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Can Car Run Without Hub Cap?


Hub caps are the decorative discs used to cover the central part of the wheels of an automobile, known as the hub. To answer your question.

Yes, your car can run without a hub cap. Although the hub caps are important for keeping away dust and debris, it is used more for aesthetics than the safety of your vehicle.

Your vehicle comprises several parts serving different purposes, but what you should know concerning hub caps is that they are unnecessary for your car to function or for safety.

If you do not care much for aesthetics, you can always drive without a hub cap.

What exactly is a hub cap?

To understand the relevance of a hub cap, you need first to understand what a hub cap is. You might have heard people interchangeably using the terms hub cap, wheel covers, and rims to describe the same part of the vehicle.

Here is a breakdown of the differences and similarities between these terms.

Wheel covers:

Wheel covers are attachments that cover the wheels of your vehicle. The major difference between a wheel cover and a hub cap is that the wheel cover encloses and protects more of your wheel’s surface, including the hub cap.

Wheel covers are easy to remove and install as they fit directly to the wheels of your vehicle without any tools or bolts.


Rims are the cylindrical skeletal outer edge of the wheel that holds the tire. Proper installation and fitting of tires’ rims are important for tires without tubes to seal the air inside tires.

Hub caps:

Hub caps are an addition to the wheel that covers the centre portion of the wheel and not its entire surface. Hub caps protect lug nuts from rusting and catch them if they fall off.

In the past, hub caps were shiny metals but developed into aesthetically pleasing plastics. Hub caps on newer models of vehicles are rare as car manufacturing companies prefer to make attractive wheels without hubcaps. The main difference between these terms is the amount of surface they cover on the wheel, and there is no major difference in their function; hence terms are commonly interchanged when speaking.

Are hub caps universal?

Yes, car hubcaps are universal for the same tire size, in the sense that the hubcap of an 18-inch tire can fit the tires of any eighteen inches worldwide regardless of the brand. However, a hub cap for an 18-inch tire will not fit a 16-inch tire.

car wheel hub cap laying in the gutter in the road

How important are hubcaps to your vehicle?

Although we have established that we can drive our cars comfortably without worrying whether we have hub caps on or not, being honest with ourselves, I do not think anyone wants to look ugly when driving their vehicles.

Yes, cars are just a means of transit from one place to another preferred location, but who says you cannot do that in style? Everybody will not mind adding that extra finesse to the daily ride. A good-looking vehicle improves confidence when driving and can go long for a first impression, especially in business and human relationships.

Is it illegal to drive without hubcaps?

As of now, there is no law against driving without hub caps, obviously because they are no safety concerns on the matter. It is more likely for an accident to occur when you have a hub cap as it can fly off the tire. Do not panic; this is also very unlikely to happen to you.

Can I drive my car with a broken hub cap?

Yes, you can drive your vehicle white broken hub caps but If that happens while driving, stop your vehicle and remove it.

broken hubcap

Also, make sure the hub caps on your four tires match. A mismatching hub cap can cause the vehicle to lose control or puncture tires leading to an explosion.

How to maintain your hub caps and stop them from falling off

  • Create a regular car maintenance plan
  • Remove the hub cap and clean dirt regularly
  • Clean wheel with all-purpose wheel cleaner
  • Make sure to professionally install screws holding the hub cap in place
  • After servicing, make sure to clean all sorts of lubrication off the hub cap

Why do people prefer to drive without hubcaps?

There are several reasons why a person might be driving without hub caps on, it could be damaged, and they ignore it because of no immediate threat of danger. However, in the context of aesthetics, some people drive without hubcaps causing their cars to look better without hub caps.

Car manufacturers have begun designing great wheels in the newer models of cars that look great without hub caps. For example, tires with alloy rims can be found in newer cars or purchased from third-party retailers.

Some wheels are already aesthetically pleasing the way they are, so drivers do not see the need for hub caps. With new wheel designs coming out daily, they might also come a time when hub caps become obsolete.

How long can you drive without hub caps?

The purpose of the hub cap is primarily cosmetic except for protecting the wheels from dust and housing lug nuts. You can drive your vehicle to whatever distance you like for however long pleases you.

How much are hub caps, and how do I know what size to buy?

To find out the Size of your hubcap, you will need to locate a series of nine numbers and letters written on the sidewall of your tires that begin with a P. Toward the end of this series; you should see two numbers followed by an R which is your hubcap size.

The cost of hubcaps varies depending on the Size, brand, and material used in production. The price of a hub cap should range from $20 to $75; however, for high-end vehicles, it could cost as much as $100 upwards.


Although you can drive without a hub cap, I do not recommend it because you should always put in the effort to take care of your vehicle, which also involves keeping it looking good.

No one wants to drive cars with ugly wheels, especially when easily preventable with a hub cap. The decision is yours; how important are hubcaps to you?

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