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Is it me or.....

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Main Forum' started by Valiant V, Jul 11, 2021.

  1. Valiant V

    Valiant V Member

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    I finally dragged the floor jack, jack stands, breaker bar, torque wrench, etc out to do the slightly-overdue wheel rotation on our new-to-us 2017 Prius (trim level three) and I got a bit of a surprise when I popped off the wheel covers.

    Instead of a black pained steel wheel, I find a cast alloy ("aluminum") wheel with spokes and a nice epoxy-looking finish.

    It's dirty right now, but looks like they will clean up nicely.

    Right now, the end of the CV shaft ("axle") and lock nut are visible through the hole in the center of the wheels are visible.

    It looks to me like the addition of a decorative center hub and trim rings, I'll have a nicer when than I started out with.

    My wild guess would be that a center wheel cap or caps were missing when the PO traded the car in, and it was cheaper for the dealer to throw on a new set of cheapo plastic wheel covers than to replace the decorative hubs and trim rings.

    What was trim level three on a 2017 supposed to have for wheels? I actually thought steel wheels....

    It seems silly to cover up a nice wheel with a cheap wheel cover.

    What say you? IMG_20210711_134841303_HDR.jpg
     
  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Model year 2010 and 2011 had silver alloys. Then in 2012 Toyota did a "refresh", revised the wheel cover, and painted the rims ghetto black. Thankfully they at least switched back to silver in 2016.

    FWIW, "Classic Silver Metallic" (paint code 1F7) is a perfect match. Up here they sell a touch-up pen, that works well with curb rash. It's actually a two-ended pen, with a clear coat pen at the other end. I tried the clear coat once and it lifted the paint touch-up, so never again.

    Centre caps are available, ostensibly for the few levels sporting bare rims. But most levels are plastic wheel covers over (somewhat utilitarian looking) alloy rims. Centre caps will fit, but are NOT included on the latter.

    A gotcha: 3rd and 4th gen rims have slight differences in the hub opening, specifically a groove inside the bore that the centre cap jaws lock into. Toyota in their wisdom shifted that groove setback, so you can't mix and match.

    The usual alloys with covers. No levels have steel rims. Corolla 15" steel rims do fit, btw; I use them in winter with snow tires.

    Yeah no kidding. That's one reason we went with CDN "Touring" level in 2010 model year, for the nice 17" rims.
     
    #2 Mendel Leisk, Jul 11, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2021
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  3. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    The very first Prius generation came with genuinely nice wheels. All since then have been more or less disappointing.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i like my wheels, but it's a prius, the bar is low
     
  5. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    I read somewhere that they were to enhance the aerodynamics. Can't find it now - but there were quite a lot of what look like tiny features which all add up. Like this:

    upload_2021-7-12_9-54-27.png
    upload_2021-7-12_9-55-10.png
    AND

    upload_2021-7-12_9-56-26.png
    upload_2021-7-12_9-56-59.png
    upload_2021-7-12_9-57-28.png
     
  6. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    Rotate tires front to back ONLY.
    NO crossing from side to side.
     
  7. bestmapman

    bestmapman 04, 07 ,08, 09, 10, 16, 21 Prime

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    I think I have a set of original 2010 wheel covers that I took off right when I got my 2010. I will see if I can dig them up.
     
  8. Valiant V

    Valiant V Member

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    That much I knew - I've always used a "front to back, never across" wheel rotation system ever since I had an incident with a tire on a 1973 Mazda RX-3 that decided to start shedding hunks of tread.

    That said, "supposedly" if you have a tire that isn't specifically supposed to turn in only one direction (and these tires are plainly marked) you ARE supposed to be able to cross them from side to side. Then again, the "which ones you should cross" (drive wheels vs non drive wheels) has always sounded kinda hazy, so I always stick with the safe "front to back". It's also what the picture in the manual shows.

    ....then again, Prii with five actual wheels and tires show a rotation with the spare in the right side rotation....

    .....so what happens if you get a flat on the left side? Does it creat a time/space paradox?
     
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  9. Valiant V

    Valiant V Member

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    The plastic wheel covers are cheesy - but not bad-looking and they look to be cheap if you chew them up parking.

    That's why I thought the wheel underneath that plastic cover looked too good to cover up.

    If it weren't for the exposed center hub, I'd leave the plastic covers off. Though I suppose the plastic wheel covers may be more aerodynamic.

    If I were an appearance geek, I'd have to paint the calipers....
     
