"I take pride in my ride," one trucker said as reason for the lug nut covers he sported on his tractor.
They were a shiny, silvery, chrome color -- and truth be told, they did make his wheels look better than having exposed lug nuts.
On this page, we will cover the basics of these large truck accessories and how to save money on them.
As you doubtless know, these decorations are not required for one to drive a truck. They simply enhance the look of the vehicle.
In order to look "complete," all ten lug nuts on a big truck wheel must be covered.
It is easy enough to slide the covers on but may require a remover -- like the Ken-tool (KEN30606) Professional Lug Nut Cover Remover -- to pull them off.
The disadvantage of having lug nut covers in place is that you cannot tell if the lug nuts are torqued correctly.
On our lug nut torque indicator page, we documented the problem of wheel separation accidents.
While we have never specifically heard of a truck accident involving wheel separation where the lug nuts were covered, this is a possibility.
Another addition to complete the appearance that lug nut covers provide is a dome over the wheel seal.
While this can look quite classy, concealing the wheel seal can hide wheel seal leaks and thus lead to grave damage.
Do your lug nut covers look "aggressive"?
On our truck teeth page, we documented the problems that could result from having certain aggressive-looking bug screens on the front of large trucks.
At left are two views of spike lug nut covers.
To us, they look a bit aggressive.
There are different styles of covers including those with reflectors on the ends.
Consider the base material of the covers you are considering purchasing.
Are they truly metal or are they plastic that has been coated as if to look like metal?
If they are coated, can the coating peel off?
Mike has only ever been a company driver. But even some company drivers like Mike like to take pride in their trucks.
Mike saved up to buy his set of lug nut covers with his truck stop rewards program points.
As we said on that page, he set a goal to save up his driver rewards points to buy chrome lug nut and hub wheel covers, which cost about $100 at the time. Then he waited for the set to come on sale.
By timing his purchase, he was able to buy about $100 worth of chrome for $40 (a 60% savings).
The combined discount and use of driver rewards made the purchase that much sweeter.
At left, you can see the covers on the lug nuts of his driver side steer wheel.
He bought enough covers to go all the way around his tractor (both steers and all four drives).
If you're an owner-operator with your own trailer, you have an additional option.
Do you plan to outfit your trailer wheels with covers, too?
Be careful when you buy these decorations as there are differences in sizes. Measure the size of your lug nuts to determine the right size.
Iowa80.com calls these devices "nut covers" and provides an overview of what they sell.
Since they list their sizes in an order we don't like, we have taken the liberty of re-ordering them by size (from largest to smallest) in both English and Metric standards:
|English (descending)||Metric (descending)|
Covers may be sold in sets of 10 (for one wheel) or 20 (for both wheels) on a tractor axle.
When you buy a cover remover, you will want to pay attention to the surface to make sure that it does not scratch your covers.
Money saving tip: Measure your lug nuts to make sure you get the right size not (too loose and not too tight).
Make sure the lug nuts are clean before covering them.
Try to time your purchase with a discount or sale. (Yes, sometimes even truck stops have sales, discounts and clearances.)
If you are willing to wait, save up your reward program points so you won't have to spend money out-of-pocket on the purchase.
If you need a cover remover, keep it with you in the truck in case you need to have wheel work done.
Aim to replace a missing lug nut cover as soon as possible so that there is no suspicion for DOT to pull you in for a fuller inspection.
(If one cover is missing, it may make them wonder what else has been "neglected" in the maintenance on your truck.) If you can't have a full set, it would be best not to have any on that wheel or axle.
For the best look, keep your tractor clean (including the wheels). Use the right cleaning agent so as not to harm the covers' finish.