Best Way To Remove Stripped Lug Nut [Step-by-Step Guide]

Due to wear and tear, your vehicle’s lug nuts will soon become stripped. For beginners, it can be tough to remove. Also, a stripped lug nut will rust and affect surrounding metal parts. For this post, I decided to help you out with the best way to remove stripped lug nut without ruining other parts of the wheel. All you need is a few tools and some patience to get the worn out nut from its socket.

Best Way To Remove Stripped Lug Nut

When we say stripped, it means that the lug nuts have lost its corners, making it more rounded. When that happens, the nut becomes too small for its socket and difficult to remove with a wrench. It will malfunction and will be a pain to remove. Still, fret not, because you can do the following methods:

Method 1: Using a 12-point socket

best way to remove stripped lug nut
Photo Credits – Floor Jack Shop

For this method, you need a socket that’s one size smaller so you can fit it into the stripped lug nut. There’s no need to attach the socket to the wrench since it will not go easily. What you need to do is to put the socket in the middle of the lug nut. After that, pound the socket using a hammer to drive it further into the stripped lug nut.

Once the socket is fully installed around the lug nut, it’s time to connect it to a breaker bar. Using the hammer, pound the wrench until the lug nut comes loose.


However, you have to be careful when using the hammer since this method already resulted in many sore fingers. Also, avoid hitting any surrounding nuts or the wheel rim.


Method 2: Using a lubricant and cold chisel

best way to remove stripped lug nut
Photo Credits –

If the stripped lug nut is very rusty and will not budge, you need some lubricant to loosen it up. However, this method will take a while since you need to soak the lug nut really good, so it will slide out of position easily.

 You can use a rust blaster or any metal lubricant all over the affected lug nut. Let this sit for a few days, making sure that you re-apply the lubricant so it won’t dry up. After a day or two, get cold chisel, placing straight down on the lug nut.

Once the cold chisel is in place, start pounding it with a hammer. The goal here is to make a dent on the lug nut so you can use the cold chisel to crank it on a 45-degree, counter-clockwise manner. Pound it again until the socket loosens and gets detached from your wheel.

Method 3: Using a bolt extractor

Photo Credits – Your Mechanic

If all the three methods don’t work, you can use a bolt extractor to remove the stripped lug nut. The same with how you installed the socket wrench above, place the extractor on the center of the nut then pound it with a hammer.

Keep pounding until the bolt extractor gets a good grip on the lug nut. Once it’s in place, take your ratchet wrench and connect it to the bolt extractor. Twist it off until you have the stripped lug nut removed.

This is a safe method and quite easy as long as you have the tools. Just remember that this one will need force, but be careful not to damage the wheels.

Method 4: Using heat

best way to remove stripped lug nut

If you’re willing to take a risk for immediate results, you can use heat cycling to loosen up the stripped lug nut. What you need is to heat up the lug nut using a small blow torch. Ensure that the flame only treats the lug nut and wheel stud and no other parts of the wheel.

This method banks on the physics of heat expanding things. As you heat the lug nut and the wheel stud, it expands. This will make the lug nut loosen up so you can crank it easily using a torque wrench.

However, I have one big reminder for this method: never oil the lug nut. If you oil the nut and then blow torch it, you will start a fire that will ruin your car and your insurance coverage. Be careful and try this method at your own risk.

Also, make sure that you don’t melt the wheel stud during this process. If this is your first time using a blow torch, I recommend trying other methods here instead.

Additional reminders when removing a stripped lug nut

While I discussed the best way to remove stripped lug nut, you should still keep the following points in mind. Some of these will help your lug nuts from stripping or your wheels from getting damaged while performing any of these methods:

  • Don’t stand on the wrench when tightening the nut. If you’ve removed the stripped lug nut and replacing it, never stand on the wrench. Otherwise, you will face the same problem over again. Worse, the bolts may break, which is another problem to deal with.
  • Don’t damage your wheels. Remember that you’re only removing the lug nut and not the entire rim. No matter what method you’re going to use, make sure that it’s isolated on the lug nut and the wheel stud.
  • Use heat at your own risk. Like what I said earlier, you can use the heat method but at your own risk. If you’re not sure about it, I strongly advise not to use it unless all the other methods failed.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the experts. While you may want to keep everything within your DIY skills, you shouldn’t shy away from an expert’s advice. You can call your local auto shop and ask for some tips. You can also ask a friend if they have encountered the same problem before.

Final words

The best way to remove stripped lug nut is a case-to-case basis. This is the reason why I discussed four methods here, so you can experiment with which one suits your condition best. Just be careful and prevent damaging any parts of your wheel.