AutoAmenity Chrome Wheelskins Hubcaps Home > FAQ > Difference in Terms: Hubcap, Wheel cover, Wheelskin

What is the difference between terms Hubcap - Wheel cover - Wheelskin?

Cars and trucks built before about 1935 came on wire spoke wheels with small metal caps installed to seal the wheel hub on the axle. Those early "HUBcaps" were smaller than 4" in diameter and made of heavy gauge plated steel hammered onto the hub of the wheel. Their main function was to keep dirt out of the spindle nut and wheel bearings.

 

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Hubcapcafe.com
Visit that website to see more classic car pictures.

Pictured below is a 1929 Ford Model A Business Coup

In the mid ‘30s, hubcaps became more decorative than functional. The ‘dog dish’ style was born, chrome hemispheres 9 inches in diameter, covering the lug nuts and the center of the wheel. About the same time, wheel technology advanced and spoke wheels were replaced by wheels formed from stamped steel.

 

Pictured below is a 1938 Buick Special Sedan

In the ‘40s, Cadillac lead the pack in adding sparkling chrome by the acre: bumpers, grills, trim lines, window borders, hood ornaments, hood vents, headlights, running boards, etc. Increasing the size of the chrome hubcaps, and then trim rings, added reflective surface.

 

Pictured below is a 1941 Cadillac Series 67

By the ‘50s, hubcap diameters increased to the point they covered the entire steel wheel. Many of this period were flat chrome rounds looking like Frisbees, with little differentiation. This was the time the term ‘wheel cover’ became common.

Over time, the terms ‘hubcaps’ and ‘wheel covers’ have become synonymous as the lightweight, full-diameter decorative coverings of standard steel wheels.

 

Photos courtesy of Hubcapcafe.com
Visit that website to see more classic car pictures.
Pictured below is a 1955 Ford Fairland Club Sedan
 

One of the hallmarks of modern hubcaps is their interchangeability. Nearly any hubcap of the correct size will fit any Standard Steel Wheel that will take a hubcap.

This means that changing styles is very easy. We are not limited to those styles (or the silver paint) designed by our particular auto manufacturer.


Steel Wheel63021c Custom 16 inch Chrome Hubcaps installed419c Custom 16 inch Chrome Wheel Covers / Hubcaps

"Wheelskins" is a relatively new term, since the late 1990s.

 

Styled Steel or Alloy Wheels do not have the normal continuous recess around the bead area of the wheel for standard hubcaps to mount into.

 

Wheelskins were invented to provide an inexpensive way to put chrome on styled wheels.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Alloy Wheel and the Wheelskin that fits it
     Jeep Grand Cherokee Styled Wheel without Chrome Wheelskins Hubcaps     IMP-314X Impostor Jeep Grand Cherokee Chrome Wheelskins Hubcaps and Wheel Covers

                 

Wheelskins mount with clips to grab the outer edge of the rim or they may grab the wheel inside the holes between the spokes.

 

Each Wheelskin is designed to fit one specific styled wheel, and it will not fit any other wheel.

Ford F150-F250 Styled Steel Wheel ad the Wheelskin that fits it
     OEM 17inch Ford styled steel wheels, no chrome wheelskin   IMP-59X 17 inch Impostor Ford Chrome Wheelskins Hubcaps and Wheel Covers

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Click to Read more about Wheelskins

 

Click to Read about differences between

                Styled and Standard Wheels