Breaking Wheel Caps on Toyota Tundras?

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Recently, we found an interesting thread on about breaking wheels caps. As a potential problem with Toyota Tundra pickups, we thought it best to follow up on this. Here is what we found.

Breaking Wheel Caps

Do Toyota Tundra trucks have a breaking wheel cap problem?

The Problem

On June 18, 2012 Gerry R. on laid out the problem:

I recently visited my local Toyota Dealer…While performing maintenance 3 of 4 wheel caps were broken and now need to be replaced. On the work order it states: “The wheel caps disintegrated, through no fault of the technician.”

The President of the dealership was of no help and considers it my problem and cost to replace the wheel caps at a dealer cost to me of $80.00 each…

Obviously, the problem here is that Gerry is looking at $240 worth of parts (an outrageous amount, I might add) for three broken caps. Gerry points out that perhaps 1 broken cap is possible, but 3? Seems like the technician screwed up.

From The Horse’s Mouth – What a Toyota Service Expert Has To Say

With that information, we went to talk to our favorite Toyota service manager. He told us that on the 1st generation Tundra, center caps on the aluminum wheels are more prone to breakage. No one knows why these caps are more prone to breaking, but they definitely seem to break more often than the center caps on other wheels.

As for the center wheel caps on the 2nd generation (2007 and up) Tundra, they don’t seem to break any more or any less than any other vehicle. They can be tricky, however, which brings us to some helpful tips.

How To Keep Your Center Caps From Breaking

Sometimes center caps break because they’re old, or because they’re brittle, or because the guy who put them on the last time didn’t line them up properly and then wailed away on them, weakening them.

  1. When you install your center caps, be sure to line them up before you smack them. This is the easiest way to break or weaken the clips.
  2. Try not to mess with them when the plastic is extremely cold (such as when they’ve been sitting out in winter weather all night). Let the plastic come to room temperature and they’ll be less likely to break.
  3. Go slow – you can often get them clipped in with just a little bit of force. The less pressure you exert, the less likely to break.
What If The Dealer or Repair Shop Breaks Your Caps?

When a cap inadverdantly breaks, different dealerships and shops will handle the situation differently. Some shops will “take it on the chin” and just order a new cap at their expense. Others will try to tell you that they didn’t do anything wrong, and that the caps were just old and/or brittle. Some will try to split the replacement cost with you (which, frankly, seems pretty fair considering that no one can know why the caps broke).

Yet again, however, this little story illustrates a time-tested lesson: This problem is a great example of why you should have all of your service done at same shop or dealership. If/when something like this happens, your relationship with the shop will probably get you a free part.

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Filed Under: Tundra Wheels and Tires


RSSComments (12)

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  1. Mickey says:

    I’m at 139,459 miles and never had an issue with center caps. I’m on my 3rd set of Bridgestone Duelers.
    Also if you can read this article:

  2. Mickey says:

    As per that article it’s great to know that both vehicles we have are the most dependable. Prius & Tundra. Not to forget they were other Toyota products in that review.

  3. mk says:

    Personally, if the dealer did it or repair shop even after 3/36K, I’d hold them responsible for free replacement. However, depending upon how they act, say after 60K miles, I might be willing to split the difference or just try to find a good used one much cheaper. Are the clips plastic or metal? If plastic, they don’t belong on any part like this, but Toyota and other mfgs. use plastic all over to hold stuff in place that breaks all the time.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      I believe they are plastic. And like you, I would hold them accountable as well.


  4. Mickey says:

    They are plastic. Other manufacturers use the same stuff. Even after market mags use the same cheap center piece. I got an extra one when I bought the same limited rim off ebay. I did have one fall off somewhere on the road. Being the fact I’m at 139,563 miles I can’t complain if one decides to break. Like mk stated if you are under warranty and the dealership did the tires on the truck then the dealership should be responsible for it. If they back off and don’t pay guess what? They won’t get another $ from me on any repair.

  5. mk says:

    If toyota dealer did not pay for them under 3/36K, I’d call corp. toyota and demand they pay for it. If not, go to better business bureau, file a complaint, then go to local news station and get them bad press since 3/36K bumper to bumper is what the customer pays for with the price of new vehicles being way too pricey.

    Dealer will think twice for not doing what is right if they lose 100’s of potential customers with bad press.

  6. Rick Graham says:

    Just discovered the issue. My son saw the right front on my 2004 Tundra with 112,000 miles and informed me my center cap was missing. It was there the day before. We began looking an found that the two caps on the rear wheels were loose. So we took one loose and found that two of the plastic retainer clips were broken off. Found out after searching the internet that after market caps cost in the range of $90 each.

    Come on Toyota! I love my truck but really!? Plastic clips that latch to the wheel lugs?

    You know this is a design flaw. Help your loyal owners out!

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      I have always had plastic clips for all my cars hub caps. I think it is a weight issue. Sadly, all companies will continue to use plastic and yes, they will break from time to time.


  7. Rick says:

    Ok, can anyone recommend the best and least expensive website to get center cap replacements from?

  8. K OLeary says:

    I just purchased a new OEM center hub cap part# 42603-0C010 from JRGELETY@TDS.NET / for 24.99.

    Also, available here: for $34.95.

    Easy choice after finding out from the dealer that a new cap would cost me over $100! Really? I wonder how much an entire new wheel would cost? Outrageous.

    BTW though, even after bending the clips back some, I still am unable to install the thing myself. I will just wait until I get my tires rotated next time and have the “pro’s’ install for me.

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