Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Remove stripped lug nut

How to remove stripped lug nut

If you’ve got a stripped lug nut, I’ll show you a few ways to remove it. But first you have to determine whether your lug nut is capped or not. Capped lug nuts have a decorative chrome, black or other fancy color that’s fitted over the original lug nut to cover the threads of the wheel stud and provide a nicer look.

Lug nut caps strip more easily than open end lug nut because the entire cap is made from thinner metal. Use the wrong size socket one time and you can round over the corners on the cover and strip the lug nut.

open end lug nut has no cover to protect the wheel stud threads or the internal threads on the lug nut

Open end lug nut with cone/tapered seat

chrome capped lug nut protects wheel stud threads and the internal thread on the lug nut

Chrome capped lug nut


cap removed from lug nut

Cap and lug nut

rounded over corners on a capped lug nut

Stripped lug nut cap

Remove stripped capped lug nut

If you strip a capped lug nut and you’ve used a metric socket, switch to the nearest size SAE socket to get a better fit (or vice versa). If that doesn’t work, get a hammer and small cold chisel to cut off the lug nut cap. Then use the sharp chisel

cut the decorative cap off the lug nut and use a socket to remove it

Find a perfectly good lug nut under the decorative cap.

blade to slice down the sides of the thin metal cap. Remove the cap and you’ll find a perfectly good lug nut with sharp corners. Find the right size socket and you’re back in business.

Remove a stripped lug nut with open end

This is a little trickier. You can try switching from metric to SAE sockets, or vice versa to get a better grip. But if that doesn’t work, it’s best to stop what you’re doing and buy a special stripped lug nut removal socket. They work by tightening onto the lug nut as you apply counterclockwise force. The harder you turn, the harder they bit into the stripped lug nut.

Stripped lug nut removal sockets come in two styles: reverse spiral flutes and reverse threaded. I’ve found that the threaded style works better but is much harder to start. The reverse spiral flute style lug nut socket seems to start right away but doesn’t seem to bite as aggressively once it’s started. Just so you know, removing the stripped lug nut from inside the socket is much easier with the spiral fluted style.

stripped lug nut sockets from performance tool M980 and automotive tools TI4300



©, 2012 Rick Muscoplat



Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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