materials for long-lasting durability.

With these, you get a carbon fiber look at under $50, which is very good value for money in our opinion.

However, some users have complained about their fit, so that is something to keep in your mind while buying these. 

16inch Hubcap

Pilot Automotive WH555-16GM-B 16 Inch

Check Prices
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

These Spyder/Gunmetal Grey wheel covers from Pilot Automotive provide an economical way to give a big visual upgrade for your vehicle.

They are designed to fit snugly on any 16-inch steel wheel rims.

Do not use them for alloy wheels as they are not compatible with them.

Just like all other Pilot Automotive wheel covers you need to first install the metal retention rings before installing them onto your wheel.  

17inch Hubcap

Pilot Automotive WH544-17C

Check Prices
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Pilot Automotive is a renowned manufacturer of budget-friendly wheel covers that instantly transform the wheels of your vehicle.

This 17-inch wheel cover carries all the latest innovations such as corrosion-resistant materials that keep the covers from being easily damaged from the rigors of the road.

It also features a micro-adjustable retention system, that gives you peace of mind from your wheel covers falling off.    

What is the difference between Wheel Covers and Hubcaps?

In most cases these terms are interchangeable.

However, in the traditional sense hubcaps were usually just to cover up the lug nuts of the wheel hub/bearing assembly.

Wheel covers on the other hand cover the entire face of the wheel.

How to Remove & Install Hubcaps

This will depend on the type of attachment that is used to secure your hubcap. There are two types, one that screws on with lug nuts and the other that snaps onto the wheel rims.

Screws on with lug nuts

If yours is the first kind, you will need to unscrew the lug nuts with a tire wrench put on the new hubcap, and screw them back on. Make sure to park your car on a level road and engage the handbrake before undertaking this.

Also, most new hubcaps come with was washers, make sure to put them in as well, or else it can lead to squeaking.


On the other hand, if you have one of those snap-on ones, you will only need to pry the cover with a flat screwdriver.

Once unclipped you should be able to remove it by pulling it towards you. It is only fixed by small plastic hinges that have just lodged in the wheel rim flange.

Installation of new ones will require you to just line it up with the wheel rim and snap it on.

Some alloy wheels might require you to take out the entire wheel to install the hubcap. If this is the case with your vehicle, we would suggest getting it done by a professional.

Why do my hubcaps keep falling off?

One of the major reasons this happens is because the hubcap is not installed properly.

This can be fixed by tightening the lug nuts or making sure they are fit flush to the wheel rim. Another reason for this can be driving over potholes.

Not only do potholes cause these items to come off a car, but they can cause tire damage as well.

Are there any quick repairs for damaged hubcaps?

In case you don’t want to buy a new hubcap right away. You can use zip ties to tie your damaged hubcap to the wheel spokes.

This is an effective on-the-go repair. However, if your hubcaps are extensively damaged, we would recommend you to get rid of them altogether, instead of temporarily tying on a broken one. 

Can you drive without hubcaps?

Yes, you can definitely drive without them. Hubcaps are mainly used for cosmetic purposes, although they do have some practical benefits other than that.

They can help protect the wheel face from dirt, rocks, and other debris from the road.

A snug full-face cover can also have a very slight effect on the performance of the vehicle, as it reduces air drag at higher speeds.

How long do wheel covers last?

These days most wheel covers of them are made out of high-quality plastic and you can also get alloy ones.

Good quality ones if maintained properly can last for years, and can be used from one tire to the next.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article helped you understand everything related to hubcaps and wheel covers.

If you need any other automobile-related questions answered do check out our blog for more helpful articles such as this.


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

Thanks for reading our article! We've written this article with a lot of thought and care. If you're interested in seeing more of our content, please check out our Tires section and find an answer to your questions!

Tire Forge