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Low Buck Tech: Keep your hubcaps on!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Skankin' Rat Fink, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. If you're like me, you're tired of the wheel covers popping off your car. Especially when they're wheel covers that you can't replace with a catalog. Even with bias-ply tires, hubcaps have a tendency to work themselves loose and pop off. With radials it's worse.

    Recently I tried out a solution using a product I found in the grocery store for less than $2.00 a pack. Two packs will give you more than enough to do all your wheels. Ready to have a good laugh?


    Stick-on Velcro! Yes, I'm serious.

    Step 1. Stick a strip of Velcro onto the portion of your rim where your hubcap's "teeth" usually contact, centered on the valve stem. I prefer to put the "hook" side here. If your rim has a little surface rust, it could help to clean it up just a bit with a wire brush or sandpaper.

    Step 2. Stick the other half of the velcro on your hubcap's teeth, centered on the hubcap's valve stem hole. I prefer to use the fuzzy side here. Where the hubcap teeth bend back toward the outside, tuck the Velcro underneath. You may want to trim this strip so that it doesn't poke out between the hubcap and the rim.

    Step 3. Put the valve stem through the hole in the hubcap and attach the Velcro. Then pop the hubcap on the rest of the way.

    BOOM. Now you're ready to cruise with no worries.

    I've driven my Pontiac a few hundred miles with the hubcaps held on with the Velcro, and none of them have even come loose yet. Before, I couldn't go 10 miles without losing one.

    Your wheel & hubcap might be different ... Test this out on your crappiest spare first!

    So this little trick definitely works. Here's my understanding of why. As the car hits bumps, the tire and rim flex to a certain degree. The hubcap isn't attached to the rim as firmly as the tire, so the hubcap flexes less, and rotates just a little bit with each bump. A lot of times, if you look at your valve stem, you'll notice it's bent over because the valve stem hole has been creeping around.

    Now think about a strip of Velcro ... it's a lot easier to pull the two strips apart than it is to pull one strip sideways across the other. The Velcro holds well and prevents the hubcap from rotating in the rim (blue arrow), and eventually scooting its way outward and off (red arrow). So as long as the adhesive holds to your rim & hubcap, the Velcro will hold strong. Happy motoring!
  2. AAFD
    Joined: Apr 13, 2010
    Posts: 585

    from US of A

    Velcro works wonders. Another tip to prevent losing your hubcap is to use big valve stem caps like the crowns or whatever. If the hubcap comes loose, the valve stem cap won't let it fall off completely and you'll hear it clanking around.
  3. Johnunit
    Joined: Dec 31, 2010
    Posts: 93

    from Toronto

    very good stuff!
  4. thebugbox
    Joined: Nov 29, 2009
    Posts: 255


    Any updates on if this is still working flawless?
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  5. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 24,617

    Jalopy Joker

    Reclosable Fastener sounds more Traditional than Velcro. that stuff comes in black too. that is thinking outside the box. had a friend with a '51 Ford PU that would loose a front hubcap so often that there was a an official car cruise called " The Flying Hub Cap"
  6. Well, it's not quite flawless, actually ... here's what I've found.

    The Velcro / re-closeable fastener holds perfectly. Those hooks won't slide off the fuzz for anything. However, if you leave these on your hubcap and wheel long enough, eventually the hubcap will force the strips to move with it---just by sliding right across the adhesive. Eventually the hubcap pushes hard enough and the glue just can't hold up. :(
  7. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,241


    I have heard the problem of loosing wheel covers is caused by running radials on the original wheels which were designed for bias ply tires. With the radials the rims flex too much causing the covers to walk around the wheel. As a kid in the 50's I do not remember people loosing their wheel covers on any regular basis. Back then radials were not in the USA yet.
  8. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,068

    Rusty O'Toole

    Hub caps would pop off bias plies if you went around corners fast enough. Some cars were worse than others. I remember an old guy who used to spot weld his wheel covers to the wheel to hold them on.
    Joined: Oct 10, 2008
    Posts: 27

    from VIRGINIA

    I think i would rather lose a hubcap than have a valve cap holding the wheel cover on long enough to rip the valve stem out and losing a tire also
  10. Keep
    Joined: May 10, 2008
    Posts: 662


    lol....its actually called "hook pile tape" sounds much better then Velcro.
  11. wsdad
    Joined: Dec 31, 2005
    Posts: 1,252


    Invented 1948
    Patented 1955
    Introduced commercially 1957 in Manchester, New Hampshire

    Given it's pre 1965 date of introduction to America, I hereby declare Velcro "Traditional" and free from criticism for any and all uses from the Traditional Police. ;)

    To the OP:

    Sorry the glue crept on your hubcaps. I wonder if it got too hot. It sounds like you had a good solution going if you just tweek it a little.

    We had some industrial Velcro at the last place I worked at that had some really strong glue on the back of it. I don't remember the brand name but a little research turned up this:

    Iron-On/Heat Activated Hook and Loop – A PVC coated hook or loop fastener that produces a permanent bond when placed upon a surface and heated.

    3M #9485[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif] – High temperature, (350), UV resistant, acrylic base pressure sensitive. Good for outdoor application.[/FONT]

    Good luck!
  12. fatkoop
    Joined: Nov 17, 2009
    Posts: 712


    Velcro has a lot of uses on hot rods. I used it to mount an electrical panel and a bank of relays under the dash in my son's car where we didn't want to drill any holes. It's great for holding kick panels on to the inside of the cowl where you might want to remove them without screws, etc. Works well under carpet too to keep it in place or easily removable for accessing the master cyl.
  13. thebronc4019
    Joined: Oct 25, 2005
    Posts: 217

    from New Jersey

    I used it to replace the rotted felt in the channels that the side windows move up and down in. McMaster-Carr sells it with an industrial stregnth adhesine backing. Used the hook side and worked great for much less than reproduction parts.

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