How can a get a REALLY stuck wheel bolt off my 2016 BMW?

So far I’ve tried:

  • A 450mm breaker bar standing on the end of it
  • GT85 lubricant and the breaker bar again
  • An impact driver with 500nm of torque

Noting I’ve tried has even budged it and the bolt is starting to round. I have a 750mm breaker bar arriving tomorrow but I’m concerned the bolt will just round and get stuck.

I’ve already scratch the alloy while bouncing on the end of the breaker and don’t want to do and more damage as they are expensive wheels.

  • Took the car to my local garage and they can’t get it off with their breaker bar or impact driver either!
    – JamieD
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 17:24
  • Just to be clear, it it just a nut, or is it more like a bolt?
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 18:54
  • 1
    What kind of car? Older MOPAR used reverse-threaded lugs on one side.
    – mike65535
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 19:01
  • HandyHowie, it’s a bolt
    – JamieD
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 20:08
  • 1
    @JamieD the words bolt and nut are not interchangeable, you should use the correct term to describe what is on your vehicle. Bolts go into threaded holes and nuts thread onto studs...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 21:00

3 Answers 3


As a supplement to JeremiahD's suggestion, I would also try applying heat. There is some debate as to whether this car is fitted with nuts or bolts - if it's a nut, heat could be applied to the socket/extension bar while a turning force is applied(encourages the socket to establish thermal conductive contact with the nut) thus keeping the flame away from the alloy. Bear in mind that radiated heat may still cause damage to the alloy

If it's a bolt, heat would be best applied to the back of the bolt rather than the head of it. For this you'd need to get under the car and have a look to see whether any part of the bolt is visible, or whether anything can be removed or have a hole drilled to grant access to the threaded end of the bolt

The suggestion to try turning the bolt the other way (in the comment about it possibly being a reverse thread) may also bear some fruit- I've occasionally managed to free stuck bolts by getting a fraction of movement clockwise before undoing counterclockwise

Failing these, boning up in your metal drilling technique and using a high quality drill bit, you may find it faster to drill a succession of small holes in the head with the aim of weakening the part where the head joins the shaft, shearing the head off then using heat and grips to extract the remaining stud

In terms of using your new 750mm breaker bar more effectively:

1) Select a socket that is a hexagon shape with what looks like rounded out corners (as if 6 holes were drilled then the hexagon were cut between them) like this:

enter image description here

These are much less likely to round a nut than straight hexagon or (worse) 12 pointed sockets (a hexagon overlaid on another hexagon). The reason for this is the rounded corners apply force not to the points of the hexagon on the bolt, but a few mm away from the point, where the bolt head is stronger. A straight socket applies force directly on the pointy bits of the bolt head, encouraging them to round off

2) ensure that the socket is pushed as far onto the bolt head as possible, especially if it has already started to deform. Use a hammer to knock it on if necessary

3) take your hydraulic jack and jack it up til it is supporting the head of the breaker bar (where the bar turns 90 degrees). Broker bars and sockets must extend away from the wheel some way before they turn 90 degrees to become a lever. If the distance they run before they turn is great (like 6 inches) then the downward force you apply to the bar will attempt to bend the bar downwards off the nut. By supporting the bar where it turns 90 degrees you stop this from happening and convert all the force you apply into a rotational one. If the breaker bar were a T shape and you pulled one side up while you pushed the other side down, it would also relieve this problem. Most breaker bars are poorly designed and extend too far away from the wheel, encouraging your downward force to bend the bar off the nut

4) make sure the breaker bar is as horizontal as possible; the more vertical it is the less torque your downward force is applying, as the turning force applied by a vertical weight is a factor of the horizontal distance between the bolt head and the force

  • I used a butane torch to get one of mine off. Heated it up for awhile, let it cool off, put my floor jack handle over the handle on my breaker bar to get some more torque, and they came right off.
    – 3Dave
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 17:09

IDk if you want to do this but you could take a torch to it and that might heat up the nut and expand the molecules enough to break whatever is holding it on. Slowly apply heat while using the breaker.

  • He has nice wheels so I'm going to say that this isn't an option. Plus he added that it's a bolt rather than a nut...
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 22:57

If it is that bad - then the easiest method that won’t cause damage , if done correctly, is to drill it out.

I would make a metal shield to protect the ally wheel and a drill-guide to make sure the drill does not slip . You will also need to control the depth of cut but that is easy to work out using one of the other wheel bolts and it's head (or wheel nuts and the stud)...

One of the wheels on my car was damaged by someone else drilling off a locking wheel nut... who did not take precautions...

And you may find a 6point or hex socket ie hammer gun type may still work on the bolt...

  • Drilling something like this out is something you need to research on its own. You can ruin several drill bits if you don't know what you're doing.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 22:58
  • @JPhi1618 you can buy a lot of drill bits with the money it takes to replace one alloy wheel... I know which I would do...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 6:35

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