We’ve noticed that those who don’t work directly in the auto industry often have a hard time differentiating between the terms “hubcaps”, and “center caps”. Add the term “wheel covers” to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for confusion. We don’t blame you, either, since these words sound as if they basically describe the same thing. Although they are certainly related, these terms actually have their own meanings. Let’s try and clear it up for you!
What’s the difference between a hubcap and a wheel cover?
There is no difference. The term hubcap and wheel cover can be used interchangeably. Each is designed to fit on a plain steel wheel, typically black. There are many different ways they are fastened to the wheel, but usually some type of clipping system is employed. They are used to prevent debris from entering the wheel area, which causes premature wear and other undesired effects.
What is a Center Cap?
Essentially, center caps are a type of hubcap. Center caps are used more often for decoration than for their functionality. A center cap is a decorative disk that is placed on an automobile wheel that only covers the center portion of the wheel. Originally they were small and their main purpose was to prevent dirt from getting in between nuts and other wheel hardware, but these days are primarily decorative in nature. Apart from looking nice, they conceal the lug nuts and other hardware that may not be pleasing to the eye.
What is an OEM Hubcap? What is aftermarket?
OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer and is used throughout many, many industries to indicate that original manufacturer is the same company that manufactures the part in question. The term means the same thing in the auto industry. OEM hubcaps are usually higher quality than their aftermarket counterparts. Aftermarket hubcaps are hubcaps that are manufactured by a third party and are usually cheaper in both price and quality. Only order aftermarket products from companies that you trust to avoid low quality products. We personally recommend sticking with OEM products so that you don’t take any chances with poorly made hubcaps.
If you have any questions about OEM Wheels, hubcaps or any other wheel related issue, please do not hesitate to contact us.