How to Loosen Lug Nuts

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:11
Lug nuts are used to secure the wheel to the vehicle, and lug nuts need to be loosened and eventually removed any time you want to change a tire, access the brakes, and do a variety of other repairs on your vehicle. Learning to loosen and...
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Lug nuts are used to secure the wheel to the vehicle, and lug nuts need to be loosened and eventually removed any time you want to change a tire, access the brakes, and do a variety of other repairs on your vehicle. Learning to loosen and install lug nuts is an essential skill for anyone who drives a car; you never know when you might need to fix a flat. Fortunately, it's not that difficult to learn, and there are a number of tricks that can help you remove even difficult stuck-on lug nuts.

Things You Should Know

  • Park the car on a level surface with the parking brake on and remove the hubcap. Loosen lug nuts by turning a lug wrench counter-clockwise over each nut.
  • Get extra leverage with a breaker bar before loosening stuck lug nuts. Use your foot or a mallet to press down on the wrench or loosen nuts with oil.
  • Remove locked lugs with a wheel lock remover. If you had difficulty removing the lug nuts, use a torque wrench to replace them and ensure they’re attached tightly.
Method 1
Method 1 of 2:

Loosening Lug Nuts

  1. Step 1 Park the car on a level surface, and set the parking brake.
    • If the car has an automatic transmission, move the lever to P (park). If the car has a manual transmission, move the lever to R (reverse) or 1 (first gear).
  2. Watermark wikiHow to Loosen Lug Nuts
    Depending on your vehicle, the hubcap may need to be removed before you're able to access the lug nuts and loosen them. Hubcaps are usually either attached by metal clips, held on by the lug nuts themselves, or using plastic lugs.[1]
    • If your hubcaps clip on, pry them off using the flat end of the tire iron or a flathead screwdriver against a thick or solid part of the hubcap.
    • If your hubcaps are held on by the lug nuts, you'll only be able to remove them after you've removed the lug nuts entirely. If you try to remove them before doing so, you'll break them.
    • If your hubcaps screw on using plastic lugs, you'll need to remove these with a lug wrench (and avoid excessive force when reinstalling them to avoid breakage).
  3. Watermark wikiHow to Loosen Lug Nuts
    Turn the wrench after you've secured it onto one of the nuts, pulling hard until you feel the lug nut begin to loosen. You don't need to remove the lug nut entirely, just use the wrench to loosen it until it's loose enough to remove with your fingers.
  4. Watermark wikiHow to Loosen Lug Nuts
    It doesn't matter which nut you loosen first. Pick one, then continue moving around the bolts in a "star" pattern, skipping the lug nut adjacent to the one you just loosened. This pattern helps keep the wheel centered and is more important when you're installing the wheel. Still, it's a good habit to get into when you're loosening the bolts as well.
    • When all the bolts are loose, it's time to jack the car up, remove the lug nuts entirely, spinning them off by hand, and then remove the wheel to complete whatever project you've planned. If your project requires mores than just immediately replacing the wheel with the spare or a new wheel, you should put a frame stand under the car until the project is complete.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 2:

Loosening Stuck Lug Nuts

  1. Watermark wikiHow to Loosen Lug Nuts
    If you're stuck with nothing else to use and your arms are not strong enough to loosen the lug nut, you can use your stronger leg muscles to get the loosening process started. Be careful, though, if you must do this.
    • Attach the lug wrench to the nut securely, and arrange the handle at an angle nearly parallel to the ground. Carefully, use one foot to press down on the lug wrench, turning it counter-clockwise. Use your leg and push hard. Brace yourself against the car and stand on the wrench, bouncing gently, if necessary. When it loosens, stop and use the wrench as normal.
    • Be extremely careful if you're going to try to do this. It's not a trampoline. Don't stomp your foot onto the wrench or jump up and down. Keep your foot in contact with the wrench at all times and let your weight do the work.
  2. Watermark wikiHow to Loosen Lug Nuts
    If you don't have access to any pipe to extend the length of the handle, it might be time to get primitive. Using a rubber mallet or a hammer to pound on the handle of the lug wrench can be an effective way of loosening particularly stuck-on lug nuts in an emergency. If you're stuck on the side of the highway, it might be your only option. If you're without a hammer at all, a rock or another heavy object could also work.[3]
    • Be extremely careful to avoid glancing blows if you're going to try to hammer at the bar of the lug wrench. Use short, controlled strikes with the mallet and stop after a few to see if you've loosened it enough to use another method.
  3. Watermark wikiHow to Loosen Lug Nuts
    (Use this only as a last resort.) If you're struggling against more than over-tightening, it might be helpful to spray a small to moderate amount of penetrating oil such as PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench directly on the stud threads where they disappear inside the lug nut. Use the thin straw like tube that came with the penetrating oil to apply the penetrant accurately and try to avoid overspray which may get on the brake drum or rotor. Let the penetrant sit for about ten minutes to work its way across the threads and loosen things up a bit.[4]
    • If the lug nut is still stubborn, try one more spritz of a light, directed spray to the surface of the threaded stud exactly where the threads start to disappear inside the lug nut. Let this sit for another ten minutes and check the results. The solid impact of moderate taps by a mallet on the lug wrench may now have an effect.
    • Be sure that your brake discs and drums are free from oil before driving the car again. Oil on these surfaces is a serious safety hazard as it may lead to brake failure, increased stopping distances, and accidents. Clean the metal brake surfaces of the rotor or drum with a clean cloth and suitable solvent such as acetone. If you have saturated the brake pads with penetrating oil, it is best to replace the pads or consult a certified mechanic.
    • If you have gotten oil on the brake surfaces, test the brakes at low speed and in the absence of traffic to gauge the stopping power. Test at higher and higher speeds until you are comfortable with the results. Remember to give other drivers of the vehicle a heads up that the car may not stop as quickly as in the past and have them test the new braking capabilities too.
  4. Watermark wikiHow to Loosen Lug Nuts
    If you've lost the key to your locked lugs, you may be able to remove them with a special socket head designed to remove locks. Featuring reverse threads, these heads are great for biting into the lock and loosening it without the need for the key to remove it. These heads are also great for removing rounded-off lug nuts that might be difficult to remove. These are available online and at most auto parts stores.
    • To use a wheel lock remover, snap it onto the end of your socket wrench and lock it into place. Use the breaker bar to turn the locked lug counter-clockwise as normal. It should come loose with some effort.
  5. Watermark wikiHow to Loosen Lug Nuts
    If you struggled to get your lug nuts off because of over-tightening on the previous tire-change, take care to tighten them to the proper specifications this time by using a torque wrench.[5] Check your owner’s manual to see what the recommended torque is for your tires, then set your torque wrench to the proper specifications on the side of the wrench, then lock it into place with the locking collar. Additionally, tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern. Do it twice to make sure all the lug nets are tight.
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  • Never put oil or grease on the lug nuts before you tighten them. It will cause you to use too much torque, and they will become difficult to remove.
    Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1

Things You'll Need

  • Lug wrench
  • Rubber mallet
  • Penetrating oil (optional)

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