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Wheel Alignment and Balancing

How do you remove a stuck lug nut to remove the wheel?


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2011-09-13 06:15:38
2011-09-13 06:15:38

I'm assuming "take it to a tire shop" is not an option for some reason.

1. Put something like Liquid Wrench on it. This includes the threads and the base. Tap with a hammer (tap, not beat), let sit ten minutes, try to remove with your regular lug wrench. 1a. Put more liquid wrench on it and let it sit for a few hours.

If that doesn't work, try 2. Get a better lug wrench. A four-way is MUCH better than the "L" shaped wrench that comes with the car. 2a. Get some pipe that fits over the ends of your four-way, so you can get a longer lever for more torque. Step on the left side while lifting the right.

If that doesn't work, try 3. Borrow a 1/2 drive air impact wrench.

If that doesn't work, try 4. Heat the nut with a torch. A propane torch will probably work, but an oxy-acetylene will have a higher probability of success. Keep the heat just on the nut. Yeah, all the oil you put on it earlier will burn off and make a big stink. But when you heat the nut it will expand faster than the stud inside, loosening the nut. Try to take it off with your better lug wrench and/or impact wrench.

By this point, that trip to the tire shop ought to be looking like a pretty smart choice. Even if you have to tow it.

!! If you're going to try a torch with a magnesium or aluminum wheel, don't trust someone blabbering on the internet, find someone who really knows what he's doing. You could damage the very expensive wheel or kill yourself (no, I'm not kidding.) Or maybe even ruin your car. Both materials have melting points way below what you can achieve with a regular propane torch, and magnesium can catch fire. Even if you don't visibly melt the aluminum, you could very easily ruin the temper of the metal, leaving it much weaker than it was before. !!

If that doesn't work, you could try 5. See if you can get a nut splitter on it. This is a tool that you can put over a nut, then tighten it to drive a wedge into the nut, splitting it in half.

If that doesn't work, 6. You're probably talking cutting torch, which will probably damage the stud, but then the stud is probably already damaged. What I said earlier about mag and aluminum goes triple here.

The above answer covers pretty much anything you can do to take off a stuck lug nut but, if ur going to use an air impact wrench make sure u don't impact it more then a second or two because anything longer then that well break off the stud. trust me this happened to me today in my auto tech class in high school. And to replace the studs takes hardwork.

From New Reader:

To make a long story short, I had a nut that would not come off an aluminum wheel. I worked on it until I rounded the nut and even a nut extractor with impact wrench would not work.

I ground the nut flat with the wheel, took a center punch and marked the center of the stud (Hard Material). Then, with a "carbide bur" (Round Nose) and a high speed rotory tool (15,000-30,000 RPM) I ground into the Stud and Nut until there was almost no lug nut left hanging onto the stud threads. (Took about 10 minutes) (Hold firm with pressure toward nut. It will try to jump) Then with a punch and hammer on the center of the stud, I taped the stud, stripping the remaining threads and the wheel came loose.

Stud will need to be knocked out and replaced.

Hmm interesting but not the way I do it. As to Mickey Mouse 1/2" drive air wrenches most of them are so weak they are hardly worth bothering with. Some years ago I wanted to dismantle a jack hammer (precision items actually and very sensitive to dirt and rust). I drove my car on it to hold it down then used a 3/4" drive socket set with a scaffold pole for extra leverage. Car wasn't heavy enough! At the tyre fitters none of their air wrenches would look at it so I took the jackhammer to a heavy goods service station. First a 3/4" drive air wrench was tried but it was a waste of time. Luckily they had a 1" drive wrench which worked like magic. For wheel nuts those cheap 12 volt impact wrenches can be surpringly effective as they produce a lot more torque than the average 1/2" air wrench. If they last for a year of hobby use its money well spent. A portable spot welder is another way to crack tough nuts, 2 volts at 7000 amps or so makes a lot of heat, best of all the heat is concentrated in the nut so nothing else gets burnt. No expensive gas bottle rental agreements either! If one should ever get asked to "look at" a Porsche the problem is different. The nuts are aluminum and fit into deep holes in the alloy wheel. The actual nut is mushroom shaped and the "mushroom stalk" is hexagon shaped. When the hexagon rounds off one has a problem! Trying to drill away the nut won't be successful and the wheel will get damaged but with the correct size of holesaw the job is a snip. All that is needed is a holesaw that just clears the stud, Voila! Please note that heating studs or nuts up to red heat destroys the temper of the steel so in an ideal world they should be replaced. An alternative is to harden and temper the parts again. To harden heat to red then drop the part into old crankcase oil. To temper (reduce the hardness/brittleness) clean the parts until there is a shiny spot. Heat gently and quench in water when the correct oxide colour occurs. Blue with purple spots should be OK. Doing it this way one can re-use the parts, - very useful if one lives in the outback.

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Not aligning the threads up correctly and forcing the lug nut onto the wheel stud will strip the lug nut.

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The lug nuts are towards the center of the wheel.


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