Mechanic holding item(l), Hands changing tire(c), Tire with thing in it(r)

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‘Used that trick for many years at the junkyard!’: Mechanic reveals how to get stuck lugnuts off your tires with old, cheap Craftsman tool

‘I’ll try this next time.’

 

Chad Swiatecki

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Mechanics in the midwest and northeastern states have a shorthand – the salt belt – for parts of the country where cold winters require lots of salt on the roads. While that salt is essential to break up ice on the roads, it’s also a threat to portions of a vehicle that lack suitable protection from corrosion and expansion.

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Case in point: The rusted-on lugnuts that are causing veteran repair supervisor Rich Poisson plenty of frustration in a recent clip posted on TikTok. Poisson, who posts as @fordbossme and is co-owner of Brighton Auto YP in Chicago, starts off describing the lack of options for removing lugnuts that are so stuck they break the vehicle’s lug key.

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How to remove stuck lugnuts from your tires

Poisson shares that the next option is to hammer the tightest socket head possible onto the stuck lug and then connect an impact drill to the socket and hope when you pull the trigger that the torque pops the piece loose. (He’s using an old, cheap 9-millimeter Craftsman socket in his video.)

If that doesn’t work, then Poisson and many other mechanic say the only other tactic is drilling down the studs that the lugnut is attached to. Basically, eliminating the portion of the wheel base that in all other situations you want a lugnut tightly affixed to.

Poisson, who started his career working for Ford repair centers, said the chrome cap most manufacturers use for their lugnuts isn’t sufficient protection against corrosion, swelling, and other kinds of wear.

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“First of all, it’s a safety hazard. These people breaking down on the side of the road and they can’t change their own tires and stuff like that. Then when it comes to the shop, we have to charge the customer sometimes it could be 10 minutes to a half an hour for each lug nut to get them off of the cars,” Poisson told Daily Dot by phone.

“Sometimes we can pound sockets on, sometimes. But there are some cases where the locks, the actual locks themselves or the swollen lugs, won’t come off,” he said. “If (impact drilling) doesn’t work… I have to go to drilling it out.”

Poisson’s clip doesn’t visually show the process of drilling down the stud, but we found this YouTube clip that does show what an involved and precise process it takes to free the wheel without damaging other essential components. And, don’t forget, after you’ve drilled away half of the stud you’ve got to free it from the attachment mechanism and very carefully install a new one.

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With other auto enthusiast creators making lots of noise about base model parts that lack the protection needed against salt and other hazards, Poisson said after-market parts makers have started to respond to the criticism and are offering lugnuts with caps coated in zinc or other materials that provide a better shield against rust and severe wear.

Commenters on the clip mostly praised Poisson’s creativity at solving the problem, though one said he’s tried welding a nut onto rusted lugs, we presume to use with an impact drill without worrying about wearing down the cap.

@fordbossme

Remove Lock Nuts Easy From These Lugs

♬ original sound – Rich
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“I’ve also welded a nut to a couple that were wicked rusted but I’ll try this next time I don’t like welding a nut to them I’m always afraid of slag damaging the wheel,” he wrote.

Another wrote that welding can be a preferable approach to drilling: “I’ve also welded a nut to a couple that were wicked rusted but I’ll try this next time I don’t like welding a nut to them I’m always afraid of slag damaging the wheel.”

 
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