What's with the Prius's hub caps?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by Skoorbmax, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    I got what is probably a bogus explanation from the sales guy and I did try and google. Why is it that this car has hub caps over alloy wheels? I've never seen that before on another car and it doesn't seem to be for aero reasons.
     
  2. TheSpoils

    TheSpoils Member

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    There are some on here who feel the alloy rims are butt ugly, while others love them. You decide
     
  3. vegasjetskier

    vegasjetskier New Member

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    Improved aerodynamics.
     
  4. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    Surely it's not just an optional addition for those who love or hate the alloy wheels? Do other vehicles do this? Salesman told me it's to protect them but that's like a plastic cover on a couch that is not see-through. It makes no sense. You don't put on a hubcap covering up wheels underneath to protect them just as you don't put an opaque screen over a painting to protect it.
     
  5. mjrauma

    mjrauma Junior Member

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    They're just shipping covers designed to protect the wheels during transport. Feel free to discard them. :D

    Mike
     
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  6. namasteflc

    namasteflc New Member

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    I finally found some low cost 'plugs' to fill the center hole in the wheels. They're all brass and 'friction' fit into the openings. Four plugs for about $ 7.00.
     
  7. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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  8. Airbalancer

    Airbalancer Active Member

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    Link?
     
  9. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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  10. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    No.

    This is the first (fossil-fueled U.S. market) production car that has ever needed to use just about every little trick they could squeeze in to get that headline milestone of "EPA 50 MPG".

    For all other cars, that milestone has been just a hysterical fantasy.
     
  11. wick1ert

    wick1ert Senior Member

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    I'm not so sure I buy the aerodynamics aspect of it. There's probably much more designs they could have used if they wanted to, and at that point, why not just use a standard, cheap alloy wheel with cover? I always considered it more of a protective cover. Prevent a lot of the dings from curbs, pot holes, rocks, etc that get flung up. But then, I go back to the using a standard, cheap wheel with cover again.

    I wouldn't be surprised if it was done mostly as a design aspect. The wheel design looks better than the cheap wheels w/ hubcaps but the cover may serve as a protective cover for that.

    I think it falls into the category of questions, with "how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?"
     
  12. Tickwood

    Tickwood Active Member

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    The "improved aerodynamics" are more than offset by reduction in weight.
     
  13. BlizzardJ

    BlizzardJ New Member

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    If the wheel covers are intended to improve aerodynamics and thus increase MPGs, I have yet to see it. I've had mines for a month and a half now, and I took the covers off about three weeks ago. My MPG calculations (based on miles driven divided by how many gallons of gas I put in to top off the tank) have not changed since the removal.

    I suppose it really comes down to a question of aesthetics. Some like that the spokes of the covers "flush out" at the edge of the rim (like pretty much what all wheel covers do) and give the perception that the wheel diameter is larger. Some (myself included) like how the thin spoked alloys look. To me they look very JDM-ish, I'm often tempted to get them powder coated dark bronze.
     
  14. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Every bit counts, right?

    the wheel covers, the curve in the roof, the underbody covers and spats, the mirror design, the smaller grille design, the "aero corners" etc.


    They could've gone with a full alloy wheel. You guys know how the HCH-II's alloys look like right? Yup.. solid block with pizza slices. You could have that or the Prius' design which gives you the option of two designs.
     
  15. BlizzardJ

    BlizzardJ New Member

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    Absolutely.

    But on the same token it appears that whatever difference the covers make is very minuscule perhaps even negligible.
     
  16. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Well remember that whatever the cover, umm... covers, that can be hollow in the alloy wheel design, thus saving weight that way. It's now a twin spoke design vs. the solid 5-spoke in the old Prius, so they've carved out a bit more metal that way.

    It's also a balance btwn aerodynamics vs. style. Of course the most aerodynamic design would be a full solid cover (basically like the HCH-II) but not everyone likes it. Stylish alloys tend to have a lotta gaps (mostly cause the spokes are thin). At least the Prius gives you the option of having them on or off... stylish alloys or aero covers? Your choice.

    With the HCH, well you're kinda stuck unless you wanna shell out for a new set of alloys.


    Interesting fact: The alloy design on the Euro Insight is different from ours b/c ours focusses more on aerodynamics (the EX model) vs. the Euro version which is more on design and thus less aerodynamic than the US model.
     
  17. sablanj

    sablanj Junior Member

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    I wish to purchase the plugs, do you have a link or toll free phone number???
    thanks
    JDS
     
  18. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Taken individually, many changes are minuscule and likely to be undetectable to regular drivers, masked by the large daily and seasonal variability.

    But taken together, they can really add up. My recollection, from just before the release, was that Toyota was struggling to get that 50 MPG EPA rating, which is based on far more precise and repeatable tests than we owners can possibly replicate.
     
  19. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    I'm very glad the wheels on this don't look like the honda civic hybrid from a few years ago. I think that was the pizza slice look. Just did not sit well with me at all. It's a nice look on time trial bicycles but not on a car :)

    I appreciate the ongoing responses. So, it sounds like in great part it really is here by Toyota as an aesthetic option but presumably there is an aero impact but nobody can quantify it? Has an engineer from Toyota ever off-handedly commented about it anywhere to anybody's knowledge?
     
  20. colfacs

    colfacs New Member

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    They are there to control air flow to the brakes. :)
     
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