How to Get Locking Wheel Nuts Off – With & Without Key

removing locking wheel nuts

If you ever have a flat tire or wish to replace your tires, it’s important to understand what a locking wheel nut is and how to remove them

Having your locking wheel nuts on might help for security reasons.

But, you save a lot of time and money if you know how to securely remove the locking nuts to get the wheels off your car.

In this article, we’ll go over what a locking wheel nut is, its different types, and how to remove it with or without the key in more detail below.

What is a Locking Wheel Nut?

Locking wheel nuts and keys are intended to keep your vehicle’s alloy wheels from being stolen. 

When alloy wheels initially became popular, they were in demand because alloy wheel theft was a typical occurrence then. 

Nowadays, most cars come equipped with alloy wheels, so theft is less of an issue; nonetheless, vehicle makers defend against it by providing vehicles with a pair of locking wheel nuts and a locking wheel nut key.

Different Types

In cars, there are three types of locking wheel nuts:

1. Keyed head wheel nuts

The most popular locking nuts feature a keyed head that is attached to the wheel nut. 

The locking wheel nut key is inserted into this; the key’s other end has a normal hexagonal end that fits into a wheel brace to release the nut.

2. Collar Rotating Collar

Because of its spinning collar, which is intended to rotate around the wheel nut, this style of wheel nut is very difficult to remove without a matching key.

3. Sheer head bolt

These are often seen on French automobiles such as Peugeots and are used in wheels with bolts rather than nuts. 

If any tool other than the corresponding key is used to remove this kind of bolt, it will “sheer” off (thus the name!).

How to Remove Wheel Locks – With the Key?

Most alloy-wheeled cars feature four locking wheel nuts (one for each wheel) and a corresponding “locking wheel nut key” to remove them.

You can use this key to open the locks whenever required.

Tools required to complete this task:

  • A car jack
  • Wrench for lugs

The most frequent sizes for lug wrenches are 23mm, 19mm, and 17mm. Most nuts are conventional measures of 21mm or 19mm.

Let’s watch out for the stages involved in removing the bolts using the key:

Step 1: Match the Key to the Lock

Keep in mind that the key and the lock are built with a similar design, and there is only a single way to slot it in.

So align the key’s pattern and insert it into the lock.

Step 2: Tighten the wheel bolt

Turn the bolt securely keeping the key in place. Keep in mind that once it’s in position, it won’t move again.

Step 3: Let Go

Remove the key.

Step 4: Secure the Tire Wrench

Place the wrench on the wheel bolt’s end. You’ll need to get a little physical to get it out.

To begin, gently crank your wrench.

Then, gradually escalate the pressure so that it starts to relax. With the help of a wrench unscrew it as soon as it begins spinning.

Your wheel lock has now been removed.

getting wheel nuts off without the key

How to Get Locking Wheel Nuts off – Without the Key?

You concealed the key in a very secure location that you have forgotten where that is. 

Well, it happens, we’ve all misplaced a key set.

Fortunately, there are methods for removing the wheel lock without a key. 

With numerous approaches to this issue, we’ll go through the two most common ones here…

Method 1: Purchase a kit for wheel lock removal

If you’ve misplaced the key, it is the simplest option.

It is a specialized tool for quickly and expertly releasing rim locking.

It is good for practically every wheel lock and does not damage the rims and in most circumstances, the bolts are unharmed.

  1. Determine the Size of the Socket: Locate the closest size possible given in the kit. Keep in mind it snugly fits the lock.
  2. Align: Position the removal tool on the wheel lock by turning it.
  3. Let Go: Turn the bolt removal tool until it is freed.

Method 2: Use a standard socket, a hammer, and strength

Purchasing the removal kit may be costly, and it won’t assist you right off the bat unless you have already bought one and had it in the vehicle.

So let’s have a look at a somewhat more severe technique that involves using force to get the locks off.

Tools Required:

  • A lug nut socket set with a nut wrench.
  • A hammer.
  • Breaking bar.

Step 1: Get the Car Ready

Put the automobile in neutral with the parking brakes on as well for further security.

Step 2: Select the Sockets

Choose a lug nut socket set. A 12-point socket key is usually your best bet.

You may utilize either a short or a deep well socket but be sure the size is close enough and hugs the bolt tight.

Attach the socket to the wheel. Take the hammer and pound it on as hard as you can.

Step 3: Remove the Bolt

Get a breaker bar, preferably ½ inch one. Put it on the socket.

Work your way in and lose it enough. If you got it done you are quite fortunate. If not, try again.

Not to be disheartened, but a few sockets may just spin and don’t come out. It’s a next-level manufacturer’s safety measure.

Step 4: If it Still Doesn’t Come Loose

What should you do now? 

Let’s watch some more processes that are required:

  • Re-enact the process.
  • Gently spin the breaker bar so that the socket comes free.

If you still can’t pull it loose at this point, you should get expert help. If you made it, amazing, for giving it your all.

Step 5: Locate and Recover the Wheels Bolt

You’ll want your bolt back now after you’ve completed this job.

How do you unscrew the socket from the wheel nut? It’s nearly as simple as taking out the bolts.

You must have:

  • A vice, or something similar.
  • A hammer.
  • A chisel with a sharp edge that fits into the lug nut’s hollow.

All you have to do now is:

  • In a vice, clamp the wheel nut with the socket facing down.
  • Slide the chisel into the wheels nut’s hollow.
  • Whack it with a hammer so that it comes out.
  • If you’re fortunate, it will be intact and used once again.


How much is a wheel lock key?

A wheel lock key usually costs around $10-$20 but can go as high as $120 per set.

You can find them at most auto parts stores or online.

An inexpensive wheel lock key is better than nothing, but if you plan to drive your car regularly it might be a good idea to get a more expensive “high security” key because those are much harder to pick.

You should also consider getting into the habit of using the spare key that you keep with your emergency kit (or even one in your purse or wallet) to lock and unlock your doors, just in case you lose your primary key.

And finally, don’t forget to keep a record of your wheel lock key number somewhere safe, in case you ever need to order a replacement.

Overall, the cost and level of security of your wheel lock key are up to you. Just be sure to take into consideration how often you’ll be using it and how important it is to keep your car safe from thieves.

Are locking wheel nuts unique to each car?

There is no definite answer to this question, as the type of locking wheel nuts used on different cars can vary greatly.

Some vehicles may use a unique pattern or design that is specific to that make and model, while others may use a more generic type of locking wheel nut that can be used on a variety of different cars.

In general, it is best to consult your car’s owner manual or a qualified mechanic to determine what type of locking wheel nuts your car uses and how to best protect it from potential thieves.

Some high-security locking wheel nuts can also be custom-fitted with specific keys that are unique to your car, further enhancing the level of protection they provide.

Do cars without alloys have locking wheel nuts?

No, that’s not the case before. But in recent times things have changed because most new cars will now come fitted with locking wheel nuts as standard.

Some vehicles may use locking wheel nuts even if they do not have alloy wheels, while others may only use them on certain types of wheels.

In general, it is best to consult your car’s owner manual or a qualified mechanic to determine what type of locking wheel nuts your car uses.

The Bottomline

Having a lovely automobile with fantastic wheels is amazing, but like with everything valuable, they must be protected. 

Hench the invention of wheel nuts to prevent someone from walking away with your wheel.

Theft prevention technology is effective if it deters criminals while yet allowing the genuine owner access if necessary.

Locking wheel nuts are equipped with a single special key, which makes it very difficult for thieves to get past them while yet making it simple for the car owner.

But what if you misplace the key? Anything is feasible with a little power and the correct instruments following the steps and methods given above.

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