How to get wheel locks off without a key

slammed image by Micah Jared from

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.

Drive socket set image by Elzbieta Sekowska from

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

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

Car Brake image by Joelyn Pullano from

Set the parking brake on the automobile.

socket wrench image by Jim Mills from

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

fixing tire image by Joann Cooper from

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

Old metal vice on a white background image by terex from

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

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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.

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