What can I do to keep the wheels from rusting and sticking to the hub?

I live in Boston, where there is a lot of snow. After a snow season, the wheels rust and stick to the hub so tightly that It is almost impossible to remove them. I tried jacking the car up and “dropping” to loosen the wheels (after loosening the lug nuts a couple of turns) or drive back and forth and stopping hard to get them loose. They sometimes work, but sometimes, I spend half the day trying to get the wheels loose rather than working on the car.

I tried putting wheel bearing grease where the wheel contacts the hub, but that doesn’t seem to work. What can I do to prevent the wheels from sticking? Can I put anti-seize compound where the wheel meets the hub? Any ideas, anyone?

Not a lot. that’s just something that happens when you live in a rust state.

Get a big plastic mallet and after you get the lugnuts off give the tire a good solid whack on top, bottom, left, and right. That’s usually enough to break it loose.

What kind of vehicle is giving you all this trouble?? Are you sure rust is the problem? Marine stores sell a spray-lube product called Boeshield T-9…Treat the wheel and hub with this stuff and the corrosion problem will be solved…It’s not cheap…


You can coat the hub with anti-seize compound.

That’s what we do in Minnesota.


On my wife’s two previous cars, which were BMWs needing winter tires, I started using anti-seize compound where the wheel meets the hub. I had little trouble removing the wheels after that.

I do a couple of things. If the surfaces are rusty, wire brush off the surfaces of the pilot (the center thing) when the wheels come off. Aluminum wheels, just use a scotchbrite pad and maybe a little soap. Steel wheels use the wire brush. Hit the hubs and backside of the steel wheels with a solvent to degrease them. Brake-clean or lacquer thinner. Light (!) coat of paint masking off the stud threads. Be sure to let it dry thoroughly! A little anti-seize on the inside of the wheel pilot hole and re-mount.

If you rotate the tires regularly they should come off fairly easily. Some cars, however, just fit tighter and will give you more guff getting them off. Wire brushing will wear the parts a bit making it a bit easier as time goes on but a good anti-seize (I like the copper-based stuff) is about the best you can do.

another vote for a little anti-seize around the pilot. Remember a little goes a long way and try to keep it off the studs.


I’ve had good success with antiseize as well.

My vote is with the others; use a little anti-seize on the face of the hub.

And if they are stuck on now PB Blaster is a wonderful thing!

I live in upstate New York snow belt territory. I wire brush the face of the hub and paint it with a very thin coat of anti-seize. I wire brush the inside of the wheel where it contacts the hub. If the wheel fuses to the hub despite my efforts I simply put the lugs back and back them off two full turns. Then I drive the car forward and backward a few feet until it breaks free. That saves the energy of beating on the tire for ten minutes like a maniac.

It’s important to clean rust from the wheel/hub mating surfaces in any event, otherwise the wheel may not run true.

Another idea, even though I’ve lived in cold winter climates, I’ve never had this problem. And I never did anything special to prevent it. One clue, all my cars have had steel wheels. Does this vehicle have alloy wheels? I’ve heard of oxidation problems with some of those causing this problem, especially the less expensive aftermarket versions. If you have aftermarket wheels, upgrading to an OEM wheel might help.

If you don’t have anti-seize get a BFH (Big Friggin Hammer).

I’ve had to get a sledge some times to remove tires.

I use a little anti seize and safely as possible give the tires a couple of whacks from the backside,make sure you do this safely dont get any part of you under the car or comprimise the jack arrangement. I use a sledge hammer or splitting maul and make sure I dont have anything under the car to get pinned or smashed,if it would fall off the jack or jackstand(always use jackstands)

The easiest way to prevent this is to use anti-seize compound on the surfaces where the wheel meets the hub. I have been doing this for many years now, with great results. I also use it on the lug nuts and threats. The put some kind of molasses on the road salt up here in the Adirondacks, so the salt sticks better to the roads and whatever else it hits. I can’t imagine a worse case for promoting rust on vehicles. I also use it on the bolts on the calipers and anything else I can thin of - it makes it a whole lot easier to work on my truck and cars.

While I don’t have the road salt problem I occasionally fight a frozen wheel and instead of a hammer I have a 4 foot section of landscape timber that I cut one end down to give a good grip. With it I can smack the tire sidewall without damaging it or the wheel.

I live in the northeast snow belt too (Syracuse), and also used to have this problem. The solution for me was that each Fall when putting on my winter wheels/tires, I spray WD40 on the inside of the wheels where they contact the hubs. I also spray some on a rag and wipe the hubs where they contact the wheels (being careful not to get any on the brake surfaces). I’ve never had a problem taking them off in the Spring since doing the WD40 treatment.

Anti-seize is effective but tends to get on everything. I put a thin coating of wheel bearing grease on everything that may rust - around the hub boss, between the rotor and the hub, and on the threads of the lugs (torque to slightly lower than spec if the threads are greased). The only time I ever have rust problems is on parts that I have never had apart before. If any of my cars used steel wheels, I suppose I would grease the other wheel contact points as well.

If you suspect the rim is rusted to the hub loosen all the lugs 1/2 turn and move the car a few inches forward and back before jacking it up. The rust is not likely strong enough to hold back the wheel against the weight and torque of moving.

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just a dab will do ya!