We love Porsche. We love their strict adherence to rear-engine goodness in the 911, their return to natural aspiration, and their sleek beautiful design, never straying far from the timeless curves of their classic roots. However, those center-lock wheels can be a pain. Here’s how you can change them at home.

For this job, you’ll need:

  • Center cap removal tool, usually included with your 6-figure race car
  • Center lock socket, also included
  • 1/2" Breaker Bar
  • 1/2" Torque wrench
  • Wheel chocks
  • Jack and Jack stands
  • Low-profile wheel ramps
  • Towel
  • Spreader Clamp
  • High-temperature aluminum paste/grease
  • Gloves for said grease

With everything gathered, let’s get started.

1. First, Jack up Your Car
The general rule is this: If you’re getting under the car, definitely use jack stands. However, we recommend jack stands for a job like this, as well. They’re simply more stable than a jack. Many Porsches are extremely ridgid. When you jack up the rear of the car, the front will likely come off the ground, too. So it’s a good idea to chock the wheels on the opposite side of the car before you lift. If your car is too low for the jack (not unlikely with track-focused Porsches), a pair of low-profile wheel ramps under the rear tires will do the trick.

2. Remove the Center Caps
The car should come with a tool for this. Hook the tool under the cap and pull.

3. Remove the Big ‘Ol Center Lock
Use your center-lock socket attachment and turn the lock counterclockwise. You’ll probably need a breaker bar. After a few turns, it will spin off by hand.

4. Carefully Remove the Wheel
The wheel will come right off at this point, but be careful when you unseat it not to drop it on your caliper or rotor, which could chip with the impact. 

5. Inspect the Center Lock
Look for pitting or gauging on the hub-face. The grease band on the hub should be at least 10mm wide, showing an even contact patch. Check the grease bands on the lock and wheel for the same consistency. 

6. Get Greasy
Lubricate the seats on the wheel and the bolt with your aluminum grease. Use a moderate, even amount. 

7. Replace the Wheel and Lock
Slide the wheel on. The lock has a rubber ring to hold out moisture, so be careful not to damage it. Run the lock down by hand until the center lock engages, then use the lock socket attachment and torque it to a whopping 440 lb-ft. Be careful not to scratch the body with the end of your torque wrench as you tighten the lock, which may take a few turns. Once you feel that satisfying click, the wheel is on, but you’re not quite done yet. Loosen the lock by about 60 degrees, then retorque. 

Make sure the locking mechanism still pushes in easily and is flush with the seat on the lock.

Snap the center cap back on. Note that it only installs in one position.  

8. The Front Wheels are a Little Different
But not much. When you loosen/tighten the rear wheels, the parking brake keeps them from rotating. With the front wheels, you’ll either need someone to stand on the brake pedal, or you can brace it down with a spreader clamp running from the pedal to the seat. It is recommended that you do this with the engine running to take advantage of the vacuum booster.

If you use a spreader clamp, you can lay a towel across the seat to keep from contacting the fabric with the clamp surface. 

Once the brake is depressed, you can turn off the car and go about the process you used on the rear wheels.

People say you can’t work on German cars in your own garage, and Porsche would probably agree with them, but it is possible with the right know-how. Enjoy your trunk-engined track days, and check Zohr’s How-To section often for more tech tips.

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