What is a Wheel Cover?

What is the difference between a hub cap and a wheel cover? A hub cap used to be a chromed disk which covered just the central part of a steel wheel leaving ventilation holes and the remaining rim visible: , but now days the wheel covers are plastic devices which cover the whole of the steel wheel to give it the appearance of being a expensive alloy wheel. Mostly now referred to as a Hub Cap, but this is not really accurate. A “hub cap” covers the wheel hub, the portion of the suspension that the wheel is bolted to. A “wheel cover” covers the entire wheel. In “olden days”, few cars had disc, or “flat” wheels. Most had wire wheels or spoke wheels, so they had “hub caps” to keep the hubs clean. When disc wheels became common from the late 1930s on, full wheel covers became popular. However, the old term “hub cap” remained , just like we still dial a phone number. So while there is a technical difference, there is no common usage difference, except “wheel cover” is a bit attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, It is obvious to me that a Hubcap is not a Tire Cover, but a Wheel Cover.

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