How to get a Stripped Lug Nut Off a Tire

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Tires are of course an important part of any car, truck, or bike. They keep us moving and provide traction when we need it the most. But what do you do when a lug nut on one of your tires gets stripped? Read on and learn how to get a stripped lug nut off a tire/

Lug nuts are essential to tightening a tire onto a car’s axle. However, if they become stripped, it can be a major headache and if loose, can even cause an accident. So, how to get a stripped lug nut off a tire?

Well not to worry as we will cover the various methods of how to do just that in this article. Not only that, but we will also talk about some of the types of lug nuts you may encounter and the type of stripped nuts you will encounter.

Conventional Lug Nuts vs. Lug Bolts

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Dorman 611-005 M12-1.25 Wheel Bolt - 19mm Hex, 23mm Thread Length Compatible with Select Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep Models, 5 Pack (OE Fix)

The difference between the two is in the name itself as you will see:

Lug nuts are the most common type of lug fastener on passenger vehicles. They are small, round nuts with a hexagonal or square socket drive pattern that is used to secure a wheel to the hub. To use them, one would simply hold the lug wrench against the flats on the nut and turn.

Lug bolts, on the other hand, have a bolt head with either six or eight facets and can even be tightened with a wrench. On certain European and luxury vehicles, lug bolts are the standard type of lug fastener. They are screwed into the wheel instead of being bolted on. 

Why Lug Nuts Won’t Come Off

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You might be wondering, what even is a stripped lug nut? A stripped lug nut is one that has been damaged to the point where it can no longer be used to tighten or loosen the wheel. This happens when the lug nut facets become rounded off or the bolt is damaged to the point where a tool can no longer grip it.

If you’re ever in this situation, don’t worry as there are several ways to get that stripped lug nut off but let’s take a look at how to recognize a stripped lug nut in the first place.

1. Stripped or Rounded Off

The most common giveaway that a lug nut is stripped is if it becomes difficult or impossible to loosen with a lug wrench. You may also notice that the surface of the lug nut is rounded off which means that you won’t be able to grip it with a socket or wrench. It will continue to slip or turn without budging no matter how much force you apply.

2. Seized

A seized lug nut is one that has been corroded or has excessive grime and oil built upon it to the point where it becomes frozen onto the wheel. This can sometimes when driving in extremely muddy and dirty conditions which allow the mud and dirt to cake on and inside the lug nut and wheel making it very difficult to remove.

3. Rusted

Another common problem that can strip a lug nut is rust. If a lug nut isn’t regularly lubricated with a corrosion-inhibiting product, it will eventually start to rust. Once the lug nut has rusted, it becomes very difficult to remove as the rust will have caused it to become seized onto the wheel. Certain conditions such as wet climates and coastal areas with high levels of humidity in the air can also cause lug nuts to rust very quickly.

Also Read: How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Wheel Bearing?

How To Get A Stripped Lug Nut Off A Tire?

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When a lug nut is stripped, it means that the socket Drive Pattern on the nut has been damaged to the point where it can no longer be used to tighten or loosen the wheel. There are a few ways to get that stripped lug nut off: 

Required Tools

  • Hammer
  • Breaker bar, socket, and pipe
  • WD-40
  • Powerful impact wrench
  • Safety glasses
  • Drill and Drill bits

Steps to follow:

Read the following instructions on how to remove a stripped lug nut off a tire before attempting any of the methods and put on your safety glasses. 

1. Breaker Bar, Socket, and Pipe

If the lug nut is seized, try spraying it with WD-40 or another penetrating oil and let it sit for a few minutes. The oil will help to loosen the corrosion and grime built up on the lug nut. Now, use a breaker bar, socket, and pipe to apply more force to the lug nut in order to break it free. If that doesn’t do the trick then use a hammer and pipe to hit the breaker bar onto the socket. This will help to create more force and might be enough to break the lug nut-free.

2. Powerful Impact Wrench

A good old-fashioned impact wrench can do the trick in breaking a seized lug nut-free. Again, spray the lug nut with some WD-40 to help loosen it up and then attach the impact wrench. Hit the power button and let the tool do its job. You may need to use a socket adapter to fit the lug nut onto the end of the wrench.

3. Drill

Usually, the last resort, using a drill can help to remove a stripped lug nut. Drill into the center of the lug nut until the drill bit breaks through the other side. Now use a hammer and chisel to pry the lug nut off. Be very careful in doing this as you don’t want to damage the wheel.


Most of the steps and methods mentioned are simple enough for a do-it-yourselfer to follow as they do provide the general gist of what is needed without going into too much detail as you will also need to use some of your own intuition and judgment when it comes to these sorts of tasks. Remember to always use caution when working with tools and machinery as accidents can happen if you’re not careful.

If you’re feeling uncomfortable or unsure about any of the steps, it’s always best to bring your car into a professional mechanic. They will have the right tools and knowledge to get the job done safely and quickly. Thank you for reading!

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