Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My husband is tighter than a wax doll's ear canal. I usually don’t mind it, but sometimes he stews about an issue so long that I think it would be better if he just bit the bullet and paid the tune. Recently we passed through a very narrow toll bridge along the Texas coast. As we pulled up to pay the attendant our two bucks, we both noticed that many people had already scraped the toll booth roof. We slowly rolled up to the booth and heard a clanging sound. My husband looked out his window trying to figure out what it was, and the attendant immediately said, “It’s your hubcap scraping the curb on the other side.” It must happen all the time. So for two bucks you not only get to cross this short bridge, you get to destroy an expensive wheel simulator on a abnormally high curb. My husband was not a happy camper and told the guy he should warn people if it is that common an occurrence. Since then he has spent a lot of time looking for a matching hubcap. With all the RVs on the road you would think this item would be common, but obviously not. He refused to pay a dealer two-hundred dollars for a fifty dollar item. By the time he finally finds one he will have spent a thousand dollars in time and gas looking. Should I just let him look or buy him one for his early birthday present? It would be a gift for both of us, as I won’t have to hear about it anymore.
--Dented in Denton
I would buy your husband Jeff Yeager’s book, “The Ultimate Cheapskate.” It's a great book. There is nothing wrong with trying to save money. You and your husband should look at this differently. First, it’s a wheel simulator. It could have been the side of your rig on the roof. It could have broken or bent your wheel studs. It could have damaged a tire. It was your lucky day. Your glass is half-full, not half-empty. Second, think of finding a reasonably priced matching simulator as a project, not a problem. It’s not like you can’t drive without it. Eventually, you will find a guy with your exact match. It will be sitting on his shelf collecting dust and he will be more than happy to unload it for a fair price. I have done this more than once. I found a match to mine for $29 bucks. I don’t even need one, but I bought it for insurance. Another thought is just buy a new or used matching set for the front. It is often easier to find a set. Then sell your good one on eBay to some poor soul that is looking for the same one you are. Most dealers do not carry an inventory of caps. They all want to order as needed, charge through the nose, and add shipping cost. Many RV’s us Dicor products which you can buy online. Pacific Dualies and others would also work if you buy a set. There are several things to consider when looking for a set that will work. Make sure you get the right diameter, lug configuration, and correct lug thread on the two attaching decorative lugs. Threads differ between manufacturers and models.
As part of the project you can start watching the side of the road for caps as you travel. This could be a whole new “on the road business” for you. Think of the upside possibilities. Just think of all you have learned since crunching your wheel simulator. Many people don’t even know how they come off. You have added so much expertise to your RV background just because the State of Texas has lousy bridge engineers. You are truly blessed.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink