1A Auto Video Library
Our how-to videos have helped repair over 100 million vehicles.

Remove a Locking Lug Nut From Your Car or Truck Without the Key

Share on:

Created on: 2020-06-01

Some tips and tricks for removing a locking lug nut or wheel lock if you have lost the key.

Hey, friends. It's Len here from 1A Auto. Today we've got a vehicle in the shop and we wanted to talk to you about removing locking lug nuts when maybe you lost your key. It can be a major bummer sometimes, so let's jump right into it.

Now, when it comes time to removing your locking lug nuts, it's gonna be super important to try to find the key that goes to them. Unfortunately, this key likes to try to go missing sometimes. We don't know why, but it's just one of those elusive things. There are some common areas that people tend to put them and maybe it's by habit, maybe it's just by instance, or maybe it was by mistake. With that said, let's go over a couple of the areas where I would try to look because finding this is gonna be the easiest solution overall to removing these locking lug nuts. All right. So one of the first places I'm gonna look is right inside that glove box, because it should be the most common place, and why wouldn't you put it in there? Let's check it out.

Pop this open. Oh. Nice. We've got our lug nut key right here. This is gonna be super important. Now we don't necessarily have to do any more work for removing the lug nuts. Now, other common areas that it might be would be maybe a cup holder. Maybe you have an ashtray. Ashtray. Gross. Anyway, maybe you have a little secret compartment that can hold plenty of stuff. It's possible. A lot of people have a nice armrest that you can open up. Take a peek inside there. If it has any hidden compartments or a double layer, make sure you open it up and check it out. You have your side pocket right along here. That could be another possibility. Another place to check would be right inside the trunk. More than likely it's not gonna be right out in the open. You're probably gonna have a little tab like this. You can pull up. There's probably gonna be a jack and some other miscellaneous things under here such as a spare tire. This one, of course, is empty, but we did happen to find the wheel lock key. It blends right in. If you were to lift this up, there is, of course, other areas that people might wanna put it. Maybe they'll just throw it in there because they're lazy. Maybe they'll throw it in here because they like funny sound effects while they're driving. Maybe they'll even put it off on the side because it's a nice little pocket, and I'll remember it there. Maybe.

So now let's go with the assumption that for some reason you just couldn't find that wheel lock key. Well, boo, because you're gonna have to come down with some decent tools to try to get this done. We wanna do it with something basic, something that maybe everybody has. Overall, the tool that you're gonna use, it's gonna depend on the type of locking lug nut that you have. The type that we have to demonstrate is the kind that looks a lot like this. It's supposed to have all these little splines in it that are gonna line up with the splines on the wheel lock. Well, obviously, more than likely trying to use a socket isn't necessarily gonna work. Are there some other ways that you can take it off? Yeah. Can you use a socket? You know, you probably can, and we're gonna give it a try. So we have our locking lug nut on here. And in all honesty, I would do away with them altogether and just go with five of the same lug nuts. Not only because it looks different, but also because the weight of it is gonna be different than the original lug nuts. With that said, let's continue on.

The first way I wanna try is by using the socket method. It can work or maybe it can't work. It really depends on your situation. For this particular application, what we're gonna do is because this one has those slots, like I said, we should be able to use a socket right over the top and more than likely it's gonna grip right on. So let's try that first. So what we're gonna have to do is try to find a socket that's gonna fit right over it. You know, obviously, if it's too small, it's not necessarily gonna work for this application. For me, with this particular lock, I found a socket that fits. It's just a typical six-point. It's gonna slide right over and it's gonna hold nice and tight. Now, this isn't always gonna happen this way. There are gonna be other times where this just won't work. But I do wanna see if it'll work on this application.

Six-point socket. If you need to, use a rubber mallet. I got that on there. Now, of course, you can go ahead and use your air gun or you can just use a nice long ratchet. I wouldn't recommend using a little ratchet that maybe comes to here with a handle because, well, your wheel's gonna be torqued on. And yes, this is only torqued onto approximately 80-foot-pounds, but your application may be different. Grab a nice long breaker bar. Let's see if we can get this to break free. All right. Now, we wanna know if it's spinning on the lock or if it's actually taking off the lugs [inaudible 00:04:21] or lug nut. I'm gonna turn it some more. It actually feels like it... Yeah. So that six-point just took off this one right here. Now, if you had a round lock, would this work? It's pretty doubtable. If you had the round locking lug nut, we'll assume it looks kind of like this. All right. That's what it looks like without the square on the center. You could take a socket, go right over the top, and kind of make the indents of where these lines are for where the points. Once you've done that, you could use a little cutting tool such as a dremel and kind of make those more prominent. So you'll have straight lines going across this circle right here that line up with the octagon that is the socket. Once you've done that, give it a couple loving bonks. Bonk, bonk, bonk, get it on there. And then, of course, you use that long breaker bar again, and it should probably spin right off. That looks pretty good.

