Wheel center caps not only complete the overall look of a wheel but they also protect the center lug nut of vehicles that do have them.
Familiarizing yourself with all the different types is very informative especially if you are thinking of buying new or used wheel center caps.
There are many different types of center caps available to cars, all dependent on what type of look you’re seeking out. Which you receive with the purchase of a vehicle or purchase on your own depends on what you are looking for.
The most common and popular varieties of center caps are:
OEM or Original Equipment Manufacture
This particular variety is produced in a manufacturing plant and then bought by a distributor/wholesaler. Afterwards they are then purchased by local or national automotive dealers to be resold to owners of different models and makes of vehicles. The actual term OEM refers to the replacement product prepared by the original manufacturer of that particular part. To put this into perspective, when an individual purchases a new vehicle, it would come with the OEM center caps already installed. If they are ever damaged or broken they can easily be bought through the dealer or replaced under the warranty if it is still applicable. Characteristically the quality or OEM caps, in most cases, are much better than aftermarket ones sold on the market today as they may fit better and be made of more durable materials.
Aftermarket Center Caps
These are produced to be installed into the original wheel of a car or truck but they are manufactured by an outside independent company that is not the original manufacturer of the vehicle. One can easily find them at their local customization shop or online from aftermarket accessories retailers. For the most part they are usually much cheaper and come in a great variety of colors and designs but make sure you pay attention to the specifications to make sure that they are designed exactly for your specific OEM wheel.
Custom Center Caps
The more unique and expensive variety is the custom kind. These are not your average cookie cutter designer and can be made to the discretion and heart’s desire of the individual who is willing to pay extra for it. Not many large manufacturers will produce these as they are not cost-effective so you will have to search a little bit harder for a specialty aftermarket shop that is willing to do it. It is the perfect accessory for enthusiasts who are just not satisfied with stock.
Painted Center Caps
Another version of custom caps but is much easier to either make yourself or have your local customization shop do it for you. To actually perform this properly by yourself you will need to find weather proof paint that it designed for outdoor use. You will need to spray an even coat on each cap carefully and then allow them to completely dry in a shaded area. Once they are dry you need to spray on a second layer to increase the thickness and durability of the paint to ensure that the paint does not crack, peel or chip. To add an extra layer of weather protection you need to make sure add a protective layer of clear coat paint. If you are unsure how to do this it is highly suggested that you take it to your local auto body or custom shop to prevent damage to your caps.
Chrome Center Caps
The shiniest, and perhaps the most eye catching, type is the chrome version which simply refers to the material that it is made out of. These are specifically created match the whole wheel itself as well as other components of the wheel that contain chrome such as the lug nuts or air valve stem cap and cover. If you have the right equipment you can create your own chrome caps but again, we highly recommend that you bring it to your local auto shop to make sure it is done right the first time.
As you can see, there are many different versions of center caps for wheels. Not all wheel center caps are created equal nor does each one perform the same function or purpose for the owner. Familiarizing yourself with this information will greatly aid you in your search for new or used wheel center caps from the many sellers out there.