The original wheels fitted by your car manufacturer may be rather plain or they may have become scratched, rusty and dirty with age. But there are several things you can do to improve their appearance and the overall look of the car.
One way is to fit a set of after-market wheels, which are available in a wide variety of styles.
Fitting a complete set of new wheels can, however, be expensive. A cheaper and quicker way to give your wheels a new look is to fit a set of wheel trims.
Look in accessory shops or manufacturers’ catalogues to see what is available and what would suit your car – you will find a vast range on the market, from quite basic sets in plain matt finishes to brightly colored and chromed finishes. Some trims look like expensive alloy or wire spoked wheels.
Many of the trims are made from reinforced plastic which is both resilient and has some resistance to shattering and stone-chip damage. So, apart from enhancing the overall look of your car, the trims can also provide a degree of protection for the wheels.
Wheel embellishers are similar to the trim covers. These are designed to fit just around the rim of the wheel and are also available in chrome or matt finishes. These look most effective when they are fitted to wheels that have a small central wheel nut cover.
The trims and embellishers simply clip into place on the wheel rim. Before fitting, however, it is worthwhile giving the wheels a quick coat of rust-retarding black paint, especially if they already look badly rusted. This not only hides the rust, it also ensures that the wheel won’t show through the trim.
A vast range of wheel trim kits are available in different styles, sizes, colour and chrome finishes. Some are available ready to fit, others can be painted to match the colour of your car. Below is just a small selection of trims available. The Taurus (A), Libra (B), Tornado (C) and Hawk (D) are from the Autoplas range. The Mirado (E), Primo (F), B-G 100 (G), Flash Harry (H), Classic (I) and Trimrings (J) are from the Brown and Geeson range.
If you prefer not to fit the aftermarket trims, standard replacements are available from your dealer. The replacement trims may take several forms. Some are simply flat plates (often fitted to standard alloy wheels to cover the hub nuts). These types often locate in the wheel itself with simple pins formed in the rear of the trim. Take care not to break them off when fitting. Other trims may fit under the wheel nuts (above). This means you will have to jack up the car, support it on axle stands and remove the wheel to replace the trim. This arrangement often uses plastic caps on each of the wheel nuts for a neat finish. Remember to remove them before releasing the nuts. You may find some new trims are a very tight fit into the wheel. Position a few of the clips under the rim and, while maintaining pressure on the trim, carefully lever the remaining clips under the wheel rim with a screwdriver. Wheel embellishers, these are sometimes known as trim rings and, like wheel trims, fit inside the wheel rim. Unlike trims, however, they are hollow in the centre. The embellishers are secured to the wheel by clips and the fitting procedure is identical to that of the trirrte.