How To Loosen Over Tighten Lug Nuts? new for 2022

How to loosen over tighten lug nuts?

When you’re driving and one of your lug nuts becomes over tightened, it can be very dangerous. Not only is it hard to steer the car, but if you keep driving on them like that they can eventually break off.

How To Loosen Over Tighten Lug Nuts?
How To Loosen Over Tighten Lug Nuts?

In this article, we’ll provide you detailed steps to loosen over tighten lug nuts. Let’s explore together!


How To Loosen Over Tighten Lug Nuts?

How To Loosen Over Tighten Lug Nuts
How To Loosen Over Tighten Lug Nuts

Loosening Lug Nuts

Set the parking brake and park the automobile on a level surface

Locate the lug nuts and remove the hubcap (if any)

The most difficult part of removing your vehicle’s hubcaps may be finding the lug nuts, since they are sometimes covered by an extended cap. The majority of hubcaps are secured with metal clips, although some vehicles have plastic lugs instead. If you can pry them off using the flat end of a tire iron or a flathead screwdriver against a thick or solid portion of the hubcap, it will make things much easier.

If your hubcaps are fastened by plastic lugs, you’ll be able to remove them only after the metal lug nuts have been taken off. If you try to take them out before doing so, they will break. If your hubcaps screw on using plastic lugs, you’ll need a lug wrench (and avoid overusing it when reinstalling them to avoid shattering).

Check the lug nuts

The lug nuts, which are used to center the wheel and attach it to the vehicle, are placed between four and eight on the axle. Some European automobiles will have lug bolts instead of nuts, but the extraction process should be identical.

  • Locking lugs are available on some automobiles to prevent the wheels from being stolen. This is generally only required for one lug nut per wheel, and it should not be confused with the others. To unlock these, you’ll need a key that unlocks the lock on the lug nut’s end.
  • To remove a locking lug nut without the key, you’ll need to use a ⅞ 12 point socket. However, this can only be done if you have access to a vice. Without one, it will be difficult to correctly position thesocket and hit the locking lug with enough force.

To remove lug nuts, use a lug wrench

In addition to a jack and a spare tire, your vehicle should come with a lug wrench (sometimes known as a tire iron, tire tool, or t-bar), along with a spare and jack. Lug wrenches should fit the lug nuts on your wheel assembly precisely, and in most situations you won’t require any additional tools to remove them.

  • A straight bar or two crossed bars are known as a “spider wrench,” which is used for loosening and tightening lug bolts. The crossed bars give you additional strength since you can hold on to either side with your hands and turn using all of your arm power.
  • If your lug nuts are stuck on because of rust, over-tightening, or other reasons, read the section below for suggestions on loosening particularly tenacious lug nuts.

While the vehicle is still on the ground, start releasing the lug nuts

If you want to make lug nut removal easier, don’t jack up the car first. use the ground for resistance by placing the tire on it. This will mean that the nuts won’t be able to spin, and thus they’ll come off much more simply.

Turn the lug wrench counter-clockwise around a lug nut

First, take the wrench and fit it over one of the nuts. Make sure it’s snug before you start to turn. As you’re turning, pull on the wrench with force until you feel the lug nut beginning to loosen. You don’t need to completely remove the lug nut; just use the wrench to make it loose enough that you can finagle it off with your fingers.

Continue to unscrew the bolts

It makes no difference whether you loosen the smaller one first. Choose one, then go around the bolts in a “star” pattern, skipping over the lug nut next to the one you just loosened. When installing a wheel, this method is especially important. Even so, it’s a good practice to get into when loosening bolts.

Once all the bolts are loose, you’ll need to jack up the car before removing the lug nuts and wheel. If your project takes more time than just swapping out the wheel with a spare or new one, prop up the car on a frame stand until you’re finished.

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Loosening Stuck Lug Nuts

Check sure the parking brake is turned on

If your lug nuts are refusing to budge, you’ll need to apply more force. Before you do that, be sure your automobile isn’t moving. Make sure you’re on a level surface and that the parking brake is on before attempting to remove stubbornly trapped lug nuts.

Increase your leverage

Wrenches at most factories have short handles that offer very little leverage. The first and safest thing you can do is work with the physics of leverage. If the handle on the wrench you’re using is longer, it’ll be much easier to loosen the nut.

  • If you add a “breaker bar,” you’ll be able to lift more weight. These are generally longer and stronger than the lug wrenches that come with most vehicles.
  • If the breaker bar is not working, look for a piece of pipe that you can fit over the handle. This will enable you to turn it from further away and with more leverage. The closer the size of the pipe to the size of the handle, the better.

