How to Remove a Stripped Lug Nut [Emergency Lug Nut Removal]

Do you have a stripped lug nut and want to remove them? Do you know what a stripped lug nut is? How much does it cost to remove a stripped lug nut? Don’t worry. We’re here to help you.

Having a stripped lug nut can be extremely risky since you cannot change your wheels for a while if your lug nuts are stuck on your wheel stud and cannot loosen them with the typical tools since the edges are rounded off.

Want to learn more about stripped lug nuts and remove them? Make sure you read the whole article and check out the FAQ section to ensure all your common questions are answered.

What is a Stripped Lug Nut?

A stripped lug nut is typically a lug nut that has its edges rounded off. Having the edges of a lug nut rounded off is what happens if they are not appropriately torqued.

Typically, a lug nut also gets stripped when a person tries to remove the nut using a socket, which gets the job sometimes but is ineffective.

Keeping track of all the fasteners (the one that is tightened and loosened with wrenches, screwdrivers, and sockets) that are found in your vehicle can be very confusing, and one of the necessary fasteners found in your car is the Lug Nut and Lug Bolts. What are lug nuts and bolts? Where can they be found?

According to SunDevilAuto, lug nuts are chrome-plated steel (chromium for corrosion resistance). Usually, they fasten the wheel’s hub to threaded wheel studs on the vehicle’s axle, making sure that the wheel is secure in its place and centered correctly on its axle.

Depending on the car model and the axle it uses, lug nuts can vary in different sizes. The correct lug nut seat depends on the wheel itself, attaching it to the car’s axle.

Types of Lug Nuts:

  • Hex – The hex lug nut is the most common, and it features six-sided heads. The lug nut is threaded into the wheel stud to keep the wheels intact and tightened adequately to the axle. Hex nuts typically use chrome-plated steel, but there are other lighter options like titanium and aluminum.
  • Conical Seat– This type of lug nut has a cone-shaped nut seat with a 60 or 45-degree taper that helps center the wheel in place on the stud as it’s tightened. These types of lug nuts are used in big racing competitions and in racing cars on big stages like NASCAR and other motorsports.
  • Open-Ended – Similar to the conical seat type of lug nuts, these are also found in race cars since these lug nuts are not closed on either end. They’re threaded through the length of the nut.
  • Tuner Nut – Like the conical seat type of lug nut, the tuner nut also has a taper. However, the only difference is that the tuner nut requires a unique tool during installation and removal. Since a particular type of tool is needed to tighten/loosen this nut, it’s harder for thieves to steal wheels with this nut.
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Lug Nut vs. Lug Bolts – How Are They Different?

When you’re changing wheels and tires, lug nuts are easier to work with than lug bolts because you can hang the wheel on the stud and tighten the nut. Unlike lug nuts, lug bolts work a lot more. Differently, you need to align two sets of holes with lug bolts.

However, this doesn’t mean that the lug nuts are flawless. It would be best if you were careful not to damage the threads of a wheel stud because replacing one is tricky.

Similarly enough, the bolt hole of a car with lug bolts becomes damaged. You might need to replace the whole hub.

Can You Drive With a Missing Lug Nut?

Can You Drive With a Missing Lug Nut

Lug nuts, also known as wheel nuts, keep the wheel in place while the vehicle is in motion. With today’s technology, cars have built-in loose lug nut sensors to determine if there are missing/loose lug nuts in your wheels.

However, for most people that don’t have these lug nut sensors, it’s essential to check your wheel from time to time to make sure that all the lug nuts are properly torqued and set in place.

If you detect any loose nuts in your vehicle’s wheels, you may need to tighten these nuts again according to the manufacturer’s specifications using a torque wrench.

Since you can measure the force applied in the torque wrench, you can accurately tighten it to your preferences.

Are you missing a Lug Nut? Can you still drive your car?

Most vehicles have 6 lug nuts. The larger your auto, the more lug nuts your wheel needs. So, can you still drive your car? Yes, BUT THIS IS NOT ADVISABLE.

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There are many reasons why there are multiple lug nuts on every wheel. It’s essential to keep all of them to minimize the risk of accidents.

Once you have missing lug nuts, all the pressure is transferred to the lug nuts and weakens the joint where it holds the wheel in place.

Removing Stripped Lug Nuts – How Do I Remove Them?

Removing Stripped Lug Nuts

There are many things to do to remove a stripped lug nut. Since the edges are already stripped, then using the torque wrench for them will be effective and efficient. We’ll tell you different ways to remove the stripped lug nuts:

Here’s a video showing How to Remove Stripped Lug Nuts to make sure that you know the step-by-step process on how it’s done, and let this serve as your guide on removing stripped lug nuts.

YouTube video
  • Using a Flat Screwdriver –You can ledge the flat screwdriver right under the edges of the stripped lug nut and force the nut to come off. You can use a hammer while doing so. Make sure you don’t exert too much force, as this can break the wheel’s hub.
  • Ask a Mechanic to Remove it for You –Although it’s costly, you can directly ask a mechanic to remove it for you. They will deal with all the work and charge you $25-$40 for every lug nut, which is expensive, but they make sure that they remove the stripped lug nut.
  • Drill Through the Nut and Replace the Hub –This is not advisable, but this can also be done as your last resort. Since you want to remove the stripped lug nuts, you may have to force it out with a drill and replace the wheel’s hub with a new one.
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How Much Does it Cost to Get a Stripped Lug Nut Removed?

