How to get wheel locks off without a key

Written by eric tosso | 13/05/2017
How to get wheel locks off without a key
Wheel locks deter rim and tire theft. (slammed image by Micah Jared from Fotolia.com)

Wheel locks, or locking lug nuts, are common aftermarket items that provide an extra measure of security for an automobile. Since a key is required to remove them, car owners with expensive tires and rims gain piece of mind knowing that these parts cannot be easily stolen. It can be incredibly frustrating, however, when the time comes to change a tire and the key cannot be found. In this situation, an alternative exists to using the key, but it may result in damaged or ruined hardware. Use this method only as a last resort.

How to get wheel locks off without a key
Twelve-point sockets are recommended for this job. (Drive socket set image by Elzbieta Sekowska from Fotolia.com)

Find a socket that is just big enough to fit tightly around the wheel lock.

How to get wheel locks off without a key
A small sledge hammer will work well for this job. (a hammer image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

Hammer the socket onto the wheel lock as far as it will go.

How to get wheel locks off without a key
The parking brake will prevent rocking when attempting to remove the wheel lock (Car Brake image by Joelyn Pullano from Fotolia.com)

Set the parking brake on the automobile.

How to get wheel locks off without a key
Don't use a ratchet for this job as it may be damage. (socket wrench image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com)

Use a breaking bar to loosen the socket/wheel lock.

How to get wheel locks off without a key
It's a good idea to have extra lug nuts in the car in case this situation arises. (fixing tire image by Joann Cooper from Fotolia.com)

Remove the wheel lock from the post. The rest of the lug nuts and the wheel can now be removed as well.

How to get wheel locks off without a key
A heavy duty table is needed for this step. (Old metal vice on a white background image by terex from Fotolia.com)

Adjust the vice so that the edge of the socket will rest on the vice and allow the protruding wheel lock to hang down.

How to get wheel locks off without a key
Whatever tool is used, it must be smaller in diameter than the socket for this step to work. (steel rod image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com)

Place a centre punch or other piece of metal in the hole of the socket so that it is in contact with the wheel lock.

How to get wheel locks off without a key
Safety glasses should be worn during this step. (safety at work image by Paula Gent from Fotolia.com)

Hammer on the centre punch until the wheel lock falls out of the socket.

Tip

Since the socket will likely be ruined after this process, it is a good idea to use one with a lifetime guarantee so that it can be exchanged afterward.

Warning

This information is provided to assist vehicle owners that cannot find their wheel lock key. It should never be used for any illegal activity.

Tips and warnings

  • Since the socket will likely be ruined after this process, it is a good idea to use one with a lifetime guarantee so that it can be exchanged afterward.
  • This information is provided to assist vehicle owners that cannot find their wheel lock key. It should never be used for any illegal activity.

Things you need

  • Twelve-point socket set
  • Breaker bar
  • Hammer
  • Vice
  • Center punch

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