How to Get Wheel Locks Off Without a Key

by Eric Tosso
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.

Removing the Wheel Lock from the Post

Step 1

Twelve-point sockets are recommended for this job.

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

Step 2

A small sledge hammer will work well for this job.

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

Step 3

The parking brake will prevent rocking when attempting to remove the wheel lock

Set the parking brake on the automobile.

Step 4

Don't use a ratchet for this job as it may be damage.

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

It's a good idea to have extra lug nuts in the car in case this situation arises.

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

Removing the Wheel Lock from the Socket

Step 1

A heavy duty table is needed for this step.

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

Step 2

Whatever tool is used, it must be smaller in diameter than the socket for this step to work.

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

Safety glasses should be worn during this step.

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


  • 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.

Items you will need

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

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