How to Loosen Over Tighten Lug Nuts on Tire? [Quick and Easy]

Lug nuts are the bolts that hold your wheel to the car. It can be challenging to remove them with a wrench if they’re too tight.

But as Napoleon Bonaparte said, “the word impossible is not in my dictionary.”

Don’t know how to loosen overtightened lug nuts on a tire? No worries. It’s quick and easy – even if you’ve never done anything like this before. This guide will save you time, money, and frustration by showing you how easy it really is.

Let’s get started.

How to Remove Over-Tighten Lug Nuts

An over-tightened lug nut may make a simple activity like changing a tire into a tedious one.

Fortunately, there are a few ways for loosening a nut that just won’t budge. These steps let you finish the work and get back on the road.

YouTube video

In the video, WikiHow demonstrated the correct way to loosen lug nuts, especially when you’re out on the road. First, you should park in a safe place, preferably on a leveled surface.

After that, let’s go over the basic measures you should do if you have a stuck lug nut below:

1. Open the hubcap

Open the hubcap

Depending on your car, you may need to remove the hubcap before you can access and loosen the lug nuts. Hubcaps are typically fastened using metal clips, kept in place by the lug nuts themselves, or with plastic lugs.

Here are some ways to remove the hubcap:

  • If your hubcaps are clipped on, pry them off with a flat-end tire iron or a flathead screwdriver.
  • If the hubcaps are screwed with lug nuts, you can only remove them once the lug nuts have been removed. You’ll break them if you try to remove them before they’re ready.
  • If plastic lugs hold on your hubcaps, you’ll need a lug wrench to remove them. Avoid excessive force when reinstalling them to avoid breakage.

2. Check the lug nuts

Check the lug nuts

Your car’s wheels will be attached to the axle with four to eight-lug nuts. Those lug nuts will be used to center the wheel and secure it to the vehicle.

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Some European vehicles will use lug bolts instead of nuts, but the removal procedure should be the same.

Be sure to check if locking lugs are used on some vehicles to prevent wheel theft. It is generally required for one lug nut per wheel, and it should be distinct from the others.

These necessitate using a specific key to loosen the lock on the end of the lug nut.

On the other hand, you can hammer on a 7/8 12 point socket and remove the locking lug nut. The most difficult element is needing a vice to insert the socket into.

3. Soak it


Sometimes an over-tightened lug nut will not come off because it’s rusted. It occurs when water, road salt, and oxygen mix where the threads meet.

4. Use the correct socket

Use the correct socket

If your socket is too loose, it won’t be able to grip and spin the seized lug nut. A loose socket is more prone to rotate around the nut and round off its edges.

Before applying torque, ensure the socket you’re using is the correct size and that it’s on as tightly as possible.

5. Increase torque

Increase torque

Torque can be increased by prolonging the driver’s arm to spin the socket.

Use the longest driving handle possible. After that, put a piece of hollow piping over the handle to expand the arc further.

This can add two to three times the torque to the initial turning movement. The torque is frequently required to break the lug nut loose.

To provide more twisting power, hammer it or jump down on the bar (as long as it’s securely fastened).

6. Avoid using power tools

Avoid using power tools

Using an impact wrench may be tempting, but this is not the greatest option. If the nut is really stuck, an impact driver will usually just round it off rather than break it free.

Other Ways to Remove Over Tighten Lug Nuts

Now, if you don’t want to do it the conventional way, here are some alternatives on how to loosen overtightened lug nuts on tires:

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Using a breaker bar

breaker bar

The first best alternative is to use a 1/2′′ drive breaker bar. Use one that is 18′′ to 24′′ in length.

Put the bar in the socket such that the handle extends horizontally.

Raise it upward to loosen the nut when using a floor jack. Or you can press it down to tighten it when not using a floor jack.

Using a hammer or mallet

If you don’t have access to a breaker bar, use a rubber mallet or hammer as another option. A couple of knocks with it to the handle of the lug wrench handle may suffice.

To avoid warping the wrench, employ short, controlled strikes rather than harsh, glancing blows.

Putting penetrating oil

Soaking it in WD-40, PB Blaster, or another oil-based lubricant is the least labor-intensive technique to remove it. Spray it at the lug nut’s base and allow it to work its way through the threads.

Leave it for about ten minutes. Then, by using a lug wrench, remove the nut. If it’s still stuck and you’re not in a hurry, let the oil soak in for a few hours.

Using an impact wrench

You can use an impact gun or a wrench to release overtightened lug nuts as your last resort. However, if you use the wrong size or type of impact wrench, you could cause harm.

Effects of Overtightened Lug Nuts

All drivers would prefer to avoid replacing a flat tire on the side of a busy road. But fitting a spare wheel should take no more than half an hour.

