I have a Vauxhall Astra UK model, not sure they are in the US but don't think that matters... I needed to replace a brake caliper as it was seized.

Long story short:

  • My locking nut broke, the bit in the middle cracked and came out.
  • I hammered a socket over the locking nut
  • It span for ages, didn't come out
  • Realised that the outer collar on the locking nut rotates...

Now I can't get the socket that I hammered on off the locking nut

I'd really love some advice on what my next move should be that doesn't involve alcohol.


  • A photo might help but off-hand perhaps a nut splitter or a grinder with a cutoff wheel might help??
    – jwh20
    Feb 28 '20 at 15:36
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    tapping it hard side to side (or in a circular direction) with a hammer until it comes loose.
    – Moab
    Feb 28 '20 at 15:37
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    "what my next move should be that doesn't involve alcohol." so did the first move involve this? ;-)
    – Moab
    Feb 28 '20 at 15:38
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    You might also be able to put a pair of locking pliers (ie: vicegrips) on the socket and then beat on the pliers to get the socket to come off of the lug nut. Once off, split the spinning collar off of the lug with a chisel. Then you should be able to put a "smaller" socket over what is left of the lug to get it to come off (as you'd planned to do in the first place). Feb 28 '20 at 15:54
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    For the benefit of anyone new finding the thread, you can get locking nut removal tools. The basic design is a left-handed tapered thread that cuts into outside of the nut and then unscrews it. However removing the nut from the tool may destroy the tool, they don't "last for ever." An impact driver helps as well.
    – alephzero
    Feb 28 '20 at 16:58

I would weld an old extension bar into the socket then prise it off that way.

Then drill off the collar and then drill out the nut. Protect the wheel while drilling and also don't damage the stud.

I would source replacement wheel nuts of the non-locking variety...

  • I'm running into an issue where the rotating collar has enough movement in it for the socket to rotate but if I bang it at an angle there isn't enough room there for it to work itself loose...
    – Max
    Feb 28 '20 at 17:02
  • Where I said "prise it off" then I mean use a block of wood and a crow bar with sufficient leverage - not just smack it with a hammer....
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 28 '20 at 17:15
  • You could weld a piece of bar on and improvise a slide hammer to get the socket off.
    – HandyHowie
    Feb 28 '20 at 18:05

If you have a nail with large flat head, but not so large to enter the hole where the impact goes, then hammer into 2x4 and insert the nail head in the socket hole. Get the nail head lodged on the lip where the nut you unscrew goes. Then lever it off, or tap it.


Leverage is the key here. I'd suggest getting a long extension (preferably an old one you don't mind breaking). stick that into the socket, then use a club hammer in a sequential motion - up, down, left, right etc (or rotate the socket alternately 180 and 90 degrees to get the same effect). That should eventually loosen the socket enough to get it off (unless you did really, really well at hammering it on in the first place!)

Then follow @Paulster2's comment to get the remains of the nut off.

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