The cost of removing a stripped lug nut depends on the place you live. If you live in the USA, you’re going to be charged around the price range of $30-$40 since most of them charge a high price for labor and maybe $80+ for quality assurance lug nut removal.

If you’re against the idea of repairing a stripped lug nut on your own and want to pay someone to do the work for you, then you’re going to pay an above-average price because removing a stripped lug nut can be very costly.

Most wheels have 6 lug nuts in them. If charged $40 per lug nut, you will pay $240 and maybe a $10 tip to the mechanic once they have finished their work.

Advantages of Letting Someone Else Remove Lug Nuts For You:

  • Better Work– Since most mechanics have already encountered removing stripped lug nuts, they’re much more efficient in their field of work and make sure that they will remove them with ease.
  • Remove Stripped Lug Nuts Quicker– Bringing your car to the car shop to remove stripped lug nuts can be a great move, especially if you’re planning to go on a long car ride or simply because you’re in a hurry and want to replace the lug nuts immediately.
  • Get Replacements Immediately– Since you’re at a car shop already, you can instantly get replacements for your car parts after removing the lug nut. For example, if you think your wheel stud or hub is busted after removing the stripped lug nuts, you can instantly get them replaced by a professional mechanic.

How Do Lug Nuts Become Stripped Lug Nuts?

How Do Lug Nuts Become Stripped Lug Nuts

Lug nuts are very fasteners that hold your wheels in place, and you never want them to be damaged in any way, shape, or form. Why is having stripped lug nuts bad? Having stripped lug nuts makes it extremely difficult to change wheels.

Once your tires get deflated because you run over something you weren’t supposed to run over (like nails and any sharp objects that can cause a flat tire) since you have stripped lug nuts, how are you going to replace your wheel?

You’re then forced to call a towing service to help you with your situation. That’s why you NEVER want to have stripped lug nuts. It puts you in a difficult position and sometimes can even risk you getting into an accident.

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Stripped lug nuts are caused by not torquing them properly in the first place. They are either too tight or overly torqued, causing the lug nuts to be pushed beyond their limits by damaging the edges of the nuts.

Another way lug nuts become stripped is by using the wrong tools to tighten and loosen these fasteners. Tools used for hex lug nuts aren’t supposed to be used for tuner nuts since tuner nuts require special tools to tighten them.

So, when tightening lug nuts, make sure you don’t go overboard and over-tighten them. Ensure that the tightening force is adequate according to the manufacturer’s recommendations (which can be found in your car’s manual), or simply look up your car model online and check the right torque for these nuts.

YouTube video

Different Ways To Avoid Stripping The Lug Nuts

Now that you know why lug nuts get stripped, it’s essential to understand how to avoid them. Using the right tools and the right amount of torque should be a given already, but we’re still going to include them in the list to ensure you know different ways to avoid them.

Read your car’s manual. Often, people don’t know how much torque force is needed when trying to loosen or tighten the lug nuts. Usually, it results in damaging the threads and rounding them off.

Overall, the main thing to avoid stripping lug nuts is to make sure you have (1) the right tools, (2) the correct torque force needed to secure the lug nuts. That way, your wheels are in place and secure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does WD-40 Loosen Stripped Lug Nuts?

Yes. Although the effects of WD-40 are not that tremendous, the lubrication it gives the lug nuts still helps. When removing a stripped lug nut, you need a chisel or a flathead screwdriver and a mallet or a hammer.

You need to ledge the flathead screwdriver or chisel into the edge of that stripped lug nuts and tap it with the mallet or hammer until it’s deep enough to create lever pressure under the nut. After doing things, spray WD-40 under the lug nut, and it will provide lubrication.

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Once there’s enough lubrication, the process of pulling out the lug nut will be easier since it provides better mobility for the lug nut to be removed from its wheel stud.

Why Do My Car Lug Nuts Get Stripped Often?

One of the common causes why lug nuts get stripped is over-tightening the lug nuts when trying to screw them in your wheel stud. Not knowing how much torque force you need is the cause of stripping down your lug nuts.

Using the wrong or low-quality tools can also be one reason why lug nuts often get stripped. Low-quality tools that easily break when used in high torques will round off the threads in your lug nuts. That’s why it’s essential to choose high-quality tools.

Should I Get a New Set of Tools?

It depends. If your tools are all worn out, it can affect the quality of work it does on your vehicle and even damages certain parts.

For example, if the grip on your sockets is not adequate anymore, it won’t be efficient and might round off the edges of the lug nuts.

How Do I Know the Lug Nut’s Torque Specifications?

By reading the car’s manual or searching your car model online, you’re going to know your car’s torque specifications, lug nut measurements, and the right tools to use when trying to loosen or tighten different fasteners in your vehicle.

Wheel LUG NUT Torque Application Chart PDF Download Here!

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