How to Remove Plastic Wheel Covers

Written by tim petruccio
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How to Remove Plastic Wheel Covers
Wheel covers enhance the look of mundane steel wheels. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Plastic wheel covers have been standard issue on many base-model vehicles for years; they're the least expensive way to enhance the look of a plain steel wheel. Plastic wheel covers can be simple one-piece designs or they can have amenities like spinners or intricate patterns that resemble racing wheels or custom rims. Removing plastic wheel covers may require one of a number of different processes depending on the make, model and year of vehicle you own.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Pry bar
  • Wheel lug wrench
  • Customised lock key
  • Jack and jack stand

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Instructions

    Standard Plastic Wheel Cover Removal

  1. 1

    Insert a pry bar between the outer edge of the plastic wheel cover and the wheel.

  2. 2

    Gently pry the wheel cover until the edge pops away from the wheel.

  3. 3

    Continue prying in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion until the entire plastic wheel cover is released.

    Removing Late 1990s General Motors Plastic Wheel Covers

  1. 1

    Note which of the wheel lugs the cover is screwed to. On these automobiles, you should find that the cover is held on by three of the lug nuts, not all of them. The three wheel nuts that hold the wheel cover on are in a triangular pattern, rather than side by side.

  2. 2

    Remove two of the wheel nuts that hold the wheel cover in place, using a lug wrench or tire iron. Remove the third wheel nut holding the plastic wheel cover on, again using a lug wrench or tire iron.

  3. 3

    Place a pry bar between the edge of the plastic wheel cover and the wheel if the cover does not immediately fall away. Pry gently on the wheel cover in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion until it pops free of the wheel.

    Removing Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, Lincoln Town Car and Lincoln Continental Plastic Wheel Covers

  1. 1

    Open the glove box or the boot of your vehicle and remove the special key that is designed to remove the wheel cover. The key is a cylinder with a shamrock-shaped head at one end and a small pry bar through the other end.

  2. 2

    Insert the small pry bar between the plastic wheel cover and the centre cap of the vehicle. Pry the centre cap off gently with the pry bar, catching it in your free hand.

  3. 3

    Insert the shamrock-shaped key into the centre nut, which was hidden behind the centre cap. Turn the shamrock key or special key counterclockwise in order to remove the centre nut from the wheel.

  4. 4

    Pry gently on the plastic wheel cover only after you have completely removed the centre bolt, which holds the wheel cover on. Ford Motor Company designed these wheel covers as an antitheft device for high-end Ford, Mercury and Lincoln vehicles.

    Removing Hyundai, Kia and Honda Plastic Wheel Covers

  1. 1

    Remove all lug nuts from the wheel using a lug wrench. In most cases you'll want to have the tire raised off the ground to do this. Support the raised portion of your car on a jack stand. On some cars, once you've removed all the lug nuts you can pull the wheel cover off freely. Be sure to replace the lug nuts so that the wheel and tire won't fall off the hub. If the wheel cover does not pull freely away, move on to Step 2.

  2. 2

    Place a pry bar between the edge of the plastic wheel cover and the wheel.

  3. 3

    Pry gently in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion until the entire wheel cover comes free.

Tips and warnings

  • Set your wheel covers away from where you are working. Keeping the wheel cover away from your work area will help to protect the wheel cover from scratches or getting cracked if you accidentally step on it.

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