Is It Better To Have Rims Or Hubcaps? (Explained)

When you are looking to make your car look better by going out for some good wheels, you should have two different options. The first ones are the rims, which are becoming quite popular today.

Meanwhile, the second choices are the hubcap or the wheel covers, which are quite classic and traditional. But is it better to have rims or hubcaps?

What’s better, Rims or Hubcaps?

In most cases, rims are better than hubcaps because rims tend to look a lot better, are more durable, and can provide protection to the tire. Having rims also removes the risk of hubcaps flying off the wheel. But, hubcaps aren’t a bad choice because they tend to be more affordable and are easier to remove and put on.

car wheel alloy

Choosing between rims and hubcaps is usually just a matter of choice because there are instances where some people may prefer hubcaps while some people go for rims.

This means that there is a subjective aspect in this discussion even though rims usually are the superior ones whenever we are looking at things from a general perspective.


What are the differences between rims and hubcaps?

Skoda center cap alloy wheel

Your wheels are very important when it comes to how your car moves, but there is also an aspect about the wheels that is important to the way your car looks.

Even though some people don’t necessarily think that looks matter when it comes to your car, they actually do because everyone wants to have a nice-looking car.

And the appearance of your car will always make a good first impression in business and relationships.

That said, the way the wheels look and how they are protected is just as important as how they function.

This is why we often look at rims and hubcaps whenever we are choosing our wheels because these two components play huge roles in how your wheels look and how they are protected from any sort of damage or wear and tear.

But what are the differences between rims and hubcaps?

The first thing you need to know here is that every car has a rim. This is basically the round metal that the tires are attached to and allows the tires to connect to the entire vehicle. And there was a point in time when people referred to a car’s wheels as rims. But the real definition of a rim is the thing that you can find on the outer edge of the wheel.

car plastic wheel cover

Another thing to take note of here is that not all cars have hubcaps even though all tires have wheels.

The hubcap or wheel cover is basically attached to the rim to make it look better because older rims actually look really bad and unappealing.

And there are some who say that hubcaps are useful for protecting the car such as keeping water from splashing under the vehicle.

So, from there, it is easy to see that rims are actually present in all cars while hubcaps or wheel covers are usually optional additions depending on the preference of the car owner and on whether or not the car came with hubcaps.

However, the rim that we are speaking of here is the newer type of rim that already looks good with or without hubcaps.

When it comes to their differences, rims are always going to be made of metal, such as steel, or different types of alloys.

That is why there are now good rims that use alloys that are capable of making the rims look very stylish.

On the other hand, hubcaps can be made of metal or plastic.

The reason why they are not always made of metal is that they don’t have to be as strong as the rims, which are responsible for making sure that the tires are kept in place.

Another difference that you should take note of is that, as mentioned, rims are always located at the outer edge of the wheels and are the ones that meet the tires.

Meanwhile, hubcaps are added to the wheel and are placed directly over the rims or the hubs.

ford van wheel hubcap

The most important difference between the two lies in how they function. Rims are there to support the tire and to make sure that the tires stay put on the wheel.

On the other hand, the hubcap doesn’t always serve an important purpose but it does protect the lug nuts from direct exposure to the elements. But the truth is that, in most cases, hubcaps or wheel covers are almost always decorative when it comes to their purpose.

While this information might not be entirely important, the good thing about hubcaps is that you can easily replace them without having to go to the mechanic because, as mentioned, they are merely attached over the wheel or the rim.

On the other hand, if you want to change your rims, you would have to take your car to the mechanic because only special heavy equipment can help you change the rims.

Is it better to have rims or hubcaps?

Fiat 500 wheel hubcap

Now that you know the differences between rims and hubcaps, you may be wondering which between the two is the better option for you.

As said, all cars have rims, and that is why you necessarily don’t have to choose between rims and hubcaps.

However, if you have an older car with an ugly rim, then the only choice is to go with a good wheel cover that is capable of masking the ugly rim.

Then again, if you can choose to buy new rims that are classier and more stylish, then rims are actually the better choice for you in the general sense.

That is because newer and improved alloy rims are not only stronger but are much more stylish and better looking than most hubcaps.

Sturdy and high-quality rims also serve a good purpose, which isn’t something you can always say about hubcaps.

It is also worth noting that there are some instances where hubcaps end up falling off the wheels, and that can be dangerous to some of the other cars on the road.

But when you go for rims instead of using hubcaps, this will never happen.

However, a hubcap replacement is a lot more affordable compared to a rim replacement.

If you are only concerned about the appearance of your car’s wheels without spending a ton of money, then you might want to have the hubcap replaced instead.

There are also times when the choice is a matter of preference even though rims are generally the better choices.

That is because there are some communities that actually prefer hubcaps or wheel covers over the newer and more stylish rims.

To that end, it really is a matter of choice.

Is it worth putting rims on a car?

car fender front wheel

As previously discussed, there is no need to put rims on your car because all wheels have rims. The only problem here is that most of the rims on stock tires don’t look too good.

So, if that is the case, that is when you might want to think about putting new rims on your car.

Price-wise, it might not be a good idea to splurge on expensive rims, especially if your car already has rims that are still functioning well. Then again, if you do have the budget, then there is no reason why you might want to have your older rims replaced with newer and more stylish ones. 

But, as far as their purposes go, there shouldn’t be a lot of differences between older and newer rims. Newer rims may be stylish and are made of more advanced alloys. Other than that, they serve the same purpose.