How to Remove Wheel Locks

round wheel lockMany cars this days have wheel locks on their wheels.  Most of this are put on after the car was bought new.  However the normal way to remove these special lug nuts is with a key that comes with the wheel lock.

The problem is these keys get lost over the years.  So when you need to change a tire for whatever reason you can’t get them off.  However there are options.

You can always call around to your local repair shops and hope to find one that will remove them for you, however many shops won’t do it for fear of damage to your rims and the liability that comes with that, or maybe because they just don’t know how.  If you do find someone to remove them it will cost you a pretty penny.

Do It Yourself

Lets start with one of the most common way to remove wheel locks.  You can try finding a 12-point socket that is one size smaller than a socket that fits over the nut.  Thus if a 19mm fits over the nut then use a 18mm socket.  With this socket you need to hammer it on, and I mean hammer it on until it is stuck at least half way on.  Then using an impact wrench remove the nut, you can try a breaker bar but they don’t always work like an impact.  Some times the socket will just spin at which you have a few choices.  Try a smaller socket and more hammering, or you can buy a special socket designed to remove rounded nuts and lock nuts.  The most common one would be like this one sold on Amazon, or this one. With either if these you need to hammer them on before you try to use them.

If none of these options work on your lock nuts there is one last option.    You can use an air hammer and chisel bit.  Now this option runs a very real risk of damage to your rims, however it’s the one that has never let me down.  You start with using the chisel to put an indent straight into the head of the nut.  This doesn’t have to be very deep so don’t go over board you don’t want to split the nut or break off a chunk of the nut, just enough to give you something to catch the end of your chisel bit.  Point  your chisel at roughly 45-60 degree angle and start hammering in a counter-clockwise direction moving the bit around with the nut as it comes loose.  You must be careful with this because if the bit slips it will gouge the rim.

So this is the simple version of how to do this.  If you decide to try it yourself I wish you the best of luck.  Knowing the work it takes to remove one.  Will make you careful not to lose your lock nut key.  I suggest keeping them either in your glove box or in your truck zip tied to your lug wrench.

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