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Replacing hubcap with alloy wheels conundrum

I have a 2001 Sienna van with 190K miles. I plan to keep it another 10 years (I have a Camry with 303K miles). At a road contructin site, one of the hubcaps fell off.I thought it would be cheap and easy to replace. But no! A Toy dealer sells the new/old 2001 hubcaps for $84! On Ebay/online, I’m seeing $50.00 at the minimum for such a hubcap. My concern is that the vehicle is 10 years old and the other hubcaps might be inclined to go. I found a parts guy not far away who sells the alloy wheels for the Sienna for $75 each.

Would that be the wiser, long term solution? Wife doesn’t like the missing-hubcap-look.

There are generic hubcaps, sold at auto parts stores, which might be less expensive. There are also used hubcap dealers. Keep searching, you’ll find one.

You can get a set of 4 new hubcaps at Walmart for under $25.

Keeping an old high mileage vehicle on the road is never cheap or easy. How on earth are you saving money by buying $300 worth of alloy wheels to avoid buying a $50 hubcap?

Agree; we lost a hubcap off our Caprice, and I bought 4 new aftermarket ones, with better looks for less money than the dealer wanted for one. Same for our Nissan. The aftermarket ones let you pick a variety of styles, often better thasn the original.

As other said, I’d stick with the wheels you have. Are the $75 alloys actual factory wheels, or replacements? There are lots of very cheap alloy wheels on the market that will cause you problems. Just get new hubcap(s).

The used car parts guy I visited found the alloy wheels online for me. He said they were used Toyotas. I considered them becuase if the other 10-year-old hubcaps fall off, then I am right back where I am now. The alloys appear to be a longterm solution to the hubcap problem.

I checked all the used parts/junkyards around me (south of Charlotte NC). They didn’t have any of the hubcaps–not even a sniff of them. I stopped twice by the great junkyard near Darlington SC, and the guy complained twice that a lot of wrecked Toyotas never make it to his place–they’re snapped up for sale in Latin America and elsewhere. He added that a lot of the used hubcaps are sucked up by the big auto auction houses near Darlington to dress out the used cars.

Good advice. Even OEM alloy wheels are seldom if ever as durable as steel wheels. The race cars use alloy wheels that are stronger than OEM, but each one will cost more than you paid for the whole car new.

Used wheels, since they mostly come from junkyards, are often bent or damaged.

Here’s a source for high quality factory wheels, priced accordingly:

As much as I like the look of alloy wheels, when I replaced my Taurus (which had them), I specifically looked for a car without them. Why? Steel rims are dirt cheap, and they work just as well as alloy, arguably even better in some ways (have you ever heard of steel rims leaking like alloys have had problems with at Chrysler and Lexus?).

For instance, for our 1998 Camry, steel wheels from Toyota cost $93.95 each (MSRP) vs. $370.25 each for alloys. Aftermarket alloys run $100+ each for decent quality, but steel rims cost just $40.

And when you scrape against a high curb (which almost always happens at some point), you can replace the hubcap for $10 or $25 for a set of 4 if it isn’t attractive anymore, rather than fork out $300+ for a new wheel or $400+ for a set to fix that cosmetic damage…

I would just pull the other three hubcaps off and forget about it. Perhaps you could have the steel rims painted sliver if you think it looks better.

If this helps during your search, you only need two new hubcaps if you can’t find a match; two alike on each side of the car. I seriously doubt that anyone will notice the difference.

I did that for my '65 Mustang. Lost one of the original hubcaps with the ‘spinner’, they were banned by the Feds by that time, so I got 2 other Mustang caps, put them on the same side, nobody ever commented on it.

I too used to buy the $25 set at WalMart for my pickups. Well, usually when it went on sale for $15…

But, anyway, it’s the same material and quality as the severely overpriced one that Toyota sells except it lacks the logo.