Stuck Car Wheel

How to Remove a Stuck Wheel on Your Car

In Tires by 11 Comments

You have a flat tire. You jack up the wheel, but it refuses to come off.

Changing a wheel should not be this hard. A wheel gets stuck due to the accumulation of rust. This corrosion appears in the area between the wheel and the hub. This makes it extremely hard to remove the wheel because it feels like it is permanently welded to the hub.

If you are changing the wheel alone and there is no one to give you that necessary muscle, consider some of the following tire removal tips.

Why Do Wheels Get Stuck?

Remove A Stuck Wheel

If you leave your car in an area exposed to snow and road salt, then these elements can get into your aluminum alloy rims and into the hub where they cause corrosion. These corrosive elements tightly glue your wheel to the hub making it almost impossible to replace a worn out tire. It is not only aluminum wheels that have this problem but also steel wheels.

To prevent this problem from happening, you will need to purchase some synthetic grease, which you can apply on the hub and wheel after cleaning it. You should do this the moment you purchase a new car.

There are those who opt to torch up the wheel so that it expands and dismounts from the hub. This method, while effective, can cause considerable damage to your wheels and is not recommended. The heat from the torch can also melt your tires, causing further losses.

If you have to use a lubricant, go for the dry ones. These can be found in various hardware stores and online. Dry lubricants have fast evaporating carrier liquid; you can also use the lubricant on your vinyl windows.

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It is important that drivers avoid driving long distances with a flat tire. The friction produces heat, which causes the tire to become firmly fixed on the hub. Take your tires for regular wheel realignment – this will ensure that there is no wheel receiving more weight than the others do.

How to remove a stuck wheel or tire

How do you really remove a stuck wheel or tire on your car? Here are a few tips from me which I’m usually using myself. Remember to always use safety equipment and get help from a professional mechanic if you are not sure about something.

Total Time: 10 minutes

1. Loosen the Nuts and Drive slowly

Loosen Wheel Nut

If you are near a service station or a garage, you can use this simple trick to remove a wheel stuck in your car. While the car is on the car lift/floor jack, loosen the nuts but not remove them completely. Lower the car and drive a few feet forward and backward. Repeat this process on level ground. Jack up the car and remove the nuts.
The wheel should have loosened, and you should now be able to remove it. Ensure that when driving the car, that the nuts are not so loose that they fall off and drive super slowly to not risk any accidents.

2. Spray Rust Penetrant on hub & bolts

Rust Spray

If you have aluminum alloys or steel wheels, then the likelihood of rust/corrosion developing on the hub is high. You can use a rust removal lubricant to loosen the wheel. In the procedure, first remove the wheel cap and spray the wheel studs. You can use lubricants like PB Blazer or Liquid Wrench.
After spraying the studs, do the same in the area where the wheel intersects with the center hub. Give the spray ingredients around 15 minutes and then rotate the wheel until it loosens.

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3. Kick by using your foot

Kick Tire

After jacking off the tire, remove the bolts except one. Use your foot to hit the tire while it is off the ground. Check so your car is standing on the jack stands safely. Rotate the wheel and hit it with a kick. With continuous effort, the wheel should separate from the hub and you can then comfortably remove it after unscrewing the last bolt.
This method of removing a wheel stuck on the car is better than using a hammer to hit the stuck wheel. The force from a hammer will destroy the wheel rim and bolts. Once you have removed your tire, use some sandpaper to remove any rust on the hub. The next time you re-install the wheel, apply some anti-seize.

4. Lumber and Heavy Hammer

Sledgehammer

While this technique is not safe, you can try it out when you have run out of options with a wheel stuck on the car. The first stage is to jack up the car and strategically place the jack stands near the tires. Before proceeding, ensure that the car is secure on the jack stands. Find lumber measuring 2X4 inches and place it in the space between wheel and tire.
Identify a heavy duty hammer and then get under the car. Place the lumber across the wheel and tire and use your hammer to hit the lumber. This will free up the wheel and enable you to carefully remove it from the hub. You need to note that this method can be dangerous because you are under the car – should your jack stands fail, the car will collapse on you, causing instant death. You also need to be beefy to operate the hammer.

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5. Take Your Car to a Service Station

Tire Station

If you have tried all the techniques mentioned above and your wheel is still stuck, you may be forced to take it to a tire service station. This is better than hitting the wheel with a hammer and destroying your bolts and hub. Just be honest and tell them that the wheel is stuck before they give you a price for the job.

Conclusion

Having a wheel stuck on the tire is not a pleasant affair – especially when you are in a hurry. The main cause of a wheel stuck on the tire is when corrosion forms in the area between the rim and hub. This corrosive element acts like strong glue and can cause problems removing the wheel from the hub.

There have been various solutions proposed to remove the tire, each with its set of pros and cons. The easiest of the techniques is to find a dry lubricant and spray it into the spaces in the wheel. This lubricant is effective in dissolving the rust formed. You can also jack up the car and leave one bolt still on the wheel.

Use your leg to hit the wheel until it loosens. Some people use a heavy hammer or torch to dislodge a stuck tire, but this can cause damage to the rims. It also requires some muscle.

If you have any questions, leave a comment down below and I will answer as soon as possible!

11 thoughts on “ How to Remove a Stuck Wheel on Your Car ”

Comments
  1. How do you remove a stuck wheel from the hub with 1 ruined and melted down lug nut

  2. Chances are the wheel was put on by a kid with a impact wrench that does bare minimum and tam jam them too tight

    1. Like they said, take it to a shop. I also once had to wrap a chain around my tire, secured the other end of the chain to a truck, and pulled the tire off by force. This is very much not recommended, because it will drop your vehicle to the ground, and will likely ruin your brakes, and possibly the hub.

  3. I like Click and Clack’s solution of loosening the bolts with the car on the ground and rolling the car 5 feet. You can do this stranded on the side of the road and break the wheel free with no special tools or damage to anything.

  4. What if the tire is flat? Can the drive method still be utilized or is it too risky for the hub?

    1. It won’t affect the hub, but driving this way too much will warp your rim.

  5. AFTER ALL ELSE FAILED…. (and safer)
    Went to the other side of the vehicle, slid an 8 foot 2 x 4 against the inside rim (balanced it on a two paint cans to get it against the rim at the right height and gave it a big whack from the other side of the vehicle. Worked first time–wheel fell right off.

    1. Thank you! After trying the other things, this is what worked for me. I sprayed a little WD40 on the hub,
      used two paint cans to hold a 2×4, and a sledge hammer. Popped right off. You sire are a gentlemen and a scholar!

  6. Very sincere & facinating narrative regarding Flat wheel sticking problem that I am currently facing. The wheel appears WELDED to the hub! I propose to use lubricant oil to the gap if any presnet between the wheel hub surface & the wheel rim centre.

    Dont know how to thank you for this very useful and interesting explanation of MYSTERIOUS sticking of these two surfacesm, can not believe RUST has this much bonding affinity!

  7. If you don’t have a hammer, and have too much grey hair to muster much of a kick, try this: use the spare/donut tire and toss it at the stuck tire to generate the force needed to break the rust-bond. Literally had this happen last night, and it worked. Now to get a can of WD40 to keep in my trunk for next time…

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