A quick way to freshen up the exterior look of your BMW is to replace your four wheel center caps. Each individual BMW series may have a different size cap, so make sure to do your research and find out which specific size you need. This article will focus on the E39 5 series, in particular, my 2000 M5.
Background: The E39 shipped new with a different style of center cap than what is used now. See the below pictures to see the old (left) and new (right) caps. My old ones were original, and had started to deteriorate. They had some bubbles in the finish, and looked dirty in comparison the new ones. The new caps look very much like your hood or trunk lid badges, they are rounded, and feature a chrome edge around the perimeter instead of the matt-gray plastic.
Objective: Update or refresh the look of your wheels with new OEM BMW wheel center caps.
Applicable Vehicles: Any BMW without hubcaps (Many 1997-2000 E39 528i and 540i models have wheel hub caps that hold the center cap)
Parts required: Four BMW wheel center caps. Note each model may have different sizes, check with your specific car to see the correct size.
BMW Part Number: 36 13 6 783 536
*Use Bavarian Auto’s build in compatibility checker by following the linked part number above.
Tools Required: Thin knife, masking tape.
Time Required: 5 minutes
BMW states that to replace the center wheel caps, you must jack up each corner of the car, remove the wheel lugs, pull off the wheel, and push it out from behind. If my method described below does not work, you will have to default to the aforementioned method.
Find a small, thin knife. Wrap the blade of the knife in one or two layers of masking tape, and trim off any messy tape with scissors. Carefully insert your tool in-between the wheel and center cap, taking care not to mar the finish of your wheel. If you’re careful, this is no problem at all. Press the knife into the center cap to create pressure, and pry it out of the wheel. It’s simply held into the wheel with a series of clips around the cap. Align your new cap over the hole in the wheel, and firmly snap it into place with the palm of your hand.