How to Remove Stuck Lug Nut

How to Remove Stuck Lug Nut

When attempting to remove a wheel from the car, it is not unusual to discover a stripped or stuck lug nut. To avoid difficulties, you must learn how to remove a lug nut that is stuck or stripped. Depending on the circumstance, you can select from a variety of approaches. In an average vehicle (some models only have four), each wheel will most likely contain five lug nuts (or bolts). The most significant fasteners on your car may be these twenty. That’s because you will undoubtedly have a very distressing experience if five of them on any wheel break or come off while you’re driving.

How to Remove Stuck Lug Nut

Well, in this article, we’ll be looking at how to remove a stuck lug nut. Nevertheless, we’ll be discussing the answers to the following questions:

  • What causes a stuck lug nut?
  • How to remove a stuck lug nut?
  • How to prevent lug nuts from getting stripped or stuck?

Read more: How to Remove a Stuck Wheel

Alright, let’s dive in!


What causes a stuck or stripped lug nut?

The most common causes of a stuck or stripped lug nut include:

  • Corrosion and rust
  • Inappropriate torque
  • Use of a wrong Socket

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Corrosion and rust

The lug nuts on the wheel are made of metal. These may corrode and rust if they are exposed to the weather and moisture. After corrosion sets in, the lug nut threads deform. It is harder to take them off as the shape changes.

Inappropriate torque

Every lug nut should be torqued to the factory-set level. The service manual contains this torque measurement. You risk having the lug nut get stuck if you torque it too tightly. You shouldn’t go to a shady tire store just for this reason.

Use of a wrong Socket

You need the correct size socket in order to remove the lug nut effectively. If you don’t, you’ll experience slippage when removing it. The socket slipping causes additional damage. Even if you manage to pull it off this time, you will find it harder to do so in the future. It can be worthwhile to try a new, high-quality socket instead if you’re using a really old, worn-out, or subpar socket. In the future, this will also stop problems from arising again.

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How to remove a stuck lug nut?

With the exception of what is mentioned below, the loosening procedure will normally be the same whether the lug nut is stripped, rounded off, or seized as a result of corrosion or excessive tightening. Start by placing the car flat on the ground, without any jack supports or other support. Set the emergency brake firmly and make sure the transmission is in Park or in gear. By taking these precautions, you can avoid the wheels from turning as you work to remove the screws.

You’ll need a Power drill (corded or cordless both work), 5/64-inch and 7/64-inch drill bits (cobalt bits work best), Penetrating Oil (like WD-40 or Kano Aerokroil), Drilling lubricant, such as Three-in-One oil, safety goggles, a 1/2′′ drive 6-pt socket with the appropriate lug nut size or one that is just a little bit smaller, a lug nut extractor set (if necessary), a 1/2′′ drive breaker bar, and either a floor jack or a 3-foot section of pipe (to slide over the breaker bar).

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Once you have everything on hand, here’s how to remove it:

  • Drill, then add penetrating oil.
  • Use a lug nut extractor or “Snug” socket.
  • Use a breaker bar to loosen.
  • Complete wheel removal.

Drill, then add penetrating oil

First, a penetrating oil must be applied to the nut and stud. To help get the oil into the threads of a nut with a closed head, drill the closed head. You will require premium drill bits, such as cobalt alloy steel drills in 5/64″ and 7/64″ sizes, to accomplish this. Since these small drills are so simple to break, purchase two of them. A lubricant will be advantageous during drilling.  For this job, Three-in-One oil or its similar will do. Keep a cup of cold water close by as well. Put your safety glasses on now. To create a dimple in the lug nut center, use a center punch and hammer.

Use the smaller drill bit to start drilling. Apply oil to the bit’s tip. Use two hands to hold the drill motor steady. Drill at an extremely slow speed. Avoid bending the drill bit; doing so will quickly cause it to break. Frequently stop drilling, especially if smoke comes from the oil. To cool the hot part, submerge it in the water. Reapply oil to the bit and hole after wiping away any chips. Repeat this procedure until the bit pierces the stud’s top. Repeat the aforementioned drilling process after installing the 7/64′′ bit in the drill motor.

Because the bit can decide to erratically grip in the hole and twist the drill, hold the drill motor tightly. Drill through once more to reach the stud’s top. Now that you have access to a reservoir, soak the nut and stud with WD-40 or a comparable product. To catch any back spray, insert the WD-40 tube into the hole and wrap it with a shop (or paper) towel at the nut surface. Add a little of this lubricant to the hole. Spray WD-40 all around the lug nut’s base as well. If you have the time, let the penetrating lubricant soak all night.

The nut will then be more easily released as a result. The following morning, add one more squirt to the nut’s hole and base. The application of WD-40 will not help corroded lug bolts. The lug bolt threads are hardly inaccessible when the wheel is on.

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Use a lug nut extractor or “Snug” socket

Choose a 1/2′′ drive 6-point socket that fits the nut or bolt snugly. You might need a deep socket. It is possible for a highly rusted fastener to become worn down to the point that a one-size smaller socket (or smaller SAE equivalent for a metric lug nut; or smaller metric equivalent for an SAE lug nut) can be tapped on with a hammer. Occasionally, a 12-point socket one size smaller will tap into the rusty hex shape and grip fairly effectively.

