my wheels won't come off!! What to do???

jaansuNovember 29, 2005

My front wheels seem to be fused to the axle. I could get the rear tires off with a little bit of kicking but after removing the nuts, the front ones just laugh at me. Any hints on what could help? Should I spray penetrating oil through the hole in the middle of the tire? Loosen the nuts and drive a little?? Any ideas??

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What make/model car ?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 8:24AM
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I never had this problem until recent years. I have managed to either kick really hard or hit the tire hard with a hammer and get them off. But it has been tough at times. The penetrating oil sounds like a good idea.

A couple of years ago when I was getting tires I saw the tire changing guy using a sledge hammer to get the wheels off a Ford truck.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 8:30AM
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It's a 90 Camry and the wheels come off at least once a year for PA inspection, so they aren't frozen from years of neglect.

That's what I feared. I just have to get a bigger hammer to knock these things off. Never had this trouble with my other cars. How to prevent? Put a little anti-seize compound on the mating surfaces before putting the wheel back on?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 8:59AM
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It doesn't take much corrosion to lock a wheel in place on the hub. The same for a brake drum on the rear. To get them to release fairly quickly, a good penetrating oil sprayed around the large hub hole will help. Don't expect it to release without some extra time and effort though.

Anti-seize may help a little, but a better choice would be something like a good anti-corrosion wheel bearing grease that is used for boat trailers that get dunked when launching a boat. You only want a small bit of it spread on the mating surfaces of the hub and wheel hub hole, and nothing more.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 9:30AM
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I agree with Gooseberry on this one.
As much as I like the anti-seize, the anti-corrosion grease would be better - a thin application is sufficient.
I have been using grease or anti-seize for years...We used a wet zinc chromate paste to prevent corrosion on the the M109 vehicle.. - why have problems ??

Some of this is a product of long lasting tires and brakes, thus it is not necessary to pull the wheels every year..
Anti seize should, even must be used between dissimilar metals..

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 10:02AM
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You can loosen the lug nuts slightly, maybe one-half turn, and drive the car for 5 miles or so. That should loosen up the frozen rim. If for any reason you are unable to complete the maintenance, like an interruption, be sure to tie a piece of colored yard to the steering wheel-this will insure that you remember that you have loose lug nuts on the front wheel. The yarn is removed only when the lug nuts have been re-torqued to final spec.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 10:25AM
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I kind of use Eric's idea But I wouldn't drive 5 miles. I just loosen the lugs on one wheel and drive around the block and keep hitting the brakes until it breaks loose.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 11:25AM
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How do you know when the braking has loosened the wheels? Is there a new sound?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 12:35PM
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Good question Jaansu
Answer = yes !
It will sound much as a worn out CV joint - a click- clack.
Try the penetrating oil(Liquid Wrench or CRC, or Blaster) and mild vibration from an 8 lb hammer..
If the wheels are alloy, you will have fun; if steel, they should almost fall off..

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 2:56PM
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If you have disc brakes on the wheels in question, you probably don't need to drive around the block looking for potholes to hit. Try this. Loosen the lug nuts (just enough to relieve the tension and turn the loosened nuts out about 1/4 turn Move the car back and forth in the driveway and slam on the brakes. You don't need to be going fast to do this. Cycle it back and forth several times to loosen the wheels. You may hear a pop when they come loose.

I like the idea of tying a string or yarn to the steering wheel to remind you to re-tighten the nuts.

The usual place for a wheel to stick is around the center hub hole.

Sometimes, a wheel will come loose by loosening the lug nuts with while bearing the weight of the car. If the wheels do not pop loose, then with the nuts loose and the weight of the car on the wheels, give the top of the tire a healthy whack (inward) with your foot or a heavy rubber hammer. If it does not loosen, whack again at the 3 o'-clock and 9 o'-clock positions. If several tries do not work, then resort to breaking free with the brakes as described above.

It is not recommended to strike the wheel/tire with a heavy sledge because if you miss and hit the wheel, it can be dented, and heavy blow to the wheel may damage the wheel bearings.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 1:07AM
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Gentlemen, a number of excellent ideas and suggestions for preventing the reoccurance of the problem! Thank you very much!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 7:41AM
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Heat will release these puppies you will need to drive around the block while holding the brake pedal down get the rotors good and hot then loosen the lug nuts and the wheel will fall off in your hand. Antiseize works great use it.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 11:18PM
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Six years late on this thread, but loosening the lug nuts a turn or so, and driving worked like a champ. I just swerved back and forth until I heard a clunk and it did the trick. Thanks for the idea!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 12:16PM
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Loosen wheel nuts 1 turn or so ( tie string to the steering wheel to remind you to re-tighten the nuts later.)
spray penetrating oil ? everywhere the rim touches the hub/ drum ( or something else better suited to aluminium / steel bonding ? ) rock the car from side to side vigorously, drive the car, over bumps/ kerb if necessary. Chock and Jack up car, in gear, hand brake off if rear rim is stuck, kick all round the rim ( kicking the tyre might break its seal with the rim ? - do you want this ? ), from both sides, rotating the wheel as you go, hammer against a wood block, again all round. Try some leverage - crow bar - long pole. Get a jack or scaffold pole between rim and chassis ? Centre puller ?

This post was edited by jjjones123jkj on Tue, Jun 3, 14 at 14:01

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 1:54PM
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You do not need to drive around the block. Wheels can be lossened in the distance of your driveway. Loosen the lug nuts, then retighten to finger tight or just a little less. Move the car back and forth and suddently apply the brakes to make suddent stops. You'll hear a 'pop' when a wheel loosenes. The back and forth shocks will loosen all except the very stubborn cases. Applying penerating oil before hand may be helpful. The wheels may not be stuck on the lugs, but at the center hub.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 9:40PM
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