Our dad’s and grandpas’ wheel covers were gleaming orbs of chrome plated steel, glittering cable spoke patterns, or level chrome Frisbee replicas. Prior to 1980, chrome layered steel was the only material light and strong enough to do the job. Regrettably, layered steel slim and light enough for hubcaps was easily nicked, and if damaged or driven in wintertime, i.e., in salt conditions, was most likely to corrosion.
ABDOMINAL plastic (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene) was introduced as a standard material in plumbing pipe in the 1970s, and came to be the universal product in hubcaps by the mid 1980s. ABDOMINAL has the attributes of rigidness, toughness, and high resistance to salt, chemicals, warm, cold, stress, and influence. It has outstanding resistance to breaking, scraping and chipping, even at low temperatures.
Components constructed from ABS plastic evaluate only a portion of their steel equivalents. They can be repainted or chrome plated to generate a range of aesthetic impacts. Scratches or dings on the surface of plastic are stable, and look the exact same years later as they did the day the scrape happened. Whereas, when chrome layered steel is damaged, it will certainly after that rust. These qualities make ABS plastic a perfect product for hubcaps, wheel covers, and numerous other vehicle parts.
Today, almost all wheel covers for passenger cars, consisting of original equipment and aftermarket reproductions, are made of ABS plastic. The bulk of non-structural car trim products, including firm logos, lettering, grills, cowlings, bumpers, frameworks, light reflectors, bezels, etc, have been made of (chromed) plastic for virtually 20 years.
One classification of modern-day hubcaps still constructed from metal is known as ‘Wheel Simulators’, which are constructed from highly polished stainless steel. Wheel simulators are made mostly for the bigger wheels sustaining heavy energy cars, twin wheel trucks and Motor homes. A couple of versions are readily available for single wheel trucks and trailers. ‘Simulators’ are so called because they appear like, however they are much more economical than, chrome layered wheels. Better, stainless steel is very corrosion resistant, which cannot be stated for chrome layered wheels.