DIY: Tricks for removing stubborn or broken bolts


Losing your mind because the only thing holding up your project is a seized bolt? Davin Reckow is here to show you the DIY tools and techniques you’ll need to get those frustrating bolts out of the way. Whether you’re a practiced wrench in the garage or a newcomer, it’s always good to know how to push past those project roadblocks.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/05/09/how-to-remove-stubborn-or-broken-bolts


I have enjoyed great succes with just a lighter and candle wax. Get the parts just hot enough to melt the wax into the threads. MAJIC!


What Rich Roesch said!


If you’re working with aluminum and you’re worried about the lack of visual signals to indicate the temperature, pick up a heat crayon at your local welding supply shop. Mark next to where you’re working and when it melts, back off for a bit. This is especially valuable if you’re annealing work-hardened aluminum body panels.


Good info and I like the welding a nut onto the broken stud, I’ve been wrenching for many years and it’s always good to be reminded of time and cash savers, thanks


Not sure if that’s how you ‘received’ the part, but having been raised in the “rust belt” (south central PA) I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS pre-treat things that I intend to disassemble with a quality “penetrating oil” for several days prior to disassembly. I still use the “little at a time approach” when removing the bolt/nut (Patience IS a virtue said my Grandmother - OFTEN!) and usually have pretty good luck removing stubborn fasteners.

I do often use the ‘torch trick’ when it comes to exhaust manifold bolts. Heat them up to ‘nice and warm’ (no need for cherry red) and as it’s cooling give it a good dose of said ‘P-oil’ while it cools.

I have also had success with the aforementioned ‘wax fix’.


A homebrew 50/50 mix of acetone and synthetic ATF may be the best penetrating fluid. Heat the stubborn part to aid penetration, and let it soak at least overnight overnight.


A trick for removing stuck bleeder screws. Heat up just the bleeder screw to red hot and then quickly cool it down with cold water ( may have to do this several times ) works every time will also work with other stuck bolts and screws


@gyashko - Great tip with the heat crayon. I have heard there are alternatives to the dedicated heat crayon, but not sure I would trust them as much on my more valuable items to disassemble.


If you’re dealing with larger rusted bolts I’ve good success with a blunted tip on my air chisel placed on top of the bolt. A couple quick pulls and they usually back out with little effort. Works good on axle splines in IRS hubs too. The axles usually have that dimple in the tip, I just leave the hub nut on flush with the end when using the blunted chisel tip.
On stubborn small metric Phillip-head screws on Asian models, know that there is JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) screwdrivers that better fit the screw heads and are less likely to strip than SAE Phillips .