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2012 X w/PZEV 4EAT
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283 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys!

So I just swapped over to winter tires for my new 2012 Forester. I got 16" steel rims from Costco and Bridgestone Blizzak WS70's put on. Now I'm ready for an Ottawa winter!

The only problem is that the centers are open on the Costco steel rim, meaning I can see the axle nuts poking out of the center of each wheel. Right now they're shiny and new looking, and I'm concerned about exposing them to winter snow and salt. My regular wheels are aluminum alloys which of course protected the axle from being exposed.

On my way into work I walked through the parking lot and noticed some older cars whose axle nuts are also exposed with their winter rims, and they are all rust-colored and dirty. I also saw steel wheels that didn't seem to expose the axle.

Should I be concerned? Do I leave them exposed? What can I do to cover them? Canadian Tire sells universal fit press-on wheel covers (hub caps) but they don't completely protect the axle center since they have to clear the lug nuts, so there's an air gap inside. But almost everyone I ask says not to bother with hub caps in the winter since they'll only get lost or cracked or imbalanced when snow and ice cake onto them.
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,071 Posts
I let them be, any rust that does develop is only surface rust. Most people who are going to take the axle nut off will grab a 6 point impact socket and impact gun to get it off which if it is a good gun wont even flinch.
 

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2012 X w/PZEV 4EAT
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283 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
OK, sounds like I don't need to worry about it too much. I will, however, spray silicone lube as Duderotomy suggests. Why not, it can't hurt.

I was considering getting wheel covers just for the looks but at $64 for the set from Canadian Tire, I think I'll leave it be.
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i Conv CVT
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20 Posts
I went to Home Depot hoping to find something that can be used as "center caps" but no luck yet...
 

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2012 X w/PZEV 4EAT
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283 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I want to say someone used a 2" plastic junction box plug(?) as a center cap, but I couldn't find it here or NASIOC.
I did find a few threads about people who did that! Here's one:
DIY - Make Your Own Customized Centercaps! - Honda Civic Forum

Here is another:
http://www.iwsti.com/forums/gr-tires-wheels/228024-diy-center-caps-winter-rims.html

I even went to Home Depot and bought a set of 2" plugs, but they don't quite fit on the rims/axle of my Forester. If there was such a thing as a 1.75" plug, it might have worked... oh well.
 

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2006 Forester X Premium
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50 Posts
I even went to Home Depot and bought a set of 2" plugs, but they don't quite fit on the rims/axle of my Forester. If there was such a thing as a 1.75" plug, it might have worked... oh well.
Hi GreyingJay, I have the same problem. I just wonder how your story ended up? Did you find good plugs? Or just used a silicone-based lubricant? Did it help to prevent rusting of the axle nut area?
 

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2006 Forester X Premium
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50 Posts
Thanks Bobby.
Will try to find a solution and post here.

Update: I tried all the tricks with knockout plugs etc. In fact the 1 1/2 inch knockout plugs from hardware store have a perfect diameter, but the axle nut is sticking out preventing installation.
So nothing will really work for the steelies. So I ended up ordering good looking black wheel covers.
 
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