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Buick Hubcaps Wheel Covers Information

Buick hubcaps have gone through many changes in the last few years. The day of the stainless steel hubcap that you could kick on with your foot are over. Today's Buick wheel covers (like all other makes) are now all constructed from plastic and have employed a variety of retention systems. Some of these systems are good, some are bad, but each requires specific installation techniques and special care while installing to ensure long term retention. For late model Buick, there are three different attachment systems.

Basic snap on wire retention


Mostly this system was used on early to mid 90's Buick Regal and Skylark. On this type (fig. A) there are a series of plastic clips and a wire that runs between the clip around the back diameter of the hubcap.


snap on hubcap

                  Fig. A


These wheel covers are easy to snap on. Once the wheel covers is correctly aligned with the valve stem opening, one just simply taps the hubcap into place. There is a groove in the wheel rim in which the plastic clips seat,  the wire keeps a constant pressure on the clips holding the wheel cover in place. 

Loss of these wheel covers occurs when the plastic tabs are broken causing the wheel cover to become loose,  so care must be taken when installing. Once these tabs are broken, the hubcap will no longer remain secure and will need replacement. We recommend using a rubber mallet or the back of a fist to "tap" them into place when installing. Do not use excessive force, the hubcaps should snap into place with moderate pressure

Buick Hubcaps that bolt onto lugs

The second and most common hubcap retention system uses plastic caps (fig. B) that attach to the hubcap and thread on to the lug nuts. Late Model Century, LeSabre, Regal and Skylarks all use this system. The lug nuts on these vehicles (fig. C) have outside threads that accommodate the plastic caps. All of the 99 and up Buick hubcaps use this system.


lug caps                GM threaded lug

           Fig. B lug caps                                Fig. C GM threaded lug


Installation of these wheel covers is easy. If the Buick hubcap has a center caps, remove it (fig. D). This will give you access to the lug caps (fig. E). You will then line up the wheel cover to the lug nuts being careful to ensure the valve stem is lined up with the slot that has been precut into the hubcap. If you turn the hubcap over, there is usually a notch indicating where the valve stem should go.


removing center caps                  exposed lug caps

  Fig. D remove center cap                       Fig. E exposed lug caps


Using a 3/4" socket or lugs wrench,  thread the caps onto the lugs. Do not over tighten them or use any kind of air tool as this will strip out the threads, possibly causing a future loss. These lug caps only need to be snug tight.

Buick wire spoke hubcaps

Wire spoke wheel covers were the standard on most Buick models from the early 80s, until the late 90s. These hubcaps were very reliable until Buick launched the plastic locking system in 1989. With the plastic locking housing (fig F) Buick owners starting encountering losses of these "locking" wheel covers in masses. The problem occurs with these wheel covers when the locks are over tightened, the plastic housing on the back can develop a undetectable crack. In time the crack grows and results in the hubcap eventually flying off. With a replacement running over $200 at the dealer, these wire spoke hubcaps became a huge source of frustration for many. Hubcap Heaven and Wheels stocks Buick wire wheel hubcaps at a fraction of the dealers price.


Buick plastic lock housing                    GM locking tools   

  Fig. F plastic lock housing                      Fig. G locking components

Anatomy of a Buick wire spike hubcap

A Buick wire spoke wheel cover has four components (Fig. G). The wheel covers, locking key (wrench), locking nut and the mounting bracket. The Mounting bracket attaches to the car fitting behind three of the wheels lug nuts. This bracket is what hold the wheel cover to the car. In order to attach the wheel covers to the bracket the locking nut is screwed onto the bracket with a special patterned wrench (key).

A Buick wire spoke wheel cover has four components (Fig. H). The wheel covers, locking key (wrench), locking nut and the mounting bracket. The Mounting bracket attaches to the car fitting behind three of the wheels lug nuts. This bracket is what hold the wheel cover to the car. In order to attach the wheel covers to the bracket the locking nut is screwed onto the bracket with a special patterned wrench (key).

In order for these hubcaps to be theft proof, GM created six different patterns for these locks. The locking nut and wrench need to be the same pattern in order to work. You can tell which pattern your car has two different ways. First, the color. The cap at the end of the locking wrench and the locking nut itself must be the same color. The second (and more reliable since color fades) is a two letter code imprinted on the working end of both the locking nut and the wrench. The two letter code always begins with the letter P and ends in one of the following. B, D, G, H, S and Y. Before calling in to order one of these Buick hubcaps, please find out which locking pattern you have. You must have the correct lock in order to install the hubcap on the car. The lock is the only thing holding the hubcap on.

Installing a Buick wire spoke hubcap

Installing a Buick spoke hubcap is an easy process. First you remove the Buick logo (fig. H), this is where the locking nut resides (fig. I).


Romoving Buick logo                Locking nut placement

       Fig. H removing logo                     Fig. I locking nut placement


You then place the hubcap on the wheel, lining up the valve stem with the notch provided for it. Using the locking wrench, you turn the locking nut clockwise (fig. J), securing it to the mounting bracket (fig. K). Snap the logo back into place and you are done.


Installing lock                 Bracket and lock

    Fig. J installing the lock                        Fig. K bracket and lock


More about Hubcap Heaven and Wheels hubcaps

There are numerous websites on the net that state "center cap not included" or do not show an emblem on the photo of the hubcaps. All of our factory original hubcaps and wheel covers come complete with the Buick logo, center caps (if applicable) and any attachment caps that are needed. Any replica style will be clearly marked in the picture and on the order page. We don't like deception and would love for you to return to us for all your hubcap and wheel needs.

For more information such as determining your correct Buick hubcaps size and other question, please visit our FAQ and article page. For further discussion or questions, give us a call at 800-301-5814. As always, we are happy to help


Shop for Buick hubcaps below

Century hubcaps
LeSabre hubcaps
Park Ave hubcaps
Regal hubcaps
Riviera hubcaps
Roadmaster hubcaps
Skylark hubcaps




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