However, how would you feel to find that the nuts were so tight that you couldn’t budge them? There are many consequences of an overtightened lug nut.

YouTube video

In the video, the person driving recounts what happens when you overtighten or over-torque your car’s lug nuts. He first says that over-torqued lug nuts will damage your car’s rotor.

Additionally, over-tightened lug nuts can result in stripped threads on and stretching the studs.

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It makes them more prone to fracturing and eventual failure. The lug nuts may also become loose as a result of this stretching.

How To Properly Tighten Lug Nuts

How To Properly Tighten Lug Nuts

Tightening lug nuts appears to be one of the simplest tasks you will ever perform on your vehicle. However, like with most car components, there are nuances to be aware of to avoid causing harm to your vehicle.

YouTube video

The person lays out the ground rules and steps on putting a tire on your car in the video. In short, it’s a crash course on how to tighten lug nuts properly.

He added that you need to use the correct torque specifications to tighten lug nuts or change tires.

1. Check for damages

Examine the lug nuts for damage and ensure the threads are clean. If any of the threads are broken, you may need to replace them.

Also, make sure that the wheels are in good shape. Check the area where they bolt to the hub is clean and flat.

2. Use a jack

Put your car in park and apply brakes if you’re going to remove the wheels.

Jack up the car properly and safely. If you just want to re-tighten the fasteners, you can do it on the ground one at a time.

3. Put the lug nuts

Put the lug nuts on the wheel with your hand. Do not tighten it but simply put them in the sockets. You can use a torque wrench to screw the lug nuts.

4. Lower your car

Remove the car from the jack or jack stands and set the parking brake.

5. Check the torque specifications

The torque specifications for your wheels should be in your owner’s handbook.

Always take note of the units. In the United States, most torque wrenches use foot per pound (ft-lb).

6. Torque the lug nut accordingly

Most manufacturers specify that you should tighten the lug nuts until the torque wrench clicks.

You should tighten the nut opposite the one you just tightened. It should be in a crisscross pattern to ensure that the stress is distributed equally.

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After that, go back through the pattern with the torque wrench to confirm that they’re all evenly tight. Tighten each wheel as you work your way around the car.


What’s the right torque?

Several specifications determine the torque requirements for installation, depending on your vehicle and wheel type. The correct specifications should be in the car’s manual.

It is usually between 110 and 120 Nm. When changing your car’s rims, the new torque values will be listed on the rim certificate.

Overtightening the lug nuts might stretch it and cause failure around the rotor. That’s why it is critical to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

For best results during install don’t go past 50 km without re-torquing!

What do I need to loosen and tighten lug nuts?

A torque wrench is an ideal tool for loosening and tightening lug nuts. These tools are available in both analog and digital forms.

Anyone who dabbles in automobile work should have one or two sets in their garage.

Why do lug nuts over tighten?

Even though there are several ways to go wrong, two common scenarios lead to over-tightened lug nuts.

The first one is to tighten the lug nuts with an impact wrench. Anyone who tightens their lug nuts with an impact wrench is nearly certain to overtighten them.

Another is doing it with your hands. Most individuals will instinctively over-tighten even while tightening by hand.

Consider this: every time you overtighten the lug nuts, you bend the studs’ threads. It really harms the threads and reduces their effectiveness!

Why is it essential to tighten lug nuts just right?

When you over-torque or over tighten the lug nuts, you risk causing stress fractures. In addition, it means it is no longer certified for the load rating.

There is also a possibility of the lugs breaking under normal conditions and your wheels passing you in traffic. Again, it is rare, but it does pose a safety risk.

There are many consequences of incorrectly torqued lug nuts:

  • Brake rotors that are warped
  • The lug nut seating surface has been damaged
  • Damage to the wheel hub
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Moreover, you don’t want the lug nuts to be so loose that they come off due to the car’s vibrations. You also don’t want them to be tight, so you can easily get them off next time. It’s not a great situation when you need to repair a flat tire on the side of the road.

What is a torque wrench?

A torque wrench is a particular type of wrench used to tighten nuts and bolts to a specific torque value. It is often in a socket wrench with unique internal mechanisms.

It allows fasteners to be tightened to the correct tension, preventing damage from overtightening. The tool also helps joints from breaking apart from under-tightening.

Torque wrenches have been in use since the early twentieth century. Conrad Bahr invented it in 1918.


Knowing how to loosen overtightened lug nuts on tires is an important skill for any driver to have.

Maintaining tightness on all four tires can be tricky without paying close attention. But it’s not so hard once you know the tricks and tips.

Always tighten to the manufacturer’s torque specifications, which you may find in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Lug nuts keep your car’s wheels secured so that you can have a smooth drive anywhere and anytime.

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