Vandalized or wear and tear?

within the last 10 days, 2 of my hubcaps have gone missing and i’ve noticed that the remaining two are each broken - as though they’ve been kicked or hit with something.

is it possible that normal wear and tear on these tires - they’re winter tires on a car with 28K miles on it - could cause this damage and the sudden and nearly simultaneous loss of the hubcaps?

or, does this sound like the work of a vandal - kicking each of the hubcaps and causing them to fall off while i’m driving?

I’m voting for vandalism. Highly unlikely that two hubcaps go missing in a short time, unless they weren’t put on correctly last tire rotation or tire switchout.

If they are coming off on the passenger side, then it is possible the driver is cutting corners too close and hitting the curb with some force. I would think you would know that if you did it.

do you think that once they’re cracked from being kicked or hit, they’re more likely to fall off??

Could you post a couple of photos?

Hard to say. I have had plenty of trouble with cheap plastic replacement wheel covers, and they fell off all by themselves. If the crack destroys the integrity of the clips or tabs that hold them on the wheel, then I would think they could fly off.

I would just run without hub caps for a while. In many large cities, you see folks do that because the vandalism/hubcap stealing just goes on.


one more

by the way, these tires are on the passenger side, so they’re not the result of tight turns. i think the hub on tire 1 in particular looks like it’s just been kicked or hit with something. OR AM I CRAZY???

I am certainly no expert, but photo #3 looks like a stress crack. It is hard to break cleanly like the one crack on the rim has broken.
Photo #4 looks as much like hitting curb or protusion as anything else.

If these are on the passenger side, then I think odds of hitting a protruding curb on a tight right turn is fairly high.

Sorry I can’t help more…not so sure on vandalism, though…

Whose parking spot did you steal ?
Jilted ex ?
Any other cars in the same area with similar damage ?

Since I see no scraping or scrub marks from curbs I vote for vandalism.

This looks to me like impact damage…shattering when very cold and brittle, perhaps from hitting pot holes or even chucks of ice. Or perhaps even having been hit with thrown up rocks when cold.

Where do you live? What’s the driving environment like?

Based on your photos, to me, it’s pretty clear what’s going on. In my area, there’s been a rash of hubcap escapades. The vandals haven’t been caught. they are infamous for capping the hub, if you get my drift. All that is known is they drive a black SUV and are probably just teen-agers (description of smallish people) They like to work parking lots wt limited lighting. They use teeny instruments to crack the h-caps just so… often weeks before they fall off. The good news is they probably won’t do it to you again.

From what I can see it appears as though pic #1 has some minor abrasions on the rubber sidewall. Also it is only my opinion but I think if it were vandalism the perp would have targeted an area with some meat on it like where the spoke meets the middle.

IMOO it is simply wear & tear.