Tire Won’t Come Off – How to Remove a Stuck Wheel

If you get a flat tire and go to change your wheel but find your wheel appears to be stuck, you may begin to panic.

However, this is more common than you may think and we’re going to tell you how to solve this problem quickly and easily.

Why is My Car Wheel Stuck?

The most common reason why wheels get stuck is because of corrosion. Most modern cars are equipped with alloy wheels, and while they have many advantages, they are more prone to a build-up of corrosion between the hub and the wheel because the hub is made of steel.

Because the wheels are so close to the ground and travel through different surfaces, in different weather conditions, dirt and grime can work its way onto the mating surface between the hub and wheel.

If you live in a wet area, the problem also seems to be more prevalent; this is because there is more moisture getting between the two surfaces and carrying dirt and grit with it.

While wheels getting stuck is much more common with alloys, it can still happen with steel wheels. Either way, removing them and preventing the problem from recurring is carried out the same way.

How to Remove a Wheel That is Stuck?

The first and most important thing to note before attempting to remove a stuck wheel is safety. It is crucially important to make sure your car is secure.

This can be done by placing axle stands under your car after you jack it up. If you don’t have axle stands, you can use the spare wheel, and if this is not high enough, you can add a piece of would to the top.

Once you have loosened the lug nuts and jack the car up in a secure manner, you can fully remove all the lug nuts.

Method One-Blunt Force

As we have established above, the reason why wheels get stuck is because of corrosion and dirt. So the first method I usually try is the quickest and easiest.

In most cases, applying some blunt force to the tire is enough to loosen the wheel. This can be done with some timber if you are at home. Using a thick piece of timber, place it behind the wheel on the surface of the tire and whack it a few times to loosen the wheel.

If you happen to be stuck with a flat tire away from home with no access to a hammer or timber, you can try using the sole of your foot; this method has worked for me on many occasions.

Start by sitting on the ground facing the outside of the tire. Use the sole of your foot to kick one side of the tire, left or right, then the other side. Repeat this a few times until the tire loosens; at this stage, you should be able to wiggle it off.

Method Two-Heat

Tire won’t come off

Ask any mechanic or car enthusiast, and they will tell you their favorite tool is a blow torch. Things on cars get stuck more often than we like, and the easiest way of loosening these things is with heat.

This is no different for a stuck wheel. However, this method needs a blow torch and a bit more planning to be successful, although it is not very technical.

With the car jacked up and secured, use your blow torch to heat the mating surface of the hub and wheel. 

This method requires you to pay extra attention so as not to burn any brake lines or cv joint boots. The best area to heat is the center of the wheel that is facing out; this causes less risk of burning any other parts. 

Adding some lubricant like WD40 works extremely well with this method. Heat the area for 1-2 minutes and then spray the lubricant between the wheel and hub. Try rocking the wheel and see if it has come loose, it may need some blunt force like the method mentioned above. 

If it still hasn’t loosened, repeat the process, however, be careful as the lubricant you have just sprayed is highly flammable, so make sure it is fully dried out or wiped away before using the blow torch again.

Method Three-Rotation

This method is best done at home, and I do not recommend trying this in any unsafe area like the side of a road. 

This method is for only if the other two methods did not work and you have exhausted all other methods. 

Loosen the lug nuts on the vehicle one at a time and tighten them back up to hand tight, now loosen the nuts again about five turns.

With all nuts loosened five turns from tight, sit into the car and drive it back and forth a couple of inches. Do not drive the car more than a couple of inches back and forth as you may risk damaging your car.

How to Prevent Wheel From Sticking?

As with most mechanical things, prevention is the best cure. If your hubs or wheels are in poor condition, you will need a wire brush to clean them.

When rotating your tires, it’s a good idea to clean the hub and the wheel at the same time; this prevents the build-up of dirt and corrosion and, inevitably, a stuck wheel.

Copper grease is also a great addition to your regular maintenance. When you rotate your wheels, adding a thin film of copper grease around the central hub will help to prevent the wheel from getting stuck.

Conclusion

Wheels getting stuck is a common occurrence, but it doesn’t need to be. Through proper maintenance, you can prevent your wheels from becoming stuck.

However, if you are stranded with a stuck wheel, blunt force is usually the best method to remove it.

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