Home » Help The Person Who Bought The Crappy Suzuki Esteem From ‘Better Call Saul’ Identify These Cheap-Ass Wheel Covers

Help The Person Who Bought The Crappy Suzuki Esteem From ‘Better Call Saul’ Identify These Cheap-Ass Wheel Covers

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You may recall a few weeks ago I wrote about how a friend of mine hunted down the ratty Suzuki Esteem used in the popular television show Better Call Saulthe Esteem was a wonderfully-cast car, an incredibly tattered and sad machine that echoed the desperate situation of the show’s protagonist perfectly. My friend, Tory, who bought the car for an objectively absurd-sounding $4,000, is the sort of person who, once he gets a car, he wants whatever he’s doing with that car to be just right. In the case of the Esteem, “just right” means a car that is extremely shitty, a carefully-curated amalgam of just the right sort of automotive neglect, despair, and exhaustion. It also means that Tory now finds himself in the ridiculous situation of trying to source just the right kind of crappy, bargain-bin-at-Pep Boys plastic wheel covers, and for that, he needs our help. So let’s see what we can do.

What I like about this particular automotive quest is that it feels like the sort of hunt any automotive restorer might be on to find some sort of rare, sought-after part, like, say, some rare grille bezel from a 1937 Delahaye or something, except this is the sort of part that has negative value, and is most often seen propped up against the post of a yield sign on a traffic island near where it was flung off the right rear wheel of a speeding Altima.

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Okay, let’s take a look at the wheel cover in question here, in a screenshot from Better Call Saul:

Esteem Screenshot

See those? You’ve probably seen wheel covers like those a billion times, and, ideally, never gave them more than a moment’s thought. They’re directional, and always seem to be going the wrong way, and the bolts on the face of them are fake little plastic bas-relief nubs. They’re cheap crap.

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You’d think he’d be able to find them anywhere, and he almost can, but the problem is that, for Tory, almost isn’t good enough. He’s found ones that are pretty close, but after scouring eBay and other sites, he has yet to come up with the exact match he demands.

Wheelcovers

So, this is where all you fantastic automotive geeks come in; if there is any community of gearheads on the internet with a chance in hell of identifying a specific kind of crappy aftermarket plastic wheel cover probably from the early-ish 2000s, it’s got to be this one, right? It’s got to be the Autopian community, the champions of details far too mundane for the normal mind to care about, and for whom crappiness is a virtue!

So, can we help Tory restore this car to its original – I can’t really say glory here, can I – um, state? And, if we can identify these wheel covers, I think the good news is he doesn’t even need a full set of four to make the car right, so that helps.

I know this may sound absurd, but look, the man got this shitbox running again and everything:

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A post shared by Tory Alonzo (@vdubber4life)


Clearly, this project means a lot to him, and who are we to yuck anyone’s yum, right? So any investigative help or insights would be much appreciated. Perhaps one of you has a couple of these rolling around in your garage, perhaps acting as a bowl to hold random bolts and nuts and bits of wire? Who knows? Maybe we’ll get lucky!

 

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Tory Alonzo
Tory Alonzo
16 days ago

A massive thank you for everyone’s detective skills here! As luck would have it, I was contacted by Andrew L on Instagram after his brother read this article here on The Autopian. He had exactly one of these in stock in his store where he specializes in, you guessed it, hubcaps. For those wondering, it’s made in Taiwan, and this specific wheel cover is model KH-320. It ships out on Monday and thanks to Andrew and his brother, I can now use my time for more constructive things rather than daily eBay searches. Again, thanks to the community here for an automotive mystery solved!

Rafael
Rafael
15 days ago
Reply to  Tory Alonzo

Don’t forget to hold the cap in place with zip ties. They always magically appear on my car each time it gets serviced.

Geekycop .
Geekycop .
17 days ago

Early ’00s walmart specials. Best of luck as they were absolute crap when new so I don’t imagine there are may still extant.

R53forfun
R53forfun
17 days ago

Huh, I thought these were simply a Pep Boys special. But noooo! Even Google Lens search has no idea and comes up with nada.

Who knew having your beater look so *authentically* shitty was such hard work!

Last edited 17 days ago by R53forfun
FlavouredMilk
FlavouredMilk
17 days ago
Reply to  R53forfun

Google Lens is what got me there eventually, took a fair effort, I’ve got half a dozen images of hubcaps in my phone gallery now and my brain probably won’t forget the words “13 inch plastic chrome hubcap wheel cover 4 stud” anytime soon.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
16 days ago
Reply to  FlavouredMilk

A life well spent.

FlavouredMilk
FlavouredMilk
17 days ago

https://amexautoparts.com/catalogue/wheel-cover-size-13_14468/

Took me a long time to even find a pic of them with 4 lugs. No promises on attainability, but there they are!

Snikle
Snikle
17 days ago
Reply to  FlavouredMilk

Only 2400 Kenyan Shillings? What a deal!

R53forfun
R53forfun
17 days ago
Reply to  FlavouredMilk

There we go. Overnight from Nairobi. Job done.

Last edited 17 days ago by R53forfun
Tory Alonzo
Tory Alonzo
17 days ago
Reply to  FlavouredMilk

Amazing! I need to make some friends in Kenya! I suppose it’s worth a shot to see if they’d be willing to ship a set to good old Albuquerque!

