I've seen in a video the advice to leave the wheel in contact with the ground to prevent rotation while breaking loose the axle nut. The specific example I saw jacked the car up and then lowered it again to get sufficient weight on the tire. I don't think the car's normal weight was on it.

This seems like a simple approach to keep the whole thing from spinning, but is there any risk of this causing other problems? As far as I can think, the axle should have no real load on it (not under power / rotating). But I'm no expert at this type of work.

  • I have always broken lugs before jacking , didn't know there was another way to do it. That is "broken" , not loosened Sep 6, 2020 at 15:30

2 Answers 2


If you dont have a powerful impact wrench, then yes break it loose on the ground with car in park or reverse if manual trans, or have a helper apply brakes firmly while you do it.

As Paulster2 stated it is safer to do it on the ground before you jack up the vehicle and put it on jack stands.

  • 2
    To add to your answer a little, leaving the vehicle on the ground is about safety to the person loosening the lugs rather than damaging the vehicle. If you try to break lugs loose while the vehicle is in the air, you run the real risk of moving the vehicle enough to knock it off its jack or stand (if not using an impact as you state, that is). Leaving the tire on the ground gives a lot more stability. Sep 6, 2020 at 15:11

If you mean the nut holding the hub onto the axle, as per the picture in your other post, then yes I will break that loose with the car still on the ground, handbrake on and in gear if manual or use blocks or wedges as well.

I will also position the bar and socket, 1/2” minimum but usually I use 3/4” for that type of work, such that I can have a good grip, keep my back straight and use my legs to provide the force, much more effective than trying to bounce down on the bar.

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