What are they good for? Can I take them off my car without doing some kind of harm?

Decoration, that’s all. Now, you’re not talking about the homely little cap over the axle nut itself, are you? Those keep the dust out of your wheel bearings. If you mean the ashtray-size cover-the-lugnuts cap, or the wheel-size dish, you can throw those in the corner with no bad result.

I think they are more decoration than anything else. They aren’t really protecting anything but the lug nuts, and why would they need protection?

You’ll thank me later for not telling the Eggs Benedict story, believe me. :rolleyes:

Okay, then I will. :smiley:

Eggs Benedict served at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas should have the sauce served in a brightly shined chrome-plated hubcap.

Because there’s no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise.

[Satan voice]GET OUT![/Sv]
THAT was bad.

  1. It’s dumb that our old Blazer had hubcaps. Was it any secret that the wheel is gonna have nuts holding it on?

  2. Given that they put hubcaps on the Blazer, what in the world is the reason for designing the hubcap with fake nuts, so it looks like the real nuts underneath? Doesn’t that sort of spoil the facade?

  3. Nobody can convince me otherwise - it is just cruel, just twistedly cruel, that they made the fake nuts fit the lug wrench. Never mind why I know this…

Somehow a jockstrap with printed nuts on them comes to mind about now …

Wheel covers are essentially only for decoration with their faux chrome lug nuts covering the real lug nuts and the latest craze, spinners that make the car look like its going really fast–but only after it comes to a stop.

However, I suspect that the original hub caps (while clearly decorative) also served a function. Prior to changes in tire technology in the mid-1960s, most people got flat tires on a regular basis. Prior to the 1960s, as well, large numbers of people lived on dirt (muddy) roads. While hub caps were always a pain to remove and replace, not having to chip away several inches of mud (or ice) to remove a lug nut was a definite plus.

I suspect that with far fewer flats and far more paved roads, there are far fewer people who have to worry about such things. (I changed more flats between the ages of 12–when my dad taught me to do it so I would be prepared when I got a car of my own–and 15 than I have changed in the ensuing 38 years.)

I’m sure the impetus was styling, but I suspect the implementation was functional. (Wheel covers replaced hub caps at about the same time that the need to regularly remove them began.)

Huh? No function? I had a 73 Dodge Dart 2 door (essentially a slant six Charger) and when I lost a hub cab in winter, the wheel lug nuts got wet regularly and eventually rusted hard to the point the bolt studs hd to be broken off and replaced when I needed to change the tire.

The main “function” (IMO) was to protect the lug nuts from speedy corrosion.