How to Break Loose a Stuck Aluminum Alloy Wheel

Updated July 19, 2017

Alloy wheels are a great-looking addition to any vehicle. Alloys are lighter and stronger than steel wheels. The alloys are held onto a vehicle's hub with lug nuts and are intended to come off quickly and easily once the lug nuts are removed. However, dirt and grime can become trapped between the wheel and hub, causing the wheel to become stuck or frozen to the vehicle. It is often possible to remove the wheel using lubricant and a blowtorch.

Park the car on a flat, well-lit surface. Place the gearbox in gear if it is a manual and into "Park" if it is an automatic. Engage the emergency brake.

Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel that needs to be removed. Slide a floor jack under the car and jack up the vehicle until the wheel and tire are suspended. Remove the lug nuts.

Kick the bottom of the tire to see if you can dislodge it from the hub. Do not make contact with any portion of the alloy wheel with your shoe to avoid scratching it.

Spray a liberal amount of penetrating lubricant between the wheel and the hub where the wheel mounts, if the tire did not move when kicked. Soak the entire area with the lubricant. Let the lubricant soak in for several hours.

Heat the wheel and the hub where they join together with a hand-held propane torch. Heat the entire area. Do not burn or damage any rubber components near the wheel with the torch. Also be aware of any nearby fuel lines or other flammable parts.

Pry the wheel off of the hub with a breaker bar. Pry from the back side of the wheel. Protect the wheel by placing a rag between the breaker bar and the wheel. Use the leverage of the bar to force the wheel off of the hub.

Wipe the back of the wheel and the hub where the wheel mounts with a rag and some degreaser. Apply a thin coat of ant-seize to the hub when reinstalling the wheel to prevent it from seizing in the future.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor jack
  • Tire iron
  • Penetrating lubricant (WD40)
  • Propane torch
  • Breaker bar
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About the Author

William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.