So the next way that we can try this is by cutting out a little groove in the lug nut. Of course, you wanna be careful for the wheel. So if you wanna protect it with some tape or anything else you can think of, it's probably a great idea. The next thing that we would wanna do is to have a nice chisel. We want a nice sharp chisel bit, and you wanna try to grab right onto that lip. Do you need to use an air chisel? No. You could use a regular chisel like a caveman. That's fine. The next thing you would do is just try to grab onto that lip, apply a very little bit amount of pressure, especially if you're using your air chisel, and just see if you can get it to turn and break free. Once you get it to turn and break free, you should probably be able to do it by hand or even maybe get a socket on it or just some long pliers. Let's give it a little try. Here we go. Okay. Obviously, be very careful for any sharp edges. And at all times I always wear hand protection and eye protection. Safety is a number one concern. That's perfect.

At this point, obviously, this locking lug nut is garbage. It's not reusable. You can get moisture right inside there and it's definitely gonna be seized up. Another way that you could try to get these out is by drilling out straight through the lug nut and drilling out the stud on the other side. Of course, at that point, you're either gonna have to replace the stud with the lug nut or even the wheel bearing with the lug nut. Now, if you can get this sanded down enough to make it a nice, smooth surface where you're gonna be able to get a good weld, you could also take a nice cheap extension, one that you don't necessarily care about anymore, clean up that area as well, line it up, and then you could, of course, weld this on. Once you've welded it on, you can go ahead and put on your long bar there and you should be able to break that nut free.

Another way that you can remove your locking lug nuts is with a specific tool. You can go out, you can buy yourself a kit that looks like this. And, of course, it has a whole bunch of different adapters that are probably gonna come in handy. You would find the one that works for you, for your application and try it. I'm gonna try this one. And, of course, you're gonna need a driver. You put the two together just like that. You should be able to slide it right on. It should be fairly tight. If it doesn't fit on at all, more than likely it's too tight. If it slides right on without any resistance, it's too loose. Use a rubber mallet just in case we happen to bonk the wheel. We'll get that right on there. Remove the driver.

At this point, it should have an area that you can grab onto with a socket. So we're gonna use that. And we'll move along. I've got my corresponding socket. Oh, let's see if it works. Mm-mm. It slip right off. Let's see. I'm gonna try to give it another little bonk. Let's see if I can get this done. Let's see. Sometimes the tool will spin and then other times it'll be spinning out the lug nut. Awesome. So now you're wondering how to get this off of there. Just take this little punchy out tool right there or even a little punch that you've got laying around, hold it over something where you're not gonna lose it. So as you saw, the tool worked. Does it work every time? No, not really. I would say that it's actually the second-best way of removing these locking lug nuts. The first one would be, of course, trying to find that locking tool.

Now, the last resort for removing these lug nuts could potentially be using some torches. And, of course, you might also potentially damage your wheel. So if you have nice wheels or aluminum wheels, you wanna use this as a very last resort. Just come right in and we're just gonna blast that lug nut right off of there. Obviously, this is gonna cause damage to the stud as well so you're gonna have to replace that. And like I said, be super careful for that rim. All right. So we showed you a whole bunch of different ways that you can try to remove your lug nuts. Is every one of them gonna work for everybody? Maybe not. Will one of them probably work for you? I hope it does. Maybe it's gonna be something that helps get you off the side of the road in case you have a flat tire or maybe it's just something that's gonna help you get that locking lug nut off so you can go ahead and put on a regular old lug nut and be safe down the road.

Okay, friends. So we had a lot of fun making this video as always. If you learned a little something and you wanna talk about it, leave it in the Comments section below. If you like the video, smash on that Like button. It's gonna mean everything to me. While you're at it, why don't you go ahead and subscribe and ring the bell, that way there you can be kept up with all of our latest content. Thanks.

Thanks for watching. Visit 1aauto.com for quality auto parts shipped to your door, the place for DIY auto repair. And if you enjoyed this video, please click the Subscribe button.

Go To Top

Same Day Shipping

Need your part faster? Choose expedited shipping at checkout.

Guaranteed To Fit

Highest quality, direct fit replacement auto parts enforced to the strictest product standards.

USA Customer Support

Exceeding customers' expectations, our team of passionate auto enthusiasts are here to help.

Instructional Video Library

Thousands of how-to auto repair videos to guide you step-by-step through your repair.