11 July 2017

Removing A Broken Lug Nut

Sheared lug nut

While walking around the car the other day, I noticed something strange.  It looked like a lug nut was missing on one of my wheels.  Upon closer inspection, it was obvious that the top of the nut broke off.

The broken nut was a locking lug nut.  It is also possible that the nut was defective and had a crack in it...and while driving the vibrations weakened the nut and the top fell off. It is also possible that the last time the wheel was removed and replaced, the lug nut was over torqued and the top sheared off.  The key showed no damage and it still fits the other locking nuts.   But, there is damage to the powder coat of my whee.

Whatever.  I still have a problem here.  How am I going to remove this broken nut without damaging the wheel any further.  I did some research, and there were a few...I will just say 'options' to extracting to nut.  The best way was to get a twist socket lug removal system.

Twist socket lug nut removal set
Simple to use.  Basically a conical spiral that bites into the broken lug nut so you can twist it off.

One of the 'solutions' I found was to use a hammer and chisel turn a broken jug nut.  The idea was to place the chisel on the top of the nut and hammer it until the chisel bites.  This gives you leverage to, hopefully, spin the nut.  It works, I saw a video of it.  Obviously, there is opportunity to slippage when hammering and the chisel can cutting into your wheel.  Not a good option for someone as clumsy as me.

But, we will use a hammer for the twist socket set.

Hammer time
Hold on to that hammer, you will need it to tap the socket until it bites the lug nut.   On a side note, the above photo is totally staged...and staged poorly.  I mean, really, look how off I am. If  I really swung and hit the socket at the angle, we could be looking at more damage to the lug nut and wheel.

Anyway, it took only a few taps and the socket locked into place.  Also, look at the hammer.  I did not need to bring out the massive hammer.  This was an IKEA hammer that I used, seriously.  The conical spiral design makes sure that the socket will get a good grip on the broken nut.

Another 'solution' I found was to find a pipe that fits over the broken lug nut...then weld it onto the nut.  When use something to grip the pipe and apply torque to remove.  What?  Yeah, this has been done.  The trick is to get a wet rag and place it around the pipe so the heat from welding does not penetrate to your wheel.  Uh..no.  That just sounds crazy.  For one, I do not have (easy) access to a welder, and obviously, there is a better way.

Broken lug nut removed
So, once the socket is tapped in, take the breaker bar and twist off the bolt.  The spiral design allows the grooves of the socket to dig more into the nut.

The processes was way easier than I thought. It did not require a lot of elbow grease.  Much easier than the alternative methods I mentioned.  I am sure I bought a cheap version of this lug nut removal set, and I am sure there are professional versions that cost more than a month's rent. I got my kit from eBay for about $30, and was shipped to me in three days.


Totally random, but the socket leaves spiral grooves on the extracted nut, much like grooves on a bullet fired from a rifled barrel.  Check out the photo, looks like a evidence from a crime scene.

Replaced with regular lug nut
All that is left to replace the nut.  Luckily, I have extra lug nuts.  So, next time you have to extract a broken lug nut, forget those crazy methods that involve chisels and welding...get yourself a twist socket lug nut removal kit...or borrow one from a friend.

On to the next issues.

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