Missing Center Caps: How to Fix and Prevent This From Happening

Posted by Michael Bawol on

Whether or not you are an auto enthusiast, you should know that missing center caps can impact the overall look and feel of your vehicle. The gaping hole in the center can make your wheel look rundown, no matter if it’s a small or large cap. On the other hand, center caps make your wheels (and vehicle) look aesthetically pleasing and well-maintained.

While your vehicle can run without a center cap, you should fix this issue. Luckily, there are many places to buy them locally and online, so you can find the right ones to replace those that are missing.

What to Do When You Have Missing Center Caps

Replacing missing center caps should be made a priority. As mentioned above, it can impact the overall look and feel of your vehicle. 

While you can drive your car without the center caps, it can also leave your wheels vulnerable to the elements. Center cap offer an aesthetic value to your vehicle, but they can also protect the integrity of your rims from the elements.

Replacing the missing center caps is something that you need to do with urgency. Luckily, there are plenty of options for aftermarket replacement center caps. You can even find ones that are manufactured for specific brands, makes, and models of vehicle. 

Replacing Missing Center Caps

Prevent Center Caps from Coming Out of Your Wheels

Once you’ve decided to replace your missing center cap, make sure to shop around for your options. You can prevent them from falling off or coming loose in the future by getting the size and fit right the first time. 

There are different types of center caps available. The most common one are made for newer cars with aluminum wheels. These caps are smaller and have removable pieces that you can easily fit into the center of the wheel and do not extend to where the lug bolts are.

The other type of wheel center cap is larger and more stylish in design. They are also commonly used in aluminum wheels and make the rim look flush. This type of center cap is also referred to as “styled center caps.” 

The third and last type of wheel center cap is suited for older car and vehicle models. They work the same way as traditional hubcaps as they are made to fit the entire wheel hub area. The style is simple, but they can really complement a stylized wheel design. 

The brand, make, and model of the vehicle should be considered when replacing wheel center caps. You will find faithful reproductions of center caps for each brand. Most of them even come with original factory logos. If you own a newer vehicle model, there are plenty of replacement caps that you can find online. The availability of the design and style will vary according to the specific model of vehicle you drive. 

How to Prevent Center Caps from Coming Out of Your Wheels

Replacing Missing Center Caps

Several options are available for those shopping for replacement wheel center caps. However, it pays to know how you can prevent them from coming out of your wheels to eliminate the hassle of having to constantly replace them.

You must be aware that the aluminum alloy of your wheels and the plastic material of the wheel center caps can contract or expand. This movement happens at varying rates depending on external factors, such as fluctuations in the temperature. The brake system of your vehicle can also exaggerate this effect on your wheel center caps as the brakes produce a substantial amount of heat. The more heat that the wheels and the caps are exposed to, the more likely they will come off on their own over time.

You can prevent the wheel center cap from falling off by using standard silicone. The silicone will secure the center cap to the wheel. The silicone product is available in many local hardware stores or online. 

Apply a small bead of the silicone to each tab of the center cap – the part that comes into contact with the wheel. Place the cap onto the wheel and wipe off any excess silicone using a clean and damp microfiber cloth. Read the label for the set time so you know when it is ready. Ideally, you must let it sit for a few hours before you run your vehicle. Letting the silicone bond will help to secure the center cap to the wheel and greatly reduce the possibility of the cap falling off. 

If you need to remove or replace the cap, worry no more because the silicone remains flexible. This property allows you to remove the cap with ease if you want to replace it. Simply pop the cap out of the position to remove it. If you want to re-place it, simply peel off the old silicone and apply a new layer. 

Proper Installation of Wheel Center Caps

In addition to the tip above, one way that you can prevent losing your wheel center caps is to make sure they are properly installed. Here is a quick guide to help you properly fit the caps onto the wheels, so you never have to worry about them falling off again.

Step 1: Remove the wheel from your vehicle. Lay it on a protective surface with the wheel facing down. 

Step 2: Use needle-nose pliers to remove the tension ring. Pop the cap out of its place using the handle of a screwdriver.

Step 3: Switch the position of the wheel with the wheel face up. 

Step 4: Remove the tension ring from the new center cap before placing it onto the wheel. Make sure that the tabs are in the proper position so they will automatically lock into place (if the caps are the right size). 

Step 5: Turn the wheel face down once again. Place the tension ring you removed earlier back into the cap. That’s it! Enjoy your new set of wheel center caps. 

Missing center caps can be bothersome. Use the tips above to keep the cap from falling off unexpectedly. It is practical and will save you money in the long run. 

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