FlavouredMilk
FlavouredMilk
17 days ago
Reply to  Tory Alonzo

Good luck! Hope you can get what you’re looking for~

Mikebola
Mikebola
17 days ago

I am 100% sure I’ve seen these hanging somewhere in the last 15 years. Either Ollie’s, an off-brand truck stop, or a flea market. I remember looking at the twisty, bulged spokes and thinking that they looked stupid cheap and ugly.
I have a feeling that they were cheap clones of brand-name hubcaps. Maybe branded Car and Driver?

Scott Graeber
Scott Graeber
17 days ago
Last edited 17 days ago by Scott Graeber
Venezuelanvintage99
Venezuelanvintage99
17 days ago

Doing a image search I stumbled upon these two things that caught my eye. I found an ad with a Daewoo Lanos ad where you can see that it has very similar hubcaps:https://www.grays.com/lot/0001-10314431/motor-vehiclesmotor-cycles/1998-daewoo-lanos-se-automatic-hatchback#&gid=1&pid=9
Also, I found this ad for these hubcaps on amazon but they are not the ones: Tuningpros WC1P-15-8083-S – Pack of 1 Hubcap (1 Piece) – 15-Inches Style Snap-On (Pop-On) Type Metallic Silver Wheel Covers Hub-caps https://a.co/d/4bwBjJe

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
18 days ago

So close… the ST88005 from Shaft Enterprise Co., Ltd. looks to be nearly the same, except it appears to have five fake lugs instead of four:
https://www.shaft.com.tw/p01_09_b.htm

I remember these craptastic type of wheel covers well. I used a set to dress up a ’91 Toyota Celica I had fixed up, and those were surprisingly almost identical to the factory ones. I also managed to find a set that was at least somewhat close to what the rims had originally looked like on a $900 Buick Park Ave I had scored via Craigslist. They had a stupid thin metal ring reinforcing plastic tabs that felt like they would break upon installation. I’m pretty sure the manufacturer’s intent was for one-use only.

Tory Alonzo
Tory Alonzo
17 days ago

Oooh, those are REALLY close! I feel like I could live with them being 5 lug. Good work!

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
17 days ago

Hopefully the 5 lug is an image of the 15, and the 13 is 4 lug. But these look pretty spot on.

2-Car Dream Team
2-Car Dream Team
18 days ago

Found them: https://www.shaft.com.tw/p01_09_b.htm Model ST88005. Available in 13″ or 14″. I’d wager they come in 4-lug as well from this fine establishment in Taiwan.

If he just needs one (1): https://www.junkmail.co.za/car-spares-and-parts/wheels-rims-and-tyres/kwazulu-natal/hillcrest/wheelcap-14-inch/e1023bf98fee4598a1658d4f1ec9ef00

Wal-Mart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/TuningPros-WSC-852S14-Set-of-4-Metallic-Silver-Hubcaps-14-Hub-Caps-Wheel-Skin-Cover-14-inches-4-Pcs-Set/363883152 (can’t tell if he wants chrome or not)

Last edited 18 days ago by 2-Car Dream Team
William Eby
William Eby
16 days ago

Needs to be 4 lug. but close

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
18 days ago

Largely useless-for-the-actual-goal trivia, but hey, where are we, right?

The covers in the picture right above “Close, but not close enough” are for GM 15″ steelies from the ’00s!

Vee
Vee
18 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Specifically the 1995-1999 Chevrolet Cavalier coupe before they dropped them entirely and only left the five spoke “Starfy” hubcaps until the Cavalier’s demise in 2004.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
18 days ago
Reply to  Vee

OMG you’re right – ’90s!

(They were an option on my Beretta too)

FuzzyPlushroom
FuzzyPlushroom
18 days ago
Reply to  Vee

Even more specifically, they’re clearly styled after ’95- Cavalier hubcaps, but the originals had five ‘lugs’ to match the five real lugs underneath.

Abdominal Snoman
Abdominal Snoman
18 days ago

ugh, flashbacks, ptsd… I swear my Dad bought an identical utterly hideous set for a 96 sentra circa 2000 from walmart in the clearance section

Geekycop .
Geekycop .
17 days ago

My buddy put some on his ’85 prelude about the same time.

Walmart specials baby.

Cerberus
Cerberus
18 days ago

The only thing I remember about wheel covers was to throw them out. I’m pretty sure I saw those back in the day or at least close matches, not just installed, but in boxes on a shelf. Maybe AutoZone? I guess that’s no help.

Otter
Otter
18 days ago

Wow–they didn’t even bother to fake up five lugs on the wheel cover, like the Walmart specials which hide the four-bolt shame of our Fit’s winter steelies.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
18 days ago
Reply to  Otter

Hey, don’t make fun of mine. They cost me $20 hard earned dollars 🙂

Last edited 18 days ago by Icouldntfindaclevername
Gubbin
Gubbin
18 days ago
Reply to  Otter

Better than the ones that led to a panicked call from my friend asking why the lug nuts wouldn’t come off his GF’s Nissan 240SX. Visions of stripped studs and rounded-off nuts coursed through my head before I thought to ask if he’d taken off the hubcaps first.

“What hubcaps?”

KC Murphy
KC Murphy
17 days ago
Reply to  Gubbin

I had a similar experience. Coworker called in late, said he had a flat tire. Was all sorts of pissed off because he ended up having to call AAA to do it for him, and his GF was likely henpecking him the whole time as she was known to do.

At lunch I passed his car and saw one of the wheels had three of the little fake lug nuts broken off, and all the pieces came together in my head.

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