How to Remove Broken Locking Lug Nuts


PCO6

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I started to rotate my wheels a few days ago. The left rear came off easily using my DeWalt 20V 1/2" drive impact gun. The right rear lug nuts however would not budge. I resorted to my 24" breaker bar and they were on TIGHT! Just as I was thinking ... "something is going to break" ... that's what happened. The keyed socket snapped and rendered itself useless. I now had one wheel off and three wheels plus the spare that I could not get off.

I had a flat in my right rear tire repaired back in May. I went back to the tire store figuring they over torqued my wheel and to ask them for "help"! They said they always snug wheels up and torque them down at 110 ft. lbs. I always torque mine to 100 ft. lbs. but figured what they did wasn't that bad.

Their advice was to buy some cheap 12 point sockets, pound them onto the locking lug nuts with a 5 lb. sledge and then remove them using my breaker bar. I wasn't too sure about this but they were right!

I bought one 19mm (3/4" is the same) socket for $5.99 and had the first one off in about 3 minutes. I went back to Princess Auto (cheap tools) and bought 4 more sockets. The young girl at the cash said (condescendingly) ... "you know these are all the same ... don't you?". I told her I was on a NASCAR pit crew and she bought it.

The guy at the tire store told me this happens all the time and the best thing to do with locking lug nuts is to throw them out, which is exactly what I did.

BTW - the only lug nut I could remove from the socket was the spare. The others are in there for good.

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While I'm at it, if you can get a tire dolly like the one below they are well worth having. I saw it at Princess Auto for about $80 and said ... "no way". I wasn't sure if it would work and figured I could make one for less if I wanted to.

A few months later they were on sale for $15! I guess a lot of people figured they would work. Any way, they are great for jockeying tires around your garage, driveway, etc. When putting wheels on simply lift the handle and rotate the tire to line up with the studs. Works great!

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Chris

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Good write-up! This is an issue that a lot of us face, myself included. This happens a lot when buying a used vehicle, and the previous owner forgot to include the lug bolt wheel lock, or just lost it.
 
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PCO6

PCO6

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The go to...a BFH always brings a smile to my face.
My late Father was very polite and I never heard him swear. In his garage, where my brothers and I worked through high school and college, when he needed a BFH he always told us to get him the "Number 9 Removal Tool". We knew damn well what he meant ... although we never figured out what tools 1 to 8 were! (lol)
 
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PCO6

PCO6

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Good write-up! This is an issue that a lot of us face, myself included. This happens a lot when buying a used vehicle, and the previous owner forgot to include the lug bolt wheel lock, or just lost it.
Thanks Chris. I always prided myself in keeping the lock/lug in a safe place in the vehicle so I would NEVER lose it ... and I didn't. I was very happy when I through it in the garbage the other day!
 

Chris

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Thanks Chris. I always prided myself in keeping the lock/lug in a safe place in the vehicle so I would NEVER lose it ... and I didn't. I was very happy when I through it the garbage the other day!

They are pretty much useless. I figure if someone wants to steel the wheels on my Jeep, let them try. Each one of them with the tire has to weight 80 lbs. or so. So try and pick them up, put them in your rig, and drive away. It's not going to be easy!
 
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PCO6

PCO6

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They are pretty much useless. I figure if someone wants to steel the wheels on my Jeep, let them try. Each one of them with the tire has to weight 80 lbs. or so. So try and pick them up, put them in your rig, and drive away. It's not going to be easy!
That's why I never keep my wheel dolly (pictured above) any where near where I park my Jeep! :D
 

Bird

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Funny thing is i had no idea Jeep used a keyed lug when i went to replace a rotor a couple weeks ago.
Luckily i found the key in the console.
 
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Chris

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Yep, I ditched my keyed lug as soon as I got it off. Most worthless thing ever. Can you imagine being stuck in the middle of nowhere, needing to change your tire out for your spare, but not having the tool? It's just a bad idea in general if you ask me.
 

lovemachine

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I run the MT sidebiter wheels. And the lug nuts are the skinny type, and all are the locking type.

I carry 2 "key" sockets inside the jeep. One in the glove department, the other in a tool bag in the trunk.

I hate them. I haven't been able to find the skinny "non" locking lug nuts anywhere though.
 
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Brantley

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When I get my next set of wheels, I'll be chunking mine. I've had to buy 4 keys now, because damn near every time I work on my Jeep where I remove the wheels, when I reinstall the wheels, I leave the socket on the last wheel and then drive away and lose it. Drives me nuts and costs me about $25 from McGard every single time. Gets expensive after a while.
 

johnny deeker

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This post saved my bacon today. Woke to a flat on the beginning of a long weekend. Wheel nut twisted off. I thought i would have the chisel the innards off but decided to check here first. 18mm socket fit a hot darn. Love this forum!
Thanks for posting PC06!
 

glwood

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Sometimes the locking lug nuts can prove useful, though. When I bought my TJR from the Toyota dealership, for some reason they threw in a service package at no cost, which I did not request. Anyway, since it doesn't cost me anything, I take it there for oil changes. Rotating the tires is one of the things they do in this package, but since they want me to bring it in every six months, there's never really enough miles for a tire rotation; maybe every 3rd visit or so. I just took it in last week, and forgot to tell them not to rotate the tires. But I also forgot to give them the locking lug nut key, which was in the Tuffy drawer.

When I got the TJ back, the service writer gave me THIS fairy tale - "We have a new policy - we don't rotate tires on aftermarket wheels." I looked at the guy, then the Jeep, then back at the guy..."those are factory wheels" I said. "They couldn't find the lug nut key, could they?" He said "I guess not..." Aftermarket wheels, my eye...besides that, what difference does it make if you ARE running aftermarket wheels - they're just wheels.

Turns out, though, I was glad they couldn't find the key. I didn't want the tires rotated anyway. Also, sometimes it seems they use a trained orangutan for tire rotation. There's always a new nick on the wheel around the lug nuts when they do rotate tires.

I prefer to rotate my own tires anyway. I also plan to ditch the locking lug nuts. They are a PITA for the most part.

I like that tire dolly referred to above.
 
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