Center cap removal has always been something I’ve dreaded. It’s nearly impossible without damaging the wheel and/or center cap. I’ve tried many approaches to reduce the chance of damage. I’ve wrapped the end of the lug wrench in tape. I’ve used various pry tools. And, I’ve been successful. Mostly. I have also introduced an occasional nick on the edge of the wheel.
Last year, when I was ordering some detailing supplies, I decided to add one more item to my cart – a skin wedge tool. This item, made from 4140 steel, was touted as a great tool for use in prying interior panels and other things with tight gaps and where the possibility of damage is high. Really, anything where a sturdy tool with a fingernail thick edge and very little flex can provide an advantage. I used it a couple times around the house with good success.
But, then came the time to take the wheels off the Mustang. I’m getting new tires soon and I feel more comfortable dropping off just the wheels at the tire shop. It reduces the chance of more damage to my wheels in getting the center caps off as I can do it with more time and care than the tire shop guy might take.
This is when it hit me. The skin wedge tool might be the right tool for this job.
It turned out that it worked pretty darn amazingly! It is the perfect width to get into the slot. It’s thinness allows it to get plenty deep into the slot to give good leverage. And, it’s smooth surface doesn’t mar the wheel.
This was an amazing discover and I will no longer dread center cap removal.
I also made a video to demonstrate the ease of removing a center cap with the skin wedge.
What I used for this project –
One thing I learned over the years is to just remove the center cap tension ring. The ring slides out of a few clips and isn’t a permanent mod, no damage to center caps. That ring is what forces the clips outward and keeps the center cap tightly pressed around the wheel. Once the ring is removed I used a few pieces of painters tape on the center cap tabs to snug them up on the wheel. I have driven 100’s of miles with center caps like this and never lost one.
I remember you mentioning this one time. I never tried it. I just can’t get the courage to try it! Pot holes and the general road condition where I am are pretty unforgiving. I’d hate to lose one.