Tires tend to go flat at the worst possible times, and while replacing a tire isn’t a challenging task, it can be hugely frustrating in the wrong conditions.
Removing the lug nuts is where frustration sets in for most people. Sometimes lug nuts can get damaged and thus become harder to remove or even stuck. Other times, the lug nut covers prevent people from even accessing the lug nuts.
Lug nut covers are used to conceal the lug nuts on the rim of a tire, mainly for cosmetic reasons, as they’re able to give your wheels a pop of color.
However, they also protect your lug nuts from rust, corrosion, road debris, and high temperatures. If your lug nuts are exposed to the elements, they may begin to rust, making them significantly harder to remove.
The lug nut covers themselves can become deformed and corroded, making them a part of the problem they’re supposed to solve. Regardless, stick with us to learn four ways to remove lug nut covers.
How to Remove Lug Nut Covers
It probably comes as no surprise that you’ll need certain tools to do this successfully. We’re going to walk you through exactly how you can do this and what tools you’ll need.
We understand that we can’t choose where we have car problems, but for safety reasons, please try to park in a safe place with level terrain before you begin.
1. Needle Nose Pliers
Needle nose pliers are ideal because their shape allows them to get a good hold of the lug nut covers. Pliers with broader noses might be unable to fit into the small space to grab the covers.
Using needle-nose pliers is relatively straightforward. Place the plier over the lug nut covers and then close the plier to lock onto the covers. Once you have a tight lock, try to pull out the covers with the plier. If this doesn’t work, wiggle and shake the pliers to loosen the lug nut covers as you pull.
Try to exert an appropriate amount of force. If you don’t use enough force, the covers won’t budge, and if you use too much, you risk fracturing the covers, which will make them extra difficult to remove. A simple workaround for this problem is to start with little force and then slowly apply more as needed. Repeat this procedure with each cover.
For this technique, lubricate the lug nut and hammer the socket into place. Ensure that the socket is exactly square against the nut. Then, using a hammer, tap the socket from side to side and pull it using Channel-Locks to remove it from the lug. That’s why you need to lubricate it so it will slide on and off easily.
This method is much easier if you have an impact wrench available. With an impact wrench, you don’t need to lube the covers; place the socket over the lug nut and gently hammer it into place. Place the impact wrench over the socket, and then use it to loosen the lug nut cover.
Don’t loosen it all the way through, so you have enough leverage to pull your socket out. After pulling out the socket, pull out the covers.
If you don’t have an appropriate socket, you can buy the United Pacific 10259 11″ Lug Nut Cover Socket from Amazon. It’s specifically designed for removing and reinstalling 33mm lug nut covers. The tool is significantly easier to use and doesn’t require extra tools and techniques. You can twist the covers off by hand and then replace them when you’re done changing your tires.
If you require a different size, try the CRAFTSMAN Deep Impact Socket, Metric, 1/2-Inch Drive, 27mm (CMMT16087), or browse Amazon for suitable socket size.
Most lug nut covers are barely a millimeter thick, and after they’re removed, the lug nut is all that’s left. You’ll need a smaller socket after that. So, if your automobile came with a 21-millimeter lug wrench, you might need a 19-millimeter wrench to remove the lug nut today.
3. Channellock Pliers
Channellock pliers work in a similar way to Needle nose pliers. Place the Channellock over the lug nut covers and lock it tightly. When you feel you have a strong enough lock, begin to pull.
For extra leverage, shake and wiggle your channel lock from side to side to shake the lug nut cover loose. Remember not to use too much force when pulling.
4. Lug Nut Cover Puller Pliers
Lug nut covers can be a menace, and as a result, there are special pliers explicitly designed to remove lug nut covers. The nose of lug nut cover puller pliers spots two semi-circle halves that come together to form a circle.
To use these tools, place the circular nose over the lug nut cap and lock it on by pressing the handles together for a tight hold. After this, pull the lug nut cover out.
The design of this plier makes it significantly easier to remove lug nuts. While there are many lug nut cover puller pliers, the LJ INTERNATIONAL Heavy Duty Wheel Lug Nut Puller Tool 90250 Chrome Aluminum for 1-1/2″ and 33mm Across Flat Lug Nut Covers is an excellent and practical choice.
Not all lug nut covers are removable; some covers are part of the lug nut and must be cut off using metal cutters. The majority of lug nut covers are composed of aluminum or plastic, and they are easy to remove with the methods we listed.
To remove a tire, you must first remove the lug nuts, and to remove those, you must remove the lug nut covers. This is because when you try to loosen the lug nut, the covers will turn instead of the lug nuts themselves.
For this reason, ensure you always have the necessary tools available in your car, so you’re never stranded. Find the tool you like most and store it in your car.