Make use of your foot

If you’re out of other options and your arms aren’t strong enough to loosen the lug nut, you can use your stronger leg muscles to get the process started. Be careful when attaching the wrench though, as you’ll need to place it at an angle nearly parallel with the ground.

Grip the lug wrench firmly with one foot and lead it counter-clockwise by pressing down on it. Push hard with your leg. If required, stand against the car and use the wrench as a step to bounce gently. When it releases, stop and utilize the tool normally.

Don’t try this if you’re not sure what you’re doing. It’s not a trampoline, so don’t stomp on the wrench or jump up and down. Always keep your foot in touch with the wrench and let gravity do the work.

Make use of a mallet or hammer

If you don’t have access to a pipe, it’s time to go primitive. In an emergency, pounding on the lug wrench handle with a rubber mallet or a hammer may help loosen particularly stubborn lug nuts. It may be your only choice if you become stranded on the side of the road. A rock or another hefty thing might also work if you don’t have access to a hammer.

If you try to bang the bar of the lug wrench, be extremely cautious that you don’t accidently glance blows. With the mallet, deliver short, controlled strikes and stop after a few to see if you’ve loosened it enough to employ another approach.

If the lug nuts are corroded to the stud, use a penetrating oil

If you’re having trouble with 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.

Allow the penetrant to sit for around ten minutes so that it can seep across the threads and loosen everything up. If the lug nut is still being uncooperative, give it one final spray of light liquid in exactly where the threads start to disappear inside ofthe lug nut. Let this sit for another ten minutes before checking to see if there’s any difference. The solid impact from moderate taps using a mallet on the wrench might now have an effect too.

  • Before you drive the vehicle again, be sure it’s entirely clean of oil on the brake discs and drums. Because oil on these surfaces can lead to brake failure, increased stopping distances, and accidents, it’s a major safety hazard. Clean the metal braking surfaces of the rotor or drum using a clean cloth and acetone, if necessary. If you’ve sprayed your brakes with penetrating oil, replace or seek help from a certified mechanic.
  • To test the brakes if you have gotten oil on them, do so at low speed first in an area without traffic. Gradually increase your speed until you feel comfortable with the results. Remember to tell other drivers of the car that it may not stop as quickly now, and have them try out the new braking capabilities too.
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To release locked lugs, use a wheel lock remover

With a reverse threaded socket head, you can remove locks even if you don’t have the key. This type of socket is designed to bite into the lock and loosen it without the need for a key. These heads are also great for removing rounded-off lug nuts that might be difficult to remove otherwise.

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.

When changing lug nuts, use a torque wrench

If you had difficulty removing your lug nuts due to overtightening last time you changed tires, take care to follow the proper specifications for tightening them. You can use a torque wrench set to the recommended level from your car’s owner’s manual. To do this, look on the side of the wrench for the correct indications, then lock it in place with the locking collar. Additionally, tighten the lug nuts following a star pattern. Make sure to check twice that all lug nets are tight.

Other Ways To Remove Over Tighten Lug Nuts

Other Ways To Remove Over Tighten Lug Nuts
Other Ways To Remove Over Tighten Lug Nuts

Here are a few tips you can use the next time your lug nuts won’t budge.

Making Use of a Breaker Bar

A regular lug wrench or tire iron may not be powerful enough to remove lug nuts on its own. A breaker bar, cheater bar, or a length of pipe can help you gain extra leverage when using a wrench with a breaker bar, cheater bar, or cheater pipe added at the end.

Making Use Of A Hammer Or Mallet

If you don’t have access to a breaker bar or pipe, a few smacks with the handle of the lug wrench may be enough. Instead of hard, glancing blows, use brief, controlled strikes so you don’t damage the wrench.

Applying Penetrating Oil

Car doors that won’t open might be caused by frozen lug nuts. If this is the case, PB Blaster or another type of penetrating oil can help you remove the lugs. Apply oil to the nut and stud threads, leave it for a while, then try again with the lug wrench.

Making Use of an Impact Wrench

A torque wrench or an impact gun can generate enough force to remove stubborn lug nuts. However, if you use the incorrect size or type of impact wrench, you may do significant damage.

Effects Of Overtightened Lug Nuts

Effects Of Overtightened Lug Nuts
Effects Of Overtightened Lug Nuts

If wheel lug nuts are too loose, you risk losing a wheel while driving, a torque wrench allows you to tighten a nut or bolt.


