Dear RV Shrink:
My husband can be obsessive. Several months ago we slightly dented one of our wheel covers while crossing a very narrow, high-curbed toll bridge. My husband was fit to be tied. The toll collector said it happened all the time. The toll booth and the curb were well scraped. My husband asked the attendant if it was designed to destroy RVs.
That incident started six months of trying to find one matching wheel cover. I told him to just buy a whole set and be done with it. He won’t turn it in to the insurance company, insists on finding a single replacement, and has spent untold hours online, calling and visiting dealers and RV salvage yards. I’m not sure if he needs your advice or I need it. I would like to hear your two cents’ worth. —Wheelin’ and Dealin’ in Detroit
It can be very frustrating. I have been through the same thing. You would think with all the RVs on the road there would be a source for used wheel simulators. I know where your husband is coming from. Going down the road they all look alike. It is not until you need one that you discover the multitude of different styles, sizes, lug configurations and attachment systems. I got the exact part number I needed from a Winnebago dealer, ordered a whole set and it was still wrong.
Here is my suggestion. Wheel simulators make a great stocking stuffer. Just make sure you use a big stocking. Don’t tell your husband. Check the actual wheel on your rig. You will find a number stamped into the wheel (example: 19.5 x 6.25). You will want a simulator that will fit that measurement. Many manufacturers use Dicor wheel simulators. You can go online and match the wheel size to a Dicor simulator and get the actual product number you need. Even if you buy a different brand they will be able to cross reference that number or sell you the correct simulator with the wheel measurement you found stamped into your wheel.
My further suggestion would be to replace the wheel cover you damaged and sell the other three on eBay. Since they are so hard to find individually, I actually sold my remaining three for more than I paid for the entire set. Selling the remaining covers will be a great project to keep your husband busy. When he stops looking for a wheel simulator he will have way too much time on his hands.
If you decide to let him continue his quest for a single replacement I just caution him to list his specs as to size, lug configuration, style and attachment. There are many RV salvage businesses online who may have what you need but as you have found out, the specs you need are not always that plentiful.
You don’t specify what type of caps you have. I would suggest buying bolt-on wheel covers if you are going to the cost and trouble of buying a whole set. The snap-on have a tendency to pop off for various reasons. Often the tire or brake repair people do not replace them correctly. If you have snap-on, replace the whole set with bolt-on and then sell the others as Used on eBay. You will find plenty of buyers because they fall off all the time. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink
Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.