Lug Nut Wrench Extension





Introduction: Lug Nut Wrench Extension

About: I like to tinker, That is what I like to do. Sometimes I drop a rhyme, Along with a tool or two. I use what I have on-hand, I keep projects super simple. I do not need more stuff, What I do have is ample. Dr...

During the months of July and August I have needed or used a Lug Nut Wrench Extension 4 times. More times than I have needed one over the last 10 years. A Lug Nut Wrench Extension is a pipe or another wrench that fits over the lug nut wrench to extend the handle so that you will need less force to turn the lug nut wrench to loosen and remove the lug nuts.

This works because:
Force = Torque / Distance or Length or
Torque = Distance or Length x Force


Torque is a rotational force applied around a point (the lug nut). Put a 1-foot-long wrench on a nut and apply 10 pounds of force to the end. You have applied 10 ft-lb (distance times force, or 1 foot times 10 pounds) to the nut.

Use a 2-foot-long wrench and apply 50 pounds of force, and you'll have 100 ft-lb.

2 Stories:

In July my car's tire went flat (only on the bottom), it was sidewall puncture. While I was preparing to change it an old, 77 yrs old, friend came over to help. He asked if it would help if he removed the lug nuts while I removed the spare tire. I gave him the lug nut wrench. He tried by could not budge the nuts. I told him to wait a minute and I went and pickup my handy dandy extension, which was an old metal vacuum cleaner pipe. I keep in the shed. I slipped the pipe over the wrench and he was able to remove the lug nuts. He was simply amazed. He said he would have to pick something up like this before he went on vacation. I couple of weeks later he was out on his driveway removing and replacing the wheel on his Prius (to see if he could) with a Lug Nut Wrench Extension.

In August my kids and I were returning from vacation when my truck’s tire went flat (only on the bottom), another side wall puncture. My oldest daughter offered to help. I gave her the lug nut wrench while I unloaded the truck. She tried but couldn’t budge the wrench and lug nuts. I did not have an extension in that vehicle, either. So I loosened them and let her remove the lug nuts. After replacing the tire, she tightened the lug nuts. Then I torqued them the rest of the way. If I had put a Lug Nut Wrench Extension in before vacation, like my friend did, she could have succeeded in loosening and tightening the lug nuts by herself.

Real World Application: Garages generally do not tighten to recommended torque, unless you ask, they may hit anywhere between 80 - 150 ft-lbs depending on the vehicle, the mechanic and the impact wrench. The other factor in removing the lug nuts is to overcome friction. The amount of friction required to loosen a lug nut can change over time and with temperature. Having said all that lets look at a couple of "perfect world" examples.

Volkswagen - All model years: 1999-08 recommend 90 ft-lbs. The standard VW lug nut wrench is 11 inches long. You would need to apply more than 90 lbs of force to move the lug nut. Something my 77 yr old friend couldn't apply. By adding a Lug Nut Wrench Extension to increase the overall length of the wrench to 2 ft then he only needed 45 lbs, something more manageable.

Dodge - Durango model years: 2004-08 recommend 135 ft-lbs. The standard Durango lug nut wrench is 14 inches long. You would need to apply 112.5 lbs of force to move the lug nut. Something my daughter couldn't apply. By adding a Lug Nut Wrench Extension to increase the overall length of the wrench to 2 ft then she would have only needed 67.5 lbs, something more manageable.

Now both vehicles have a Lug Nut Wrench Extension. Do not wait until you are stuck along the side of the road saying, “I should have picked up a Lug Nut Wrench Extension”. Go Get One Today!

Step 1: Material

Metal pipe, 12+ inches long with a diameter wider than the lug nut wrench.

Skill Level:

Step 2: Find an Extension

1) Find the lug nut wrench that came with the vehicle.
2) Measure or bring the wrench to find a pipe that will slide over the handle. You can look in a hardware store, home improvement store, friend's garage, scrape metal heap, etc.
3) Put the lug nut wrench and the Lug Nut Wrench Extension in the vehicle.

My pipe came from my scrap metal pile which was from a recently dismantled swing set.

Step 3: Use the Lug Nut Wrench Extension

1) Put the lug nut wrench on the lug nut,
2) Slide the Lug Nut Wrench Extension over the lug nut wrench,
3) Apply 1/2* of the needed force to loosen the lug nuts.

