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How To Remove A Bolt That Is Stripped?

Have you been wondering about how to remove a bolt that is stripped? These problems can be really frustrating to deal with. Stuck hardware occurs when a bolt or nut gets corrosion between the threads and they won’t budge. Many times this leads to breaking the bolt off and having to drill and retap the hold. 

First, we are going to learn what is a stripped bolt. Then we will discuss the possible reasons why this problem happens. Then we will learn the tools needed for the removal of these stripped bolts and then the methods of how this work is done.

What Does A Stripped Bolt Mean?

A stripped bolt is kind of a metaphor for a lot of wrenching projects out there. A stripped bolt has its head rounded by age or misuse. With rounded edges, sockets and wrenches cannot grip the bolt to gain leverage to turn it. Stripped bolts are typically created when a bolt is rusted on, a bolt is cross-threaded, or when a person uses the incorrect socket or wrench size on a bolt. Defeating a stripped bolt is basically a huge task it’s next to becoming a certified wrencher in the eyes of your peers.

What Are The Causes Which Makes Some Bolts Difficult To Remove?

Before discussing how to remove a bolt that is stripped? First, we’ll be discussing what are its causes? Here are some possible causes which make it difficult for bolts to get out in your car:

1. Stripped Bolt:-

The stripped bolt was probably over-tightened. The threads of the bolt or the threads of the associated hole where it is installed have been stripped away. Or there may be a stripped nut hindering bolt removal. The fastener can be turned but it won’t come out.

2. Rusted Bolt:-

This bolt is probably part of a corroded assembly such as parts of the exhaust system. The rusting process has seized the bolt in place. Which makes it difficult to rotate.

3. Broken Bolt Head:-

One of the important causes of this issue is the broken bolt head. It can be the most worst case when the bolt head has broken off and you are looking at a rusty cylindrical pin.

How To Remove A Bolt That Is Stripped?

A rusted or rounded-off bolt, seized in place, will be far more difficult to remove than the stripped bolt discussed above. Often steel bolts installed in a cast iron or aluminum engine block can become sufficiently corroded that removal is extremely difficult. The corrosion process combined with galvanic effects causes the bolt and threaded hole material to chemically bond to one another. Here are some methods through which you can remove the stripped bolts.

Method 1:- Vise Grip Pliers

You need to grip the head or bolt shank with a pair of vise grip pliers. Larger vise grips work better than smaller ones because they can exert more grasping power. Remember when using vise grips that they may tend to slip off the bolt which can gradually wear it away or reduce its diameter, and it may break off.

On larger bolts, grinding or filing a pair of flats opposite one another on the bolt shank can provide a better gripping surface for the vise grips. If space permits a pipe wrench can be used instead of vise grips to grab and turn the bolt.

 Method 2:- Rotary Tool

You should use a rotary tool with a thin grinding wheel to make a straight groove across the top of the bolt. This groove should be wide enough and about 1/8″ deep so you can use a large screwdriver to attempt to turn the bolt.

Method 3:- Bolt Extractor

A very effective way to grip a damaged bolt, nut, or stud is by using an external bolt extractor tool. These sockets have internal spiral teeth with a slight internal taper and are made of high-strength steel. You need to fit it onto a rounded-off bolt head, the extractor must be hammered firmly into place.

Then it can be turned using a conventional 3/8″ or 1/2″ drive ratchet or breaker bar. It gradually increases the torque applied to the bolt to avoid spinning the grip socket on the bolt and rounding it off.

Method 4:- Hand-Held Propane Torch

Using a hand-held propane torch with a fine tip, heat the stubborn bolt for several minutes. By expanding the connected parts, heating can fracture the corrosion bond between the bolt and surrounding metal. You need to apply the torque to remove the bolt as discussed above as soon as you remove the heat from the area.

Method 5:- Ball Peen Hammer

Use a ball peen hammer to strike the exposed end of the bolt. Hit it sharply several times. Such impact can break the corrosion bond that is preventing the bolt from being loosened. Then attempt bolt removal.

Method 6:- Impact Wrench

If sufficient bolt head is present, attempt removal using an impact wrench instead of a socket wrench. The applied impact can often break free an otherwise frozen bolt. Note however that the power of an impact wrench on a worn bolt head may spin the socket without turning the bolt and further round the head away.

Therefore, these are some methods that answer your question of how to remove a bolt that is stripped?


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