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HELP!! ?How To Get The Wheels Off...


Full Member
Jan 10, 2003
Paris, TN
I know what your thinking, what an idiot.

Not really though. I'm sittin' here wanting to rotate the tires and can't get the plastic covers off the wheels to expose the lugnuts. :7: :8: :9:

There is no slot to insert a screwdriver in and pry (see picture attached). I could drive one in and tear it up but I would rather not. I looked in the manual and it says "Remove center cap". AHHHHHHH I can't...

A little help from the experts would be great.
What am I missing???

Oh yeah... It's an 03, I don't know if that will matter.

A very frustrated and embarrassed


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Don't feel bad, Rainman, I noticed the same "problem" on my 2003. I just haven't made it to the 7500 mile mark yet and haven't rotated the tires. I also would like to know how to get these center caps off. ???
:D Use a lug wrench and spin them counterclockwise. The caps are threaded onto the real lug nuts underneath. The caps won't disengage from the silver piece but once they're all loosened it'll just about fall off.
My wheels are different than yours but I believe you just unscrew the plastic lug nuts and off comes the cap. :cautious:
And when you put the center caps back just tighten 'em up until you feel some resistance. The proper lug nut torque is 140 lb-ft.
This site and it's members RULE!!!

LazKat was right. It's so easy when you know how.
I have attached a photo so the next person can get an idea what's up.

You know there's nothing in the manual that I saw which pertains to this. What happens when someone is stuck at night trying to change a flat? Hmmmm. I think GM needs an addendum to the manual.

Now I'll see if I can get the lugnuts loose.

Thanks again everyone.



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Ya, don't feel bad... When I first bought new tires for my 2000 Silverado (same center caps) the guys at Discount Tire tried prying them off before loosening the black plastic covers... Ouch!

I just want to point out that it took the members 14 minutes to provide an answer. The amount of information members possess is incredible.
That's why I stated that this site and it's members RULE!!

I posted my question and decided to have a quick sandwich and mull over my tire rotating inadequacies. Finished my sandwich, logged on and got 3 replies! I yelled out to my wife "I love these guys!!". Went out side took a couple of pictures of the wheel and stuff to help the next person, and after my computer locked up 3 times :8: I posted my thanks.

I then rotated my tires in peace. Ahhhhh :)

Once again, Thank you all.

Edward K, 140 ft/lbs really that seems like a lot is that right?
140 ft/lbs s the correct torque setting for Avalanche lug nuts. Be sure to torque them in a star pattern and in stages.
Speaking of rotating tires, the dealer did mine using the "modified X pattern." Anyone know what this is?
I think you move the front tires to the rear without swapping sides. Bring the rear tires to the front but cross them over. eg. drivers side rear to passenger side front.

Redshift said:
I think you move the front tires to the rear without swapping sides. Bring the rear tires to the front but cross them over. eg. drivers side rear to passenger side front.

Thanks Redshift. I knew someone out there would know. :)
PS I think most of this info is on the little instruction sheet for changing flat tires on the tool bag.........
The correct pattern for rotating the tires is in the owners manual. I can never remember which way I'm supposed to do it and have to read the manual.
One way to remember the pattern for rotating tires is to think of the rear wheels continueing their roll forward and hopping on the front. And at some point they get crossed. Which leaves the front to go diagonally back. I did the pattern that RedShift noted on my old New Yorker. I thought I knew what I was doing and didn't look at the manual. Boy was I wrong. Drivability and steering were terrible and the noise. Man!!! I couldn't get them changed fast enough. I had to swap the front tires. I thought I tore something up. It was also front-wheel drive. I don't know if that had anything to do with it.
140 ft lbs. is correct for 2500's, that may not be correct for the 1500. The owners manual will have the correct amount.
140 ft/lbs is the correct lug nut torque for both 1500 and 2500 Avs.
You guys are awesome!! I was redirected to this thread after posting about 3 hrs ago. Thanks for the info. I'm glad I didn't try to pry the covers off. I wonder why the manual doesn't give that info? :cautious:

'03 DK Gray Metallic Z-71​
Steelheadchaser said:
140 ft/lbs is the correct lug nut torque for both 1500 and 2500 Avs.