Use of an extractor socket could be required if the nut or bolt head is too worn to fit a regular socket or has taken on a rounded form. You can buy an appropriate lug nut extractor set online or at a reputable auto parts retailer, such as one made by Irwin (best) or ABN (good). Use a socket size that fits the hex shape snugly, and then hammer it in. You can reduce the chance of damaging your expensive alloy wheel by pressing a short hardwood dowel against the socket while hammering.

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Use a breaker bar to loosen

Use a 1/2-inch drive breaker bar that is ideally between 18 and 24 inches long. If using a floor jack, insert it into the socket so that the handle extends horizontally and is in a position to be lifted upward to loosen the nut or pushed downward if not. Place the breaker bar to the left of the nut at an upward angle of about 10 degrees. To remove the nut, apply downward pressure. Step safely onto the pipe to provide force using your weight.

For stability, hold to the side of your car. If the bar and socket pop off the lug nut or the nut suddenly breaks free, proceed with extreme caution to prevent slipping off the pipe or falling. You can move the bar so that turning the lug nut requires lifting the pipe. Put on some leather gloves to help you hold things more firmly. Don’t overdo it because lifting in this manner can be difficult for your back.

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Complete wheel removal

Loosen the other lug nuts. Now that the car is adequately supported, you can jack it up, remove all of the bolts, and then the wheel.

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How to prevent lug nuts from getting stripped or stuck?

To prevent lug nuts from getting stripped or stuck, you can take the following measures:

  • Use anti-seize lubricant: Applying a small amount of anti-seize lubricant to the threads can help prevent the lug nuts from getting stuck. However, be sure to use only a small amount as too much lubricant can cause the lug nuts to loosen over time.
  • Use the correct size socket or wrench: Ensure that you are using the correct size socket or wrench that fits the lug nuts on your vehicle. Using a socket or wrench that is too big or too small can lead to the lug nuts getting stripped or damaged.
  • Use the right amount of torque: Use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts to the manufacturer’s recommended torque specification. Overtightening or under-tightening can cause problems.
  • Clean the threads: Before reinstalling the lug nuts, clean the threads on both the studs and the nuts to ensure a proper fit. If the threads are dirty or rusty, use a wire brush to clean them.
  • Check the lug nuts regularly: Regularly check the torque of the lug nuts and inspect them for any signs of wear or damage. If you notice any problems, replace the lug nuts immediately.

By following these tips, you can help prevent your lug nuts from getting stripped or stuck, which can save you time and money in the long run.

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How do you loosen a lug nut that won’t budge?

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Why are lug nuts hard to remove?

Every time you bring your automobile to the mechanic, they will utilize air-powered instruments to loosen and tighten the lug nuts. The lug nuts have a propensity to be over-torqued when they are tightened using an air-powered tool. Because of this, if you do not have that equipment, it is really challenging to loosen them yourself.

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Will lug nuts loosen themselves?

Wheel bolts never loosen on their own unless they are correctly tightened.

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What tool is used to loosen lug nuts?

Lug wrenches are specialized socket wrenches used to tighten or loosen a lug nut, which is most frequently encountered on tires. They are often kept in the trunk of a car in case of an emergency, like a flat tire, but experienced mechanics who use the equipment frequently also find them to be quite helpful.

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What is best for removing lug nuts?

Get a cross-shaped lug wrench for better leverage while removing lug nuts. It performs superior to the L-shaped tire iron that most likely arrived with your car. Wheel chocks: While jacking up your car, these wedge-shaped blocks keep the wheels from moving unintentionally.

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What happens if lug nuts are over-tightened?

Lug nuts that are overly tightened risk stripping the threads, warping braking rotors, harming the wheel, and even shearing off the lug stud.

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Is it OK to hand-tighten lug nuts?

Do not try to. If you must change a flat on the side of the road, use a lug wrench only as a temporary solution. You need to properly tighten those lug nuts as quickly as possible!

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How often should lug nuts be replaced?

The lug nuts may need to be replaced every five to fifteen years, depending on the type of vehicle and its age. On most automobiles, lug nuts or lug bolts can be purchased for $2 to $7 or $8 per piece.

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Do lug nuts need lubrication?

However, experts advise against using any kind of lubricant, even anti-seize compound, on wheel studs or nuts. Tire Rack’s technical staff states: “Torque specifications are only for dry threads. There should be no corrosion, grit, oil, or other debris on the fastener threads. It is crucial to avoid lubricating the threads or seats of the hardware.

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Is it OK to lubricate lug nuts?

Never allow any lubricant to touch the nut’s mating surfaces or the wheel’s lughole. When torque is applied properly, mating surfaces rather than threads make up the majority of the “stickiness” that results.

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What damages lug nuts?

The issue arises when water seeps into the area between the steel lug nut holding the wheel to the car and the attractive chrome cap. This scenario gets worse with the use of road salt and other chemical ice-melting agents. Corrosion and rust grow and accumulate between the two different parts.

That is all for this article, where we discussed the answers to the following questions:

  • What causes a stuck lug nut?
  • How to remove a stuck lug nut?
  • How to prevent lug nuts from getting stripped or stuck?

We hope it was helpful. If so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!