I lost a hubcap and before I fork over money for a new one, I would like to know the purpose of hubcaps and whether I really need one. I’m obviously not terribly vain about my car! I have a 97 Camray.

Hubcaps are mostly for looks, but they also protect the studs from getting dirty and rusting.

New OEM hubcaps are prohibitively expensive, so I would go to a recycling yard and try to find one used. As an alternative, most auto supply houses have generic sets at a very good price. You can get 4 generic new ones for less than one Toyota hubcap. I did exactly that for my last 2 cars. At about $50 for 4, you’ll hardly break the bank.

If you are not interested in replacing your hubcaps, at least buy those shiny stud nuts for about $10 a set, so you protect the threads.

You can survive without hubcaps, or wheel covers as they are called nowadays.

I agree with Doc that you should start your search at a junkyard and also try eBay.

The last time I lost a wheel cover I simply bought a new set of four from K-Mart, on sale for $25. I still have them after 4 years and they actually look pretty good.

as far as performance: there is no reason. it is just cosmetic.

although i don’t kow where you can get genuine “Camray” hubcaps, i am sure you could get a cheap generic set at autozone et al for about $30.00 or so.

as my wife says, when they fall off they make the car look ghetto.

I would just pull off the other three hubcaps. There is no non-aesthetic reason to replace the one you lost.

You can find a set of four hubcaps on sale at discount houses for about $15-$20. They’re the same material as OEM hubcaps and last about 5 years before the paint wears off. I used to get them for my old pickup.

They can be a bear to put on, so I always used to put the metal band to the outside of one of the plastic tabs to relieve a bit of the pressure. They fit perfactly that way and I’ve never lost a cap.

Whether you have a Camray (sic) or a Camry, the wheel covers are designed for two functions:

*To “dress-up” the car
*To protect the lug nuts from a build-up of road grime and road salts, both of which can corrode the lugs and tend to make the wheel difficult to remove.

If you choose to not replace the wheel covers, nothing terrrible will befall you, but you may have a difficult time removing a wheel on a road shoulder when you wind up with that unexpected flat tire.

I was in the same boat, went to Ukrainian tire, set of 4 “spinner” hubcaps $60. Now I have 4 matching hubcaps and get look everywhere I go.

*To protect the lug nuts from a build-up of road grime and road salts, both of which can corrode the lugs and tend to make the wheel difficult to remove.

From my experience there is little if any difference with or without the wheel covers.

BTW officially hubcaps just cover the hub and not the wheel. But in the real world we all call wheel covers hubcaps and we all know what it means.

Look for a “Hubcap Annie” srore in your area. If not, try the salvage yards or Craigslist. There are lots of places to get Hubcaps and Wheel covers, you just have to shop around.

That’s what I did. And like cappy’s wife says, it does look kind of ghetto. Oh well.

You might find some in a ditch by a highway…lol