My bike front wheel is stuck. The quick release system is broken I think.

I tightened it with the long part now I can't close it, but the wheel is still stuck.

I can still use the bike but the wheel is not coming out and I haven’t closed the lever, so it’s just open but stuck.

I cannot turn anything. How do I open the QR and get the wheel out?

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  • 2
    Can you hold the plastic bit where the rusty skewer part sticks out (photo on the right) and turn the quick release handle (shown on the left photo)? I would expect the threaded part would come out, but perhaps it's too rusty too turn? Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 23:30
  • 1
    Both are stuck I cannot turn anything Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 23:35

3 Answers 3


I suspect you used the lever in the Open position as a handle for tightening. Don't do that. And there may be rust involved.

  1. Start by putting a small bit of penetrating oil on the threads. Keep it off the rotor and brakes. Wait a bit.
  2. Use the lever in the open position (as pictured) and turn it anticlockwise. If that doesn't help you might need a length of pipe or similar to act as a cheater-bar. You can also apply gentle heat using a hot air blower (not a burner!) to help the penetrating oil move. The threads are on the nut side only, but lubricating the lever side might help too.
  3. Once it does undo, clean the threads and inspect for damage and straightness.

If you find damage to the skewer, replace it. If you just can't turn it, then your last resort is to cut it off through the QR, just outboard of the dropout on the lever side. You won't damage the frame if you're careful, but you will need to buy a replacement QR front skewer.

When you do refit the wheel, the lever should be "hard" to swing into its final closed position but not impossible with one hand while using the other hand to hold the bike.

If you find this difficult to master, it may be worth returning to a solid axle with nuts.

Check your wheel rim for sideways play - I wonder if a cone nut has backed itself out, increasing pressure on the QR.

You might try slipping a cone spanner onto the cone nut where visible, and fractionally tightening it to relieve outward pressure. This will require a special cone nut spanner, and you'll need to reset the bearings once the wheel is out.

  • Is it safe to ride it even I don’t fix it? Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 23:59
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    @DeterioratorofWorldsDominat well, probably, but your first front puncture is going to happen exactly when you're in a hurry. Safety is your decision, but if its not coming out with effort, its not coming out by accident.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 18, 2022 at 0:01
  • I fixed it thanks to you and the other, there seems to be no damage and it’s back to normal thank you Commented Mar 18, 2022 at 9:48
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    Generally very good advice, but "not coming out with effort, it won't come out by accident" is not good advice. For example, things could have gotten loosened enough that it is almost ready to come out, when we give up... but then it falls out. Dangerous. Commented Mar 18, 2022 at 19:51
  • 1
    Exactly, or a pothole could help loosen it — this happened to a friend of mine a while back, he spent a few months in plaster casts regretting it! Commented Mar 18, 2022 at 20:30

As in Criggie's answer, never use the lever of the skewer like a wrench or wingnut. Tighten it with the proper cam action only. The wheel is not safe to ride even now because despite being stuck, it's not actually secure enough against cocked sideways in the frame.

Barring extreme rust, you can probably get it moving by taking a large adjustable wrench and putting it over the square-edged pivot area on the lever end to get more leverage. Do one swift turn and it will probably break free. If it doesn't, use a screwdriver to pop the plastic cover off the nut side, which will reveal the actual steel nut part, which has a knurled outer surface. Put vice grips or channel locks on that while you have the adjustable on the other side. If that doesn't do it, you'll need to cut it off. In either case, replace it with a good internal cam skewer and make sure you understand how to use it safely.


From the picture you posted, it looks like the fork on the skewer side has a closed loop, therefore you need to extract the skewer (which means you have to completely loosen the nut on the other side, which may be stuck because of rust/grit/ aluminium and steel bonding).

  • Oh what the heck, good spot. Huh??? What’s going on there?!?
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Mar 22, 2022 at 19:18

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