What Is A Wheel Center Cap And Why Is It Important?

Have you ever wondered what a wheel center cap is and why it’s important? If so, you came to the right place. A wheel center cap is a simple part, but it’s important.

What Is A Wheel Center Cap?

GM center wheel cap

If you look at one of the wheels on your GM vehicle, you’ll notice a small round part in the center. There may be an emblem on it. For example, that part on a Corvette may have the iconic Corvette emblem. Another example: that part on a Cadillac may have the classic Cadillac emblem (like this one for 2005-2016 Cadillac models). That’s the wheel center cap.

Most wheels come with a hole in the middle, called the centerbore. The hole exists to make certain parts more accessible. It also exists to make the wheel “hub centric”. This keeps the wheel properly aligned, and reduces wheel vibration. It’s a useful tool for the tire balancing machine, as well. The machine has a long rod that goes through the centerbore and is secured with a clamp. The machine then spins the tire/wheel and checks its balance.

A wheel center cap is a metal or plastic disc that covers the centerbore. It pops out and snaps back in place.

There are quite a few different names for this small part:

  • Wheel trim
  • Wheel cover (although this is a pretty broad term)
  • Protective disc
  • Center cap
  • Hub cap

“Wheel center cap” is one of the more common names for this part.

Why Are Wheel Center Caps Important?

Most people would agree that a wheel center cap enhances the appearance of a wheel. It’s not only a cosmetic part, though. It also serves an important purpose. It keeps dirt and moisture out of the hole, where the spindle nut and wheel bearings are. When you drive, your wheels encounter a massive amount of dirt and moisture. These elements will damage the spindle nut and wheel bearing at each wheel. A wheel center cap is a simple solution to this problem.

Replacing Your Wheel Center Caps

GMC center wheel cap

Image Credit: JNork

Wheel center caps should last the lifetime of the wheel. Yet, it’s not uncommon for wheel center caps to fall off or get damaged. If you’re in this situation, it’s smart to install new wheel center caps. Driving around with missing or damaged wheel center caps will cause irreparable damage to your wheel bearing(s).

The good news is that wheel center caps aren’t that expensive, especially if you order from us. We sell genuine OEM GMC parts at rock bottom prices. Check out all the wheel center caps we have in our inventory here!