Time Needed: 1-3 hours, Difficulty: Low, Cost: Minimal
There’s a moment you reach trying to get a bolt loose when you say to yourself, “Just a little more torque should do it.” Then, inevitably, the bolt snaps the head off and you’re left with half the bolt still threaded and the other piece in your hands. Not good, but it is fixable!
Removing a broken bolt has the privilege of presenting as an immediate pain in the hiney. It sets you back, and you’re then stuck with removing it. But with a few key tricks of the trade that Car Bibles’ editors have picked up over the years, we’ll get your project back on track and reduce your input into your family’s swear jar.
The Safety Brief
We want for you to exit the garage with all the fingers you went in with. There’s no need for safety to come third, make it first. To ensure your skin stays unblemished and your bones intact, you’ll want a good pair of mechanics gloves and safety glasses. Let’s start with the basics.
The Tools & Parts You Need
A trip to the auto parts store or waiting on your porch for Amazon can be a time-suck. Don’t spend the day twiddling your thumbs waiting for a package or driving to and from the store. Get everything the first time, such as a tap set, torque wrench, breaker bar, blowtorch, and penetrating fluid.
Time to remove that broken bolt. There are a few methods of doing so, but tapping the broken bolt is really the only surefire way every single time, so we’re going to focus on that method.
As with removing a stripped bolt, you should also always start by applying a light amount of penetrating fluid to loosen the bolt threads—you can also use a blowtorch to loosen up the bolt.
- 1. Make a Small Indentation Into the Middle of the Bolt.
This provides a point to set your tap set drill bit into.
- 2. Using the Tap Set.
Drill into the bolt with the reverse-turn tap (this ensures that the bolt doesn’t tighten when drilling). Go deep enough to insert one of the tap set’s extraction bits.
- 3. Switch to an Extraction Bit.
Hit the extraction bit into the pilot hole,and remove the bolt using the drill’s reverse.
Your Questions, Our Answers on Broken Bolt
Car Bibles’ editors answer all your burning questions!
Q: How Do You Fix a Stripped Bolt?
A: You can’t, it’s borked.
Q: How Do You Fix a Broken Bolt?
A: Again, you can’t, it’s broken.
Q: How Do You Unscrew a Stripped Screw?
A: You can either use the vise-grip method above or use a tap to retap the screw and then proceed as normal.
Video Tutorial on Broken Bolt
Car Bibles’ editors understand that not everyone is a text-based learner. For those kinesthetic people out there, we have your back with a video showing you exactly how to completely remove a broken bolt. We pulled it from one of our favorite, and most trusted, sources and it’s a great additional resource.
Best Places To Buy Tools and Parts to Remove A Broken Bolt?
You can buy tools to help you remove a stripped bolt at almost every auto parts and home improvement store. As well as online stores like Amazon. You have a sea of options to select from. The ones we reach for are these Screw Extractors and Pliers.
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