Removing Stripped Lug Nuts

Working on a tire.
What You'll Need
Sockets of different sizes

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to change your tire, and realizing that your lug nuts are stripped. However, don't get discouraged quite yet. There are ways you can still remove those lug nuts. Sometimes it isn't that they are stripped as much as they are special lug nuts, or you're employing the wrong wrench.

There is a chance that you will not be able to remove the lug nuts on your own. Don't despair though, following the instructions below step by step will help ensure this is the last time you will run into this same problem, with the same set of lug nuts.

Step 1 - Check the Lug Nuts

There have been cases when a car owner believes the lug nuts are stripped, when in fact, that is not the case. There are specialized lug nuts on certain types of cars that will usually need a special keyed socket to release, as well as there being different size sockets for different size lug nuts. Just to be sure, check it out one more time. If you are using the correct socket, go on to step number two. Also, be certain you are turning the socket in the proper direction to loosen the lug nuts and not tighten them.

Step 2 - Lubricate

Now that you have determined the lug nuts are stripped, try lubrication. Use a lubricant, such as WD-40, and apply it generously to the lug nuts and threaded portion of wheel studs. This should make the lug nuts a little easier to turn, and will loosen them up a bit.

Step 3 - Call a Professional

Unfortunately, there aren't a million things that can be done to try and get stripped lug nuts off your wheel. If you have made sure that they are stripped, and using a different sockets won't help, and you have put a very liberal amount of lubrication all over the lug nuts and wheel studs, and tried that way, you may just have to call in reinforcements.

There have been cases where dealerships have put the wrong lug nuts on the wrong car wheels. This will take specialized tools and usually a trained professional to remove them. Incorrect lug nuts can fuse to the wheel. In this situation, the only way they are coming off is with specialized tools, and time and patience.

If it is a problem with incorrect lug nuts, the problem shouldn't repeat itself as a good mechanic will resolve it, and make sure it doesn't happen again.