How to Remove Locking Lug Nuts if You've Lost the Key

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Using lug wrench to remove lug nut (Photo: @AZ.BLT via Twenty20)
The purpose of locking lug nuts is to deter thieves from easily removing your tires. However, as the vehicle’s owner, those same locking lug nuts can become a challenge if you can’t find the key when you need to change your tire. Luckily, there are other ways to remove locking lug nuts with the help of a few common tools.

Tools You’ll Need to Remove Locking Lug Nuts

You will need the following tools:
  • Breaker bar
  • Hammer
  • 12-point socket wrench
  • Screwdriver or chisel

Determine the Lug Nut Lock socket Size

Compare the locking lug nut on your tire with various sockets until you find the right size to fit it, and then choose one size smaller to use so it can fit tightly over the nut when attached.

Attach the Socket

Using the hammer, forcefully yet carefully knock the socket onto the locking lug nut. Make sure it is securely attached before moving to the next step.

Use Breaker Bar

Attach the breaker bar to the socket wrench. This will give you the leverage you need to turn and remove the locking lug nut. Make sure to take your time and slowly apply force or you may strip the nut. Once it is loose, you can remove the breaker bar and turn solely with the socket wrench until the lug nut is off completely.

Free Locking Nut

Once you have the locking lug nut free, you will need to remove it from the socket wrench. Position a screwdriver at the top of the socket and tap with a hammer until the lug nut pops out.
If you’re changing a tire when removing locking lug nuts, make sure to follow proper procedures and safety measures. If you are unsure if you are up to the task, you can either take your car to a mechanic or have one come to you in order to get the job done.