If you look at one of your wheels, you’ll see a small disk in the middle. That’s the wheel center cap. Contrary to popular belief, wheel center caps aren’t only cosmetic parts. They’re actually quite important parts.
What Is A Wheel Center Cap?
If you’re not sure what a wheel center cap is, it’s a small metal or plastic disk that’s right in the middle of a wheel. Wheel center caps are also called center hub caps. An OEM Volkswagen wheel center cap usually has an emblem on it. In most cases, the emblem is the VW logo.
A wheel center cap pops out and snaps back in place. It’s a pretty simple part. Yet, it serves an important purpose.
A Wheel Center Cap Protects The Spindle Nut And Wheel Bearing
Most wheels have a hole in the middle. That hole is called the centerbore. The purpose of the centerbore is to:
- Keep the wheel perfectly aligned to the hub
- Reduce wheel vibration
The problem is, if the center cap is missing, the centerbore leaves the spindle nut exposed. And the wheel bearing only has one line of defense, which is the seal. When you drive, your wheels are exposed to a lot of dirt, moisture, road salt, and road grime. Those impurities can contaminate the spindle nut and wheel bearing. This may lead to:
- Corrosion of the spindle and spindle nut
- Failure of the seal, which leads to failure of the wheel bearing
A wheel center cap covers the centerbore. This prevents the impurities from contaminating these parts. Some wheel center caps are big enough to cover all the lug nuts, too. This keeps the lug nuts safe from the elements. When your lug nuts remain clean, it’s much easier to remove and install wheels.
What Happens When A Wheel Center Cap Falls Off?
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Under normal circumstances, a wheel center cap lasts the lifetime of the wheel. Yet, sometimes wheel center caps can fall off. Usually this because they were installed incorrectly after a tire rotation or repair. This leaves your vehicle vulnerable to damage.
So if you’re dealing with a missing wheel center cap, it’s best to replace it ASAP. Wheel center caps are inexpensive. So it’s a good idea to get a full set and upgrade all the wheel center caps on your car. You’ll get wholesale pricing if you shop with us. We carry a wide variety of genuine OEM VW parts, including wheel center caps. Look up your VW model in our catalog of wheels and wheel parts to find a set of center caps for your car!