How to Remove a Stuck Wheel

how to remove a stuck wheel

  • Process Steps
  • Causes
  • FAQs

Dealing with a wheel that refuses to budge can become a challenge for even the most composed auto mechanic. Fortunately, with the appropriate tools and some car knowledge, you can remove a stuck wheel without causing damage. Let’s discuss the step-by-step process of safely and effectively removing a stuck wheel. 

Step-by-Step Process to Remove a Stuck Wheel

mechanic removing a stuck wheel
With the right tools and a bit of mechanical knowledge, you can easily remove a stuck car wheel

Here’s the list of tools you will need to remove a stuck wheel:

Materials and Tools

  • Lug wrench
  • Jack and Jack stands
  • Penetrating oil or rust penetrant
  • Dead blow hammer
  • Wooden block
  • Wheel chocks
  • Socket set
  • Breaker bar

Step 1: Ensure Safety First

Before starting the process, ensure your safety and the safety of others. Park your vehicle on a flat, stable surface, engage the parking brake and place wheel chocks on the opposite side of the vehicle to prevent any accidental rolling.

Step 2: Loosen Lug Nuts

One of the ways to remove a stuck wheel is to use a lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts. Do this while the vehicle is still on the ground to provide more stability. If the lug nuts are exceptionally tight, use a breaker bar for extra leverage.

Step 3: Lift the Vehicle

Use the car jack to lift the vehicle off the ground. Once the vehicle is lifted, place the jack stands underneath it for added safety.

Step 4: Remove Lug Nuts

Now that the vehicle is secured on jack stands, finish removing the lug nuts and set them aside. If any of the lug nuts are particularly stubborn, apply penetrating oil to help loosen them. Allow the oil to penetrate for at least 10-15 minutes.

Step 5: Tap the Wheel

With the lug nuts removed, attempt to gently tap the stuck wheel with a rubber mallet or a dead blow hammer. This can help break the bond between the wheel and the hub. If the wheel remains stuck, use a wooden block against the tyre and tap it with the hammer.

mechanic using a lug wrench to loose lug nuts
You can use a lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts of a wheel

Step 6: Rotate the Wheel

Rotate the tyre slightly and attempt to remove it again. This helps redistribute the force and can sometimes break the bond causing the wheel to stick. However, if it is still not coming off, apply more penetrating oil around the wheel studs and hub. Allow the oil to penetrate for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Step 7: Rock the Vehicle

If tapping and rotating haven’t worked, try rocking the vehicle back and forth gently. This can help free up the wheel by shifting the weight on the stuck wheel.

Step 8: Use Heat

If all else fails, you can use a heat gun or a propane torch to heat the area around the wheel hub assembly. Heat can help expand the metal and break the rust or corrosion bond. However, be cautious not to overheat, and avoid direct heat on brake components.

Nevertheless, if you’ve followed all the steps and the wheel is still stuck, it may be time to seek professional help. A qualified mechanic has the expertise and the right tyre-changing tools to safely address the issue without causing damage to your vehicle.

Now that you know the process of removing a stuck wheel, let’s find out its causes as well. This is because addressing the root cause effectively with a systemic approach can ease the overall process. 

Causes of a Stuck Wheel

A stuck car wheel can be caused by various factors and understanding the underlying reasons is crucial for effective troubleshooting and resolution. Here are some common causes of a stuck car wheel:

problem in removing a stuck wheel
A wheel may get stuck due to many reasons such as accumulation of debris of formation of rust on the wheel parts

Corrosion and Rust

Over time, corrosion and rust can develop between the wheel and the hub due to exposure to the elements. This can create a bond that makes it difficult to remove the wheel. 

Moreover, corrosion on the lug nuts and wheel studs can also contribute to a wheel becoming stuck. Furthermore, car rust can accumulate on the brake rotor and calliper, causing the brake components to seize. This can lead to the wheel sticking to the brake assembly.

Wheel Misalignment

If the wheel is not installed correctly, it can cause wheel misalignment and lead to difficulties in removing it This includes situations where the wheel isn’t seated properly on the hub. Moreover, read here to learn all about the differences between wheel alignment and wheel balancing to know when each is required.

Accumulation of Dirt

Dirt, brake dust and other debris can accumulate between the wheel and the hub, making it more challenging to remove the wheel.

Impact or Collision Damage

A previous impact or collision can result in bent or damaged wheel components, such as the rim or the hub, making it difficult to remove a stuck wheel.

Heat Expansion

Prolonged driving or aggressive braking can cause the metal components to expand. Once cooled, they may contract, leading to a tight fit between the wheel and hub.

Thread Galling

Thread galling occurs when there is excessive friction between threaded components, such as lug nuts and wheel studs. It can cause metal particles to fuse, making it hard to turn or remove the nuts causing a wheel to stuck.

Age and Wear

Various car wheel parts, including bearings and bushings, may wear out over time, contributing to a stuck wheel.


Can I remove a stuck wheel at home?

Yes, you can easily remove a stuck wheel at home. All you need is a bit of mechanical knowledge and a few handy tools such as a lug wrench, jack and jack stands, penetrating oil and a dead blow hammer. Follow the above-mentioned step-by-step process of removing a stuck wheel.

Do you put the parking brake on when changing tyres?

Yes, it is advisable to put the car on the parking brake when changing car tyres to prevent the vehicle from rolling and ensure everyone’s safety.

That is all about how to remove a stuck wheel and its causes. By following the above steps, you can increase your chances of successfully removing a stubborn wheel without causing any damage to your vehicle. That said, you must prioritise safety throughout the process and when in doubt, seek professional help.

Besides, if you are looking for a car with high-tech features, here is a plethora of used cars for sale in the UAE.

For more on DIY car tips, stay tuned to the dubizzle auto blog.


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