Lug nuts are what keep your wheels and tires attached to the axles of your car. They are nut fasteners that secure the wheels to a series of threaded wheel studs. They also keep out moisture and debris from getting into the hub assembly.
All lug nuts have caps on them. If you attempt to remove lug nuts using the wrong-sized socket wrench, you could end up stripping the edges of the caps. Then it will be difficult to remove the lug nuts because the socket wrench won’t be able to grip onto the nuts to rotate them. In addition, moisture could make its way through the gap between the cap and the lug nuts.
You’ll need to remove the stripped lug nuts and replace them with new lug nuts. The problem is that you cannot remove the stripped lug nuts as easily as you can remove healthy lug nuts. You’ll need to implement extra steps and techniques to remove them.
Below are the six tips to remove stripped lug nuts from your car tires and wheels.
1) Use Lug Nut Extractor Tool Socket (Recommended)
The recommended way to remove striped lug nuts is using the lug nut extractor tool. This tool is a special socket designed to extract damaged and stripped lug nuts from the wheels of a vehicle. and you can choose the socket from recommended brands below:
- ROCKETSOCKET | Made in USA
- IRWIN HANSON Lugnut Extractor Set, 5-Piece (54125)
- ABN Twist Socket Set Lug Nut Remover Extractor Tool
- Astro Pneumatic Tool 7404
- Twist Socket Set (5 Piece)
2) Gather the Necessary Tools
The first step is to gather the necessary tools and accessories to perform the job. You’ll need a breaker bar, penetrating oil (WD-40), lug nut extractor, socket wrench set, power impact wrench, hammer, pipe, and drill bit. Since there are several different ways to remove stripped lug nuts, you might not need to use every tool and accessory listed.
However, some removal methods might work better for you than others. We’ll go over the standard removal method and mention some alternative steps to take if the first step doesn’t work.
3) Add Oil to the Lug Nuts
The lug nuts will probably have rust on them. You need to add oil to the lug nuts to loosen the rust. Add lots of oil to ensure the rust softens and loosens appropriately. Let the oil soak into the rust for about 24 hours or so. Then come back with the hammer and knock off as much of the rust as you can.
4) Use a Small Socket to Loosen the Lug Nuts
Stripped lug nuts have deteriorated edges, which means the lug nuts are technically smaller than their original size. Therefore, you cannot use the same size socket wrench that you might have used before on them. You’ll have to downsize and use a smaller socket wrench to grip the stripped lug nuts.
If you have trouble fitting the smaller socket wrench over the stripped lug nuts, tap the wrench with a hammer to make it fit more securely. Once you succeed, attach the breaker bar to the socket and attempt to remove the lug nuts. If you need more leverage, then you can put the pipe at the very end of the bar. The lug nuts should come loose at this point.
5) Use a Power Wrench if the Previous Method Fails
If you still cannot remove the stripped lug nuts, then it’s time to upgrade to a more advanced tool. Grab the power impact wrench, which is a power tool that runs on electricity. It should be able to deliver at least 250 foot-pounds of torque. That should be plenty of power to remove a stubborn lug nut.
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6) Use a Drill as a Last Resort
Some experts might tell you to use a blowtorch or air chisel if you cannot remove the lug nuts any other way. But these methods are dangerous because you could end up damaging the wheel if you’re inexperienced at performing such tasks. That is why we recommend that you use a drill instead.
Use small drill bits and target the middle of each lug nut. Start by making a small indentation in the middle. Now use a slightly larger size drill bit and add some oil lubricant to it. Drill the middle area until you make a small hole there. Do this to all the lug nuts.