How to Install a Center Capby Richard Ristow
Installing a center cap onto a wheel is relatively easy, as it snaps into place with little effort. Removing the original center caps, however, can be a little trickier. This process can be relatively easy and take a few seconds, or it might require removing the wheel entirely. There is no uniform process, as all center caps are different. You will want to do this for two reasons: either you want to customize the look of your wheels, or you bought a vehicle used and you want to restore the original parts.
Removing the Old Caps
Assess the center cap you wish to start with. If you see two pin holes, then the process will be relatively easy. Insert the tip of a center cap removal tool into one of the pinholes, and slowly, but firmly, lever the cap out of the wheel. The amount of force depends on whether you want to keep the cap or not.
Insert the center cap removal tool between the edge of the cap and wheel itself. See if there is any give. Try this with two removal tools on opposite sides of the cap. Pry it out. Again, the amount of force used depends on whether or not you mind if the cap is damaged. Try this with two flat head screwdrivers, but attempting this could possible damage the wheel.
Jack up the vehicle once you find a suitable jack point for the wheel in question, if you still cannot get the cap out of the wheel.
Remove the lug nuts with a tire iron.
Pull the wheel off the car. The wheel's weight will very by rim and tire size, and truck and sport utility vehicles will naturally be heavier. You may need help with heavier wheels.
Tap out the center cap with the tire iron, turning the wheel so that you're looking at its back side.
Installing a New Cap
Place the retention ring inside the center cap. It should easily fit, and unlike a hubcap, no clips are needed to hold it in place. This is a simple metal hoop that comes with the center cap, and it will assist in keeping the cap in the wheel.
Place the center cap over the hole in the middle of the wheel.
Push the cap into place.
Repeat the removal and installation process on the remaining wheels. If you had to remove the wheel to get at the center cap, this will involve fitting the wheel back on, refastening the lugs with a tire iron and turning the crank on the jack to lower the vehicle.
Things You'll Need
- Center cap removal tool
- Tire iron
- Car jack
Richard Ristow has written for journals, newspapers and websites since 2002. His work has appeared in "2009 Nebula Showcase" and elsewhere. He is a winner of the Science Fiction Poetry Association's Rhysling Award and he edits poetry for Belfire Press. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and has managed an automotive department at WalMart.