Last night, in the wee small hours, I set about changing the brake discs (rotors) and pads on my 2012 VW Golf.

I lifted the car off the ground and removed all of the wheel bolts. I then found that the alloy wheel was stuck fast to the hub. After much jiggling, tapping, whacking, kicking, yarking and swearing, the wheel was finally persuaded to break away.

This was mildly annoying, it made the job take longer and just generally put me in a bad mood. However, had this happened at the roadside because of a flat tyre, at night, in the rain, with the kids in the car, it could have been more than just annoying.

In the past I've applied an amount of copper slip to the mounting faces to prevent this but I've been told that copper slip is considered by some to be bad practice because it can interfere with ABS sensors plus it can promote corrosion because it is effectively introducing yet another dissimilar metal into the mix.

So, is there some preventative technique I can apply prior to remounting the wheel that will prevent this struggle in the future?

  • 1
    ceramic based anti seize is as good as copper slip without being metallic
    – Martin
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 11:41
  • I've had this happen to me, flat tire at 10pm in a deserted and not nice part of town and the wheel wouldn't come off. After that I've kept a lump hammer in the back in case it happened again. Also good for breaking open fossil rocks.
    – GdD
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 13:08
  • Not an answer, but you probably can crack the bolts (only loosen enough the wheel can wiggle) on the ground, rock the vehicle back and forth until the wheel pops off the hub, and then jack and remove the bolts.
    – James
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


Even with steel wheels I have had this.

Always used a VERY light coat of grease or copper slip and made sure both mating surfaces are clean and free of corrosion.

Even now with the jag I had the same issue when I first got it - now they are clean and with a finger smear so lightly greased and they don't stick...

Never had any issue with abs getting contaminated, but the abs ring is at the back away from where the wheel mounts...

  • Just a light coat of grease works well for me too. Contamination is really only an issue if you apply too much and the excess grease/copper slip gets hurled away from the wheel hub.
    – MadMarky
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 10:30
  • I've been using a nickel-based anti-seize paste on the contact area between the wheel and hub on my 2000 Jetta for many years. It doesn't migrate and the wheels literally fall off when the last lug bolt is removed.
    – MTA
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 15:22

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