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DIY: How to remove wheel locks without the key

DIY: How to remove wheel locks without the key

Postby PhreakdOut » Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:38 am

OK, you've searched the trunk, the interior and the entire garage ... and the wheel lock key can not be found. Of course, you immediately blame the last tire shop for not returning your key.

None the less, you have a wheel that needs to be removed and you feel like a complete numbty because you can't get the wheel off.

Here's your solution ....

Here's a sample of a key and lock. This is for another car of course because the key to my Z's wheel locks is no where to be found.


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If you're like most folks, the wheel doesn't give you much access to the lugnut. You can't get a set of pliers on them. Even if you could, how much damage would your wheels take?

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To start, you need a few items.
1) A heavy mallet
2) A 24" Breaker Bar
3) A 3" extension.
4) Craftsman part number 47392 (Lug nut removal tools) You can buy this from Sears for $39.99. You can find it in the socket section.
5) A bench vise


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There are three sockets in the kit.
1) 7/8"
2) 19mm (3/4")
3) 17mm

Each socket has two sides.
This side has 6-flutes. It is used for normal hex nut lugs. You can see the socket extension fits deep into the center.


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The other side, has 12-flutes and is designed for grabbing onto the smooth surfaces such as the lugnut pictured above.

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These sockets are hardened steel and will take a lot of abuse. Keep in mind, they are Craftsman products, so if you get a little too exuberant with it, you can amaze the Sears salesperson by asking for a warranty exchange. (Really, you shouldn't need to get that crazy)

Let's get started:

Find which socket fits best over your lugnut. Personally, I went against the directions and used the 6-flute on the smooth lugnut. It seemed to fit best and the sharp six edges really digs into the chrome lugs.

1) With one hand, fit one of the lug removal sockets onto your lug.


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2) Take the mallet and give it a couple smacks for press it into the lug. Try to hit it straight on so removal tool will fit straight on.

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3) Fit the extension into the removal tool. Attach the breaker bar to the extension.

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4) You don't want the removal tool to shift around when you start to turn it so use your right hand to keep it straight on the socket and your left hand to loosen the lug. If the tool starts to spin on the lug, go back to step #2 and smack it on so the tool is tighter on the lug.

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The lug nut should loosen and come off. The nut will be stuck in the removal tool. It will look like this:

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Take the removal tool and the the stuck lugnut over to the bench vise. Clamp the lugnut down and lightly turn the nut back and forth to get the tool's teeth out of the lugnut.

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The old lugnut will look like this. Note the teeth marks. you can see how this would work.

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It took about an hour to remove all 20 lugnuts. Of course the lugnuts are scrap now so I will order another set.

BTW: I found the lugnut key 20 minutes after I was done. I hate Murphy's Law!
-- The Phreak
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Postby cartang » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:13 am

Great tutorial
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Postby SolaraDK » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:49 am

Great tutorial :)

Who will buy and ship such a socket kit to me ?

http://www.searsoutlet.com/3-pc-Flip-So ... de=buyUsed
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Postby Toy1mzfe » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:37 am

BTW for those without tuner lugs you can use a bigger socket and hammer it in your busted wheel locks and take them out too.
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Postby (K) » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:50 pm

Great post Phreak! I've had to do this once or twice with friends' cars because they also misplaced their keys.

Unfortunately many wheel thieves also know of this technique...An idea I had a while back was for manufacturers to make lock-nuts that didn't have round heads, maybe V-shaped or something. Though I'm sure crafty individuals can overcome this as well, the whole point would be to stall them long enough until you get back to the car.
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Postby ThatVietGuy » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:29 pm

So, where was the key after all?
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Postby Black Bob » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:34 pm

^^^^ (Oh, I can't resist.) "It's always in the LAST place he would look!" :lol:
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Postby 99BlackSandv6 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:49 pm

So this is how I steal rare JDM wheels...Thanks! :lol:
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Postby PhreakdOut » Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:01 pm

Black Bob wrote:^^^^ (Oh, I can't resist.) "It's always in the LAST place he would look!" :lol:


Close, second to last place I looked. Before you say WTF???; I found the key thinking it was the one from my Solara. (Pictured above) I kept looking and then I realized the key shape didn't match the Solara lugs. Also in the first picture.

What a knucklehead!
-- The Phreak
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Postby PhreakdOut » Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:04 pm

SolaraDK wrote:Great tutorial :)

Who will buy and ship such a socket kit to me ?

http://www.searsoutlet.com/3-pc-Flip-So ... de=buyUsed


Thanks for making my day even better. I see you found this kit for $13.93 and I paid $39.99.

Murphy's Law screws me again.
-- The Phreak
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Re: DIY: How to remove wheel locks without the key

Postby Billdo » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:40 am

Had to do something similar when do my brakes on Friday. The place I got tires from used the key with an impact gun to take the lugs off. He came over after he was done and said it was starting to strip and to replace the key or the 4 lugs eventually. Long story short I shouldve made them pay for it since you're not supposed to use an impact with the key. Key snapped Friday so I took a 3/4 socket and wedged it onto the stock lugs with a hammer than essentially used the same technique to get it off with the breaker bar and stuff. I wrecked a sockets but I needed to do it to get the job done.
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