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  10. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    The plastic covers are also easier to keep clean. I think I washed mine last year.
     
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  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    IIRC the plastic covers cost about the same as a cheap aftermarket rim? If you ever opt to replace, due to condition. And their retaining jaws are kind of hard on the alloy rim?
     
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  12. Valiant V

    Valiant V Member

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    Yes, I suppose "cheap" and "inexpensive" are two different things.

    From the looks of the alloy wheel, it would need a trim ring - which would cover the marks left by the wheel covers - as well as making some marks as well.
     
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  13. Valiant V

    Valiant V Member

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    Since the Prius doesn't create as much "brake dust" as a conventional vehicle does, one of the biggest factors in keeping alloy wheels clean is mitigated. I didn't clean mine when I rotated the tires, but they don't look too bad.
     
  14. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Active Member

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    Topic has been covered many times. Many of us run them without the terrible looking hubcaps.
     
  15. CooCooCaChoo

    CooCooCaChoo Senior Member

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    I've never rotated the OEM tires and they're going strong with almost 49k miles on them. Will have to get them replaced this year though before the rains come. Front's are just a tad more worn than rears.
     
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  16. Valiant V

    Valiant V Member

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    I never used to think about rotating tires - probably because I was always running mismatched, second-hand tires - so "rotating" them would be an eye-roll exercise.

    Since I grew up and started having good - often new tires on my vehicle - I've tried to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for rotation. It really does make a difference - sometimes even makes a difference getting your tire warranty honored.

    Knowing a little more about cars than your average bear (former mechanic with too much formal training) it only makes sense to rotate to even-out the wear on your car's tires. With a front wheel drive vehicle, the fronts do pretty much ALL of the work of driving, stopping, steering. The rears just go along for the ride. I'd guess this is even more true in a Prius with it's regenerative braking would puts even more demand on the front tires.

    That, and considering that they run at higher pressures than the old days, it just makes good sense. The potential for uneven wear is greater.

    I'm really a little surprised that Toyota puts such stress on frequent and regular rotation, I would think that would be something the tire vendor would push - as they have a whole set of documentation that comes with a new Prius.

    Finally - taking the wheels off every couple of thousand miles give me a great opportunity to check out the brake, suspension, steering, CV boot condition. Easier to head of a small problem early than wait until it becomes a big, fat hairy deal!
     
  17. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    ^^ This.

    Though I have to say, I don't rotate every couple thousand miles. More like six thousand, here.
     
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  18. Valiant V

    Valiant V Member

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    Six thousand is what I remember from previous tire maker recommendations. I'm going with Toyota's 5,000 because it's a nice, even, half of the oil change interval. Keeps the mileage tracking and math simple.

    I suppose pretty much any interval that equalized wear before it became significant would do. I think the key here is to make sure the time between rotations is consistent - so that odd wear doesn't "build up" during longer intervals and not get equalized during the shorter ones.

    I don't know if it's an inability to get (any) vehicle aligned perfectly, or road surfaces, crown, etc - but even with frequent alignments and keeping tires perfectly inflated, I pretty much always see some tire wear that I would call "unusual" over the 30-40,000 lifespan of a set of tires. So rather than toss a set of tires because one or two go off the rails, I rotate and get mine to last longer than the manufacture's advertised tire life.
     
  19. tucatz

    tucatz Active Member

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    Supposedly the wheel covers slightly improved feel efficiency. I immediately remove them from my 2010 because they looked so cheesy. My 2016 touring, on the other hand,has cheesy looking plastic inserts that fit in between each spoke. The wheels look terrible without them! Go figure. I wish Toyota would put a nice looking rim on the Prius
     
  20. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Regenerative braking does not add any more total braking action than a regular car already uses, so should not add a single iota to the front tire demand. If anything, since Prius regenerative braking is capped to a fairly low level, a driver conscientiously staying within regen braking force limits as much as practical, instead of escalating into harder friction braking, should be reducing total tire stress.
    The higher pressures have reduced both the total wear, and the unevenness, that I experienced on prior cars with lower pressure recommendations. This is one of the reasons hypermilers prefer higher tire pressures.
    I rotate my tires with each seasonal tire/wheel swap, summer vs winter sets. That way, tire rotation essentially becomes a zero-labor freebie. And it has kept my tires adequately matched. This approach may not work for people driving substantially higher annual miles, or those who don't use a separate set of winter tires.
     
    #20 fuzzy1, Jul 17, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2021
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