* In my example VW requires 90 ft-lbs of Torque. Torque / Distance or Length = Force

90 ft-lbs / 2 ft long = 45 lbs of force

Step 4: Observations & Summary

The benefits of this are:
1) Inexpensive,
2) Easy to make,
3) Easy to use,
4) Effective means to loosen and tighten lug nuts. If you tighten the lug nuts with the extension then first tighten with the Lug Nut Wrench then only turn the nut a 1/4 turn with the extension. Otherwise you can snap the lug nut off, because you are doubling the force being applied.

I am satisfied with the results.

Hear advice, and receive instruction, so that you may be wise in your latter end.



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    one critical addition, loosen the wheel nut BEFORE jacking the car up (but obviously only loosen it 1/2 turn).

    Years ago I bought a 12V impact driver for a tenner, it just plugs into the car 12V accessory port.

    4 replies

    It's often known as "cracking" the nuts so they're loose when you jack the car up

    Thank you for reviewing and commenting. Wow, a battery operated impact driver, that sounds cool. It must be comforting to have the right tool for the job.

    Keep an eye out for one in your local Walmart type shop. Super cheap, poor quality, but gets the job done. Just what you need on a rainy night when you get a puncture. I'm not talking about a 18V Lithium ion thing here, it's powered off the car and has a sort of internal flywheel that gives the energy to knock off the nut.

    Thank you, I will keep an eye out.

    Looking for one for both my cars because as the write of this article wrote, don't wait. This year I tried to remove the nuts, but wouldn't budge, I guess I am getting old, a long pole worked like magic.

    Would be nice to know where to get these, they don't look readily available.

    I used my extension pole from my hydraulic jack at the moment, but would like one that folds up for both my cars which I can stash with the current lug nut remover.

    Nice article, more should read it.

    1 reply

    Welcome to instructables. Thank you for your review and comments.

    Good thinking using your hydraulic jack handle as a Lug Nut Wrench Extension. There are some after market Lug Nut Wrench Extensions you can purchase which slide open to 21 inches. Check Amazon or your local auto parts distributor. If you would rather look in your local dump or metal recycler for some discarded piping.

    While talking with my neighbor about one for his trip, he thought about a collapsible style, but went with a 12 piece of pipe. I like to say, "Keep it simple."

    u da man! I'm gonna get me a four footer for my lexus.

    1 reply

    Thank you for your comments. WOW, depending on which Model, you would need anywhere from 20 lbs to 30 lbs of force. That sounds so lite. I had considered making a retractable or sectional extension, but I decided to just go with increasing the lug nut wrench to 2 feet. Go for it, though.

    Oh, and make sure you check the air preassure in your spare when you fill your regular tires. Nothing is worse than a flat tire and a flat spare!

    1 reply

    That gives me an idea for a instructable. Thank you.

    I use 'cheater bars' every day for work, but this is well presented, so congratulations. If you want take it a step further and slip some square tube over a 1/2 inch ratchet! I'm glad that someone pointed out that this is not an installation tool. Over tightening leads to stretched wheel studs and then a wheel hub replacement. If you install your spare, drive a few miles and then re tighten your lugs. They loosen up pretty quick! After a second tightening, they pretty much stay put.

    1 reply

    Thank you for reviewing and commenting. I noticed that I had to re-tighten the lug nuts on the Durango a few days after installing the spare tire. Thank you for the tip.

    This is a winner. It gets the KISS award. Keep It Simple Stupid. It can't be easier. Thank you.

    1 reply

    Thank you for your comments. As you say, "It can't be easier". That is why I like to say "Keep It Super Simple." Thank you for reviewing and commenting.

    Nice physics lesson slipped in here. This really clever and I bet it makes the whole process much easier. Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply

    Thank you for reviewing and commenting. Using science to prove or sovle problems is one of the added features here on instructables at no extra charge. Yes, with the bar my friend was physically able to help me, otherwise he would have only been moral support.

    These cheater bars can definitely help getting those extra tight nuts and bolts loosened, but they should not be used when you put the nuts or bolts back on. You can easily over torque the thing you are trying to tighten and snap the bolt

    1 reply

    Very good point. Thank you for bringing this up. IF you tighten the lug nuts up with the attached extension then only tighten a quarter turn. Remember you are doubling the amount of force being applied.

    Thank you for reviewing and commenting.

    My father did something like that 1 year ago for my car. Misteriously, it disapper from my garage, we should do another one :D