How to remove stubborn lug nut...


Old 01-12-07, 08:26 PM
WGW is offline
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How to remove stubborn lug nut...

I wanted to inspect the rear brakes on my Dakota.
Five of the six lug nuts loosened ok but the sixth is stubborn to the point that I broke two socket wrenches and bent the tire iron trying to get it loose. A local garage gave it a try (warning me that it may break off, which I was ok with so long as it's off), but they ended up giving up, saying they'd need to "torch it" and might ruin the rim in the process. In trying, they've pretty well rounded out the nut!

Now....this tire has developed a slow leak, so I HAVE to get this resolved!
My question;
Are the wheel studs hardend, or can I drill it out and replace?
Any other suggestions are welcomed..

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Old 01-13-07, 01:07 AM
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Haven't ever tried to drill out a lug. Don't know how well it would work.

Depending upon how rounded the nut is, I would get a socket designed to remove stripped (rounded) nuts if needed.

While you are looking for one. I would spray the lug with penetrating oil several times and let it soak.

Then when you are ready to remove the nut, use a high temp heat source (acetylene torch ) with a small tip. Shield the wheel as best as possible and heat directly on the end of the stud until it reddens. Spray with a penetrant(use caution. some penetrating fluids are flammable and will ignite doing this). I would repeat this step a time or two and then heat it up one more time and remove the nut.

You must absolutely replace the stud and nut after doing this.
Old 01-13-07, 03:45 AM
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We always used an air hammer and chiseled them off. Never had one that beat us.
Old 01-13-07, 07:42 AM
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I would think that would work mattison but especially with aluminum rims, I would be hesitant due to the ease which a rim can be damaged I can see it working but should be done with a LOT of care to avoid damaging the wheel.
Old 01-13-07, 08:50 AM
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If it was mine I would take a Dremel to it, just grind a slot in the nut and end with a hammer and chisel.
Old 01-13-07, 09:47 AM
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Nap has the right idea; any decent tire shop should have a female easy-out impact socket for removing rounded off nuts.
Old 01-13-07, 12:00 PM
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Irwin makes a set of that type of "rounded nut taker offers" They're about $18.00 - Home Depot.

Another two cents - On an aluminum or alloy wheel that has been tightened when the wheel was cool and trying to take off when warm, the expansion of the metal can seize the nut at the mating of the nut to the wheel, especially with a conular nut.

Two things I've had work. First tighten the nuts on either side of the maverick nut. Then try the offending nut.

Second - dry ice the wheel around the nut. The metal shrinks and allows the nut to be removed.

Be sure to use a torque wrench when you put the wheels back on. Over torquing creates nut removal problems.

Hope this helps,

Old 01-14-07, 08:05 AM
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I qualify supplier wheel bolts for a living. Wheel studs are 32-35 Rockwell "C" core hardness with a very thin and slight case. This hardness is about the limit for regular drills before going to cobalt or titanium nitride drills. I'm a big fan of using a dremel whenever possible in these situations, but wheel studs have a lot of "meat" to deal with.

It's a shame they rounded the nut. I have a set of sockets that I've been using for 32 years. Any of these sockets will shear off a nut or bolt before rounding the head. I've sheared off frozen wheel bolts this way. Perhaps you should upgrade your toolbox to impact sockets. Lifetime warranty on a socket is meaningless if you know you're going to break it (and the next one) on a job.

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