Does one really need a torque wrench? I think that the oil plug calls for a specific torque, and the lugs are supposed to be torqued. I do change my oil & rotate, but I don't do engine work... do I really need one?

If so, how good of one do I need? It seems they can be had for $30 to way too much...

Allen42 said:
Does one really need a torque wrench?
A torque wrench really helps. Without it, you may be getting some lugs on too tight, and others not enough. This uneven tightness will cause stress in the wheels and the brake rotors, and is a significant cause of warped rotors. When they warp, you will feel it as a pulsation or shimmy whenever you hit the brakes.

Also, when anyone else takes off or puts a wheel on your vehicles, as soon as you get home loosten the nuts and re-torque them to the right tightness. Most shops just use their air impact wrench and tighten them until they don't go no more. This is rarely the right torque. This is a big cause of warped rotors. Never use an air impact wrench to tighten your lugs!

For the oil plug it is less important. You want it tight enough that it doesn't leak, but not so tight that you strip the threads.

If so, how good of one do I need?
If you're going to do a lot of engine work, especially removing cylinder heads and other critical parts, then spend the money and get a good wrench. And keep it tuned up and calibrated. But if you're mainly using it for tires, you can save some money and get a less expensive model. For tightening lug nuts, a simple beam type wrench will do fine. This is the type where the shaft flexes and has a pointer to a scale. They are slightly trickier to use than the type that click when you reach the right torque, but there is a lot less that can go wrong with them.

Whatever you do, get one that can go up past 140 ft-lbs. My old wrench only goes up to 145, and I wish it had a little more headroom. I bought that one when the highest lug nut torque I had to deal with was 95 ft-lbs.

-- SS
You really should be using a torque wrench on your wheels. If you don't plan on pulling your wheels for rotation , brakes, etc. you can get by without one. If you get a flat for instance, you can stop by a garage or gas station and have them check your torque. However, if you are rotating your own wheels, you should definitely be using one.

Every threaded fastener has a torque setting, based on it's material, what it is threaded into, size, thread count, grade of fastener and whether it is put together with or without some type of lubricant on the thread. As a fastener is being torqued down, it is stretched. That stretching is what keeps it from vibrating loose. Torque settings are known values for a specific fastener. In some super-critical applications, fasteners are tightened to achieve the measured (by length) optimal stretch.

Box and open-end wrench sets typically are different lengths, the larger the bolt, the longer the wrench. This is to minimize the chance of stripping the threads by getting too much mechanical advantage. While a "seasoned wrench" can go by feel in many cases, those of us that don't make a living with tools are more apt to get it wrong. The two possible outcomes are a nut or bolt that eventually vibrates loose, or stripped threads.

Just as important as the proper torque, is the proper sequence of the tightening. This is to insure that surfaces are properly seated and remain flat. This information can be found in the owners manual or a service manual.
Believe it or not, I had to search for this info, to see how to get the center caps off. And, eventually the wheels. I didn't know. :-[

This has been sitting idle for over a year. So, I thought I'd reply to bring this info to the front, for other new owners, that can't quite decipher the manual. Yeah, I know RTFM :2:. But, the 02 manual isn't real clear :E:.

Thanks, to Rainman0901 for asking first. And, to the others that provided the answers.


:love: :B:

I got away with one, I helped put my AR Mojave wheels on and it didn't register that we didn't use a standard lug wrench. When I switched them to the new '04 Z71 I added a breaker bar and deepwell socket to my jack kit. I put 1,200 miles on the wheels before I decided trade up and I didn't have OnStar on the Niagara trip with the '02. I have to use a thin wall socket since my lugs are recessed into the wheel.