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TRUSTDale Tip of the Day: *Tips to Extend the Life of Your Car
- Hang on to your hubcaps
Clang, clang, clang! There goes your hubcap, rolling off to destination unknown. Hubcaps, wheel covers, and center caps can pop off your car's wheels as you're driving if they were not reinstalled correctly, have loosened over time, or if they were damaged by being jammed against a curb while parking. Here are some things you can do to keep these expensive parts on the car:
- If your older metal hubcap has loosened, remove it and pry the metal clips outward slightly. This should fix the problem.
- Newer plastic-type hubcaps and some wheel covers are usually held in place by a retaining wire ring that snaps into tabs on the wheel. When installing such a cap or cover, take care that you do not bend or break the tabs.
- One way to make sure your expensive hubcaps aren't damaged by a repair shop is to remove them yourself before taking your car in for a repair that requires wheel removal, such as a brake job or new tires. When reinstalling hubcaps, rest the hubcap in place and then tap it gently with a rubber mallet. Don't hit the hubcap hard, or you might break the clips underneath. If you prefer to have your repair person remove the covers, check to make sure they were reinstalled properly. They should look even and flush.
- Have wheel alignment checked
Have your car's wheel alignment checked every 30,000 miles (48,000 km), or as recommended in your owner's manual. Also have it checked after buying new tires and when you replace a rack-and-pinion steering unit or other steering parts. Improper tire alignment will shorten the life of your tires as well as cause poor handling. If your steering is stiffer than normal or the vehicle pulls to one side, you probably have an alignment problem.