Valve Stem Cap Stuck: How To Remove

Robert Herrera-COR-Wheels

By Robert Herrera

Last updated:

Tire valves keep the internal tire structure from pressure leaks and moisture. This component also comes with a metal or plastic cap, which enhances body protection and aesthetics. However, car owners may sometimes experience an odd situation – the valve stems won’t come out due to dust, cold, or rust in the grooves. 

Unfortunately, loosening requires strength and effort despite requiring only a few tools. If you have the same problem with your vehicle, do not skip our simple guide to dealing with the metal valve stem caps stuck.

How To Remove A Stuck Valve Stem Cap Yourself

Metal and Aluminum valve

For Plastic Cap

First, prepare a pair of pliers (preferably the ones with sub-nosed) and a spray bottle of WD-40 lubricant. Then follow our steps as follows: 

Step 1

Perform tire rotation so the valve stem cover reaches the most convenient position for your access and maneuverability. Consider removing the tire for easy handling, especially with a rusted-on cap.

Step 2

Spray a lubricant layer on the cap to moisten the threads and wait a few minutes. The meantime allows the solution to penetrate better.

Step 3

Use pliers to secure the valve tip. Be sure to grasp the base of the tool firmly. Take other pliers to hold the cap and twist until it falls off.

Step 4

Clean the grooves again with lubricant. Take advantage of a special edge on the valve repair tool and screw the threads onto the valve body. This action may fix the damaged part, but we recommend a replacement valve cap to avoid a plastic cap stuck on the tire valve in the future.

For Metal and Aluminum Covers

Plastic parts leave you peace of mind as they are relatively easy to handle. Unfortunately, you are sure to struggle with stuck aluminum valve stem caps, and the results are often less than positive.

The first negative news is that the WD-40 does not work the magic in this case. Instead, it would be best if you bought Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster to soak the whole body overnight. Only these solutions come to remove rust – the leading cause of clogged caps.

If this measure does not work out, it is time for hacksaw violence. First, turn on the drill to grind the cap tip. Remember to work on the outside and limit the collision with the threads on the body.

Use a sharp blade to remove the valve from top to bottom of the cap and disassemble the rest with a flat-head screwdriver. This way, you have no choice but to get a new tire valve afterward.

Extra Tips

  • If the stuck cap is not too rigid, it is possible to loosen it with your hand. The main principle is to create counter-pressure on the tire. It would help if you sat on the ground and used your feet to secure this part. Hold the entire valve with a cloth and pull the cap slightly away from the direction where it should be screwed. Finally, apply moderate force to pull the cap off.
  • If you cannot find WD-40 for emergencies, pour boiling water over the stem and follow the rest of the steps as instructed. We have tried this trick many times, and it all worked. Do not forget to dry afterward so as not to leave rust.
  • Some other great aids for stuck valve stem caps are Loctite Freeze & Release or Plus Gas.
  • If you have severe corrosion issues, sacrifice your valve and drill on the stem. Then spray the lubricant inside through the hole for better absorption.
  • Remember to clean the valve cap whenever taking it out to minimize rust and debris or dirt build-up.

What To Do If I Accidentally Break My Valve Cap?

No matter what measure you take, sometimes you apply a lot of force and break the cap. This situation likely happens with used plastic caps because they have been cracked or bent. But do not worry because a cap is always available for replacement. Auto stores or e-commerce sites can offer a dozen high-quality replacements for just a few dollars.


Can My Car Run With A Valve Cap?

Yes. In fact, your car can run without a valve cap and rarely puts you in danger. The only possibility is that a slow air leak causes a drop in tire pressure. Anyway, it takes years to result in bad conditions.

Are All Tire Valve Caps The Same?

Yes. Most caps are one-size-fits-all, but trucks and some premium models may come in distinctive sizes. 

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Valve Cap?

Professional service at tire shops usually costs you about $30. Meanwhile, DIY saves you a significant amount because you only pay for the part that costs about $10.


A tire valve cap stuck can be fixed in just a few simple steps, even by inexperienced people. However, the preferred method is to treat the root of this problem with a thorough inspection and maintenance of every part of the vehicle. This not only limits possible damage but also prolongs the lifespan of automotive components.

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Robert Herrera

President & Automotive Expert at COR Wheels

Robert Herrera has been with COR Wheels for 17 years and has a great passion for the automotive industry. During his time at COR Wheels, he has driven and test-driven a variety of vehicles.

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