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I give up. Ever since I got the Prius 2 weeks ago I've been trying to figure out what the purpose of that plastic ring on the wheel is for. Wheels look fine without is and if there's a purpose, why didn't they just make the wheel conform to that profile, why make the "groove" in the wheel and then fill it in with plastic?
 

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Search the site and you'll discover that they are there to improve aerodynamics slightly.
 

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You'll also find people who try to warn you about the people who say the rings improve aerodynamics slightly... :p
 

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Isn't plastic lighter than the alloy? That may be another reason.
 

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But not the engineers that added them during the wind tunnel design sessions. I've seen some posted pictures of the smoke burbles before and after they were added. Not as bad as mud flaps (not tested for) but still significant enough to add them to the wheels.
Someone else noted that they were pretty good wheel protection against low curb damage.
 

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Plastic wheel covers

After driving my Prius for 18 months,I pulled the wheel covers to wash and polish the alloy wheels and discovered an awful buildup of black "sludge" behind the rings. Took some strong gunk remover to get them cleaned. Decided it was best just to leave them off. For those that decide to leave them on, I would suggest cleaning behind them every few months.
 

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as ive said many times before "set your wheels free!!!!!" get rid of those ugly rings. use them for frisbies, use them for games of horse shoes. i took mine off over a year ago. the wheels look much better almost looks like custom wheels. dont forget the huge weight savings too! 8) :lol:
 

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hyperion said:
Then again, if the wheels came plastic cover free and the aftermarket offered them with the note they successfully eliminate drag, there would be thousands of purchasers. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
Why is it, we buy a car because we like to looks of it and then immediately stand back and say; "how can I change it?"
You must know my wife. I can hear her thinking the same thing when she looks at me.
 

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Though I trust Toyota to have put them there for a good (probably aerodynamic) reason, I agree that they will trap gunk. Since more than half my driving is suburban slow-n-go, the aero help isn't worth the damage to the wheels. Next wash day I plan to take them off, and store them for when/if I sell the car (probably at least 200K miles away).
 

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I give up. Ever since I got the Prius 2 weeks ago I've been trying to figure out what the purpose of that plastic ring on the wheel is for.
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Common wisdom say's they're streamlining devices. Simliar items can be seen on racing bicycles. No doubt it seemed like a good idea at the time. Maybe at 100+ there would be a measureasble effect.
Does anyone have a photo of the wheels with the plastic removed..?
 

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Check for the '06 photos--they don't have the rings on in at least some of those pics, even though I expect the cars will come with them when delivered.
 

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Check for the '06 photos--
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Tks KT.. I found em..
Damn.. That's a nice looking wheel.
Next tire rotation the frisbees are going on a garage shelf. ~JD~
 

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The GoodYear people forgot to put my trim rings back on when I bought new tires.

After looking at the wheels bare, I made sure I got them back...
 

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Why wait? I've got to rotate anyway this weekend, and besides, who knows what ugly crap resides behind them? I don't want to drive a crummy looking Prius around town, do I?
 
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