Products to Compare (max of 3)
Compare These Parts

Busted Bolt Removal

Tags: Tech, Bolts

One of the worst things to deal with when you’re working on your project is a bolt that won’t come out. There are however a few tricks that can help. The first is always a good idea if you’re dealing with rusty or corroded bolts. A good quality penetrating lubricant like WD-40 or PB Blaster will do wonders.

It will be most effective if you give it some time to really soak in. So, if you’re planning to start a project, just go out a day or two ahead of time and spray down any bolts you think might give you troubles. When you are ready to remove the bolts it is always best to try and use a 6 point socket or wrench whenever possible. Only use the open end of a wrench if you absolutely have to. This will reduce the chance of stripping the bolt head. An impact wrench can really help to break bolts loose. I recommend Titan Tools 22160 24V Cordless Impact Wrench, P/N 72822160 from Speedway, or Longacre 68604 Cordless 24 Volt Pit Gun, P/N 47568604.

If you’ve let the penetrating oil soak in and the bolt still won’t budge, the next trick is to apply some heat to the bolt. Be sure there is nothing flammable near the bolt though. If you are working under the car, make sure that any carpeting or interior is pulled away from the back side to avoid a fire. Once everything flammable is out of the way, keep your fire extinguisher handy, and apply heat to the bolt. An oxy-acetylene torch works very well, but a small propane torch will suffice. Often times the heat will help break the bolt loose.

Another trick that can help if the bolt is in a location where excessive heat is not an option is to warm the bolt and melt raw bees wax into the threads. The wax will seep into the threads and help lubricate them. This is an old timer trick, but can work wonders.

Sometimes even if you do everything right, the bolt still strips or breaks.

One of my favorite tricks, which works well on broken or stripped bolts, is to weld a nut to the head of the bolt (or the end of the shank, if the head is busted off). I will typically use a nut that is one or two sizes larger than the bolt. Just place the nut on the stripped head or busted shank and weld on the inside of the nut.

This not only gives you something to grab with a wrench or socket, but is also heats up the bolt to help break it loose.

This trick also works very well on busted studs, or screws with stripped out Phillip’s or Torx drives. (Those stubborn door striker screws are a piece of cake to get out with this method.)

One tool that should absolutely be in everybody’s tool box is screw extractor set, like Titan Tools 16013 Screw Extractor/Left Hand Drill Bit Set, Speedway P/N 72816013. As a last resort, sometimes it will be necessary to drill the bolt out. If this is the case, start by grinding the exposed portion of the bolt nice and flat. Then, use a center punch directly in the center of the bolt. I recommend using left handed drill bits to drill the center of the bolt out. Be sure to keep the drill centered and aligned with the bolt. The left handed drill bit help to try and screw the bolt out as it is drilling. Often times the bolt will come right out, just by drilling into it. If you drill through the bolt and it still hasn’t come out, select the appropriate sized extractor and hammer it into the hole (a few solid taps it all that is needed). Use a wrench to loosen the extractor and with any luck, the bolt will come out with it.

Products Featured in this Article

Related Articles

How to Lift An Engine
by Matthew McClure - Posted in Tech
Different ways to lift an engine, including the most common way and the parts needed to do so.
Thread Sizing Chart
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
Learn about thread sizing with this easy to read thread size chart!
Racing Seat Belt Safety FAQs
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
Learn the difference between a pull down or pull up style harness and if a bolt-in or wrap around style seat belt will be best set up for your race car.
Front Spring Choices for Traditional Straight Axle Hot Rods
by Mark Houlahan - Posted in Tech
It may feel like a daunting task attempting to determine the best leaf spring for your traditional hot rod straight axle build, but our buyer's guide will surely help.
Solid Axle Choices for Your Traditional Hot Rod
by Eric McMillan - Posted in Tech
When it comes to a traditional style build on an early hot rod it just has to be rolling on a solid front axle of some sort. In this buyer's guide we take you through I-beam and round tube solid axles, spindle choices, radius rod needs, and more.
How to Use a Stud Extractor Tool
by Steve Lewis - Posted in Tech
Broken exhaust studs are a common problem. This article describes what you need and how to remove a broken stud from an exhaust manifold. Learn how simple it is to remove broken or stubborn studs with a Titan Tools stud extractor tool.
MSD Ignition Box: Ignition Controller Buyer's Guide
by Jason Lubken - Posted in Tech
Looking for an easy performance upgrade to your ignition system? MSD's line of Ignition Control Boxes offer extreme improvements to drivability and high rpm applications. Here's a look at the differences between the 6 series line-up.
Pyrometers: Probe Vs. Infrared
by Longacre® - Posted in Tech
When choosing a type of pyrometer, it's important to know the differences between prob and infrared. This article compares the two and when to use which kind.
Optimal Tire Pressure Setup for Quick Lap Times
by Longacre® - Posted in Tech
Dirt Track Racing Tire pressure affects many variables when it comes to dirt track racing that can contribute to speed. Find out more on how the right amount of air can help you reach your dirt track lap time goals.
How to Choose a Racing Harness
by Charles Aman - Posted in Tech
Having a difficult time deciding which racing harness to use? With many options to consider from size to closure type, this article will walk you through how to go about choosing the perfect one for you and your race car. Safety first!