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Wheel Dust Caps

Upon return from the last trip or two, I have found a couple of the wheels have had the dust caps fall off (the cap, with the rubber nipple which covers the hub opening). Found them loose inside the hub cap (see next point).

And although recently replaced, one of the chrome hub caps (protrudes through aluminum wheel) has had its centre fall out somewhere along the trip. As I have now discovered, some of these hub caps have clip in centres (to access the dust caps??) while others, the whole cap is solid, so I just bought a full set of the solid replace four, almost new, caps.

So, my questions are:

- If the wheel has the solid hub caps, are the dust caps absolutely necessary? Regardless, I would still like to keep the dust caps, just wondering the downside when one or more fall off.
- The dust caps are held on by friction only, which apparently isn't effective enough. Any suggestions to ensure they stay in place? Each is tight enough to require a mallet to, gently, hammer them in, but they seem to work loose during travel.

I was contemplating either using a couple turns of electricians tape over the joint, but not sure if that would work, nor how it would react to the high heat in that area, or putting in some form of heat-proof packing material between the dust cap and the inside of the hub cap (there is a space between the two which allows the dust cap to work loose and fall) which would hold the dust cap in place.

Comments, suggestions are welcome.


Explorer II
Explorer II
Check your bearings. I had a dust cap come off and just ignored it. A few miles later the bearing let go. If I had checked when I noticed the cap was off I might have prevented a major repair.
2005 Cardinal 30TS
2007 Chevy 2500HD D/A

Yes you need the dust caps. They are on for a reason.
Dust caps don't just fall off. They weren't installed properly or you hit something and knocked them off.

Nomad III
Nomad III
Yes you need them 100%. A hubcap is not any sort of substitute solution.
If they won’t stay in, either try another set, or glue em in a bit.
Clean both surfaces and use a little rtv or threadlocker or alternatively you could deform the caps a bit, punch a couple dimples in the lip outward to get more of a friction fit.
Heat is not a concern. If they get hot enough to burn any silicone or whatever you have bigger issues.
2016 Ram 2500, EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Thanks for your reply,

Are you talking silicone in a couple spots on the outside, spanning the joint between the cap and hub, or under the cap, between the two surfaces? And, will any silicone stand up to any heat generated by rotation/braking?

Explorer II
Explorer II
I,ve used a real thin cover of silicone ,very little needed in a couple spots, so when needed they twist right off.