Overtightening lug nuts is a serious issue that can cause costly damage to your vehicle. The most common problems associated with overtightened lug nuts are:

  • Stripped threads: When you overtighten a lug nut, you strip the threads, making it difficult (or impossible) to remove the nut in the future.
  • Damaged wheel: It’s possible to crack or break your wheel by overtightening the lug nuts. This is more likely to happen if the wheel is old or in poor condition.
  • Damaged studs: If you overtighten lug nuts, you can damage the studs that the nuts screw onto. This can cause problems when you go to remove the lug nuts in the future.

Overtightening lug nuts can also make it difficult (or impossible) to remove the tire in the future. This can be a serious problem if you have a flat tire and need to change it.

Read more What Is A Wheel Balance? Wheel Balancing vs. Wheel Alignment

How to Tighten Lug Nuts Correctly

How to Tighten Lug Nuts Correctly
How to Tighten Lug Nuts Correctly

Examine for Damages

Examine the lug nuts for damage and cleanliness of the threads. If any of the threads are damaged, you’ll need to replace them. Also, make sure the wheels are in good working order. Make sure there isn’t anything obstructing the area where they attach to the hub.

Make Use Of A Jack

If you’re going to take off the wheels, put your vehicle in park and apply the brakes. Raise your automobile properly and securely. If you only want to re-tighten the bolts one at a time on the ground, that’s fine.

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Install the Lug Nuts

With your hand, put the lug nuts on the wheel. They don’t need to be tight yet simply drop them into the sockets. You can tighten the lug nuts using a torque wrench.

Lower Your Vehicle

Remove the vehicle from the jack or jack stands, and set the parking brake.

Examine the Torque Specifications

The torque requirements for your wheels should be listed in your owner’s handbook. Always keep track of the units. In the United States, most torque wrenches use foot per pound (ft-lb) as the measuring unit.

Torque the lug nut as needed

Most manufacturers recommend that you tighten the lug nuts until the torque wrench makes a sound. The nut should be tightened in the opposite direction of the one previously tightened. To distribute stress evenly, it should be crisscrossed. After that, use the torque wrench to double-check that they’re all equally tight. As you go around the car, tighten each wheel separately.

You can read more at How To Align Tires? What You Need to Know About Tire Alignment

FAQs How To Loosen Over Tighten Lug Nuts

What happens when lug nuts are over tightened?

Lug nuts that are excessively tightened can damage the threads, distort brake rotors, and damage the wheel. In extreme cases, they can also shear off the lug stud.

Can I use wd40 to loosen lug nuts?

WD-40 may seem like it would work to remove rust or oil from lug nuts, but it can actually do more harm than good. By using WD-40 on the threads, you run the risk of over-torquing them when tightening your wheels. It’s better to use oil, grease, or an anti-seize preparation on the threads.

Can you loosen lug nuts with a torque wrench?

A torque wrench is designed solely for tightening; it should never be used to loosen bolts because of how sensitive and precise the tool is.

Can you put oil on lug nuts?

Putting oil or any other sort of lubricant on the wheel bolts, wheel nuts, or wheel studs is a terrible idea. If the wheels are allowed to slip as a result of oil, they may come off. This rusting is typical, and it doesn’t matter because it’s only on the surface.

Can over tightened lug nuts cause vibration?

Because of the vibrations produced by overtorquing the lugs, rotor warping will occur only during braking and will not result in a static vibration unless the warp is extremely large. The worry isn’t over excessive torque as much as it is ensuring that the torque distribution is even.

Can you use a breaker bar to remove lug nuts?

The basics of breaker bars are that a longer handle produces more torque. The most frequent length is an 18-inch breaker bar. This generates enough torque to remove lug nuts from wheels without causing damage while still being short enough to work with smaller nuts in the engine.

Is it OK to use an oversized torque wrench to break loose small tight bolts?

It’s never acceptable. This torque wrench may be programmed to a torque setting for little repetitive work like receptacle or switch terminations.

How long should lug nuts last?

Torque the lugs to their proper torque settings, and they must be re-torqued after 50 to 100 miles of driving on your new tires following the tire service.

How to remove over tightened lug nuts


Lug nuts are essential for car safety. When they are over tightened, it can be difficult to remove them. In this post, our team from have outlined a few methods that can help loosen over tightened lug nuts. We hope you find these tips helpful and that they keep your family safe on the road. Have you had trouble removing over tightened lug nuts? What technique worked best for you?

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