A wheel cap is the center piece of material on the wheel which protects and hides the ends of the axle and the lug nuts. In the center of the rim, near the axle, there is a spindle nut and bearings. The wheel cap protects the spindle nut and the bearings which can wear quickly, and not function properly when exposed to dirt. The wheel cap also assists in protecting the inner components from corrosion, which is unsightly and may weaken the integrity of the metal parts. Wheel caps are attached to the wheel with the use of spring clips, or the vehicle's lug nuts, the lug nuts fasten over the cap to hold it in place. It is common for wheel caps to fall off, and are easily replaced and installed.
It is common for wheel caps to bear a logo or trademark of the vehicles manufacturer. Older vehicles were less likely to have any logos or designs; the caps were typically chrome plated in order to add character to the plain tires and rims that were available in the past. Modern wheel caps are made from plastic which makes them light, easily intalled and removed. The cap being lighter than its counterparts which were made from metal, also reduces the chance of the cap falling off while driving. Wheel caps have become smaller over the years in order to accommodate the smaller wheels used in car manufacturing today. The smaller wheel cap also allows for the attractiveness of the rim to be admired, without being distracted by the wheel cap.
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