Time Needed: 1-3 hours, Difficulty: Low, Cost: Minimal
We’ve all been there. You’re nearly done with pulling a part out, the end is in sight, and then, tragedy strikes. You go to remove the last bolt and the impact wrench or socket spins in place. The bolt is stripped. The odds were not in your favor.
Though you’re briefly stuck, you don’t have to remain stuck in perpetuity. Removing a stripped bolt can, on the surface, appear impossible to remove, especially, if you’ve never done it before. But here at Car Bibles’ HQ, we’ve removed our fair share and are ready to impart our sage wisdom onto you, our loyal readers. Off we go!
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.
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, torque wrench, breaker bar, blowtorch, and penetrating fluid.
Time to remove that stripped bolt. You should always start by applying a light amount of penetrating fluid to loosen the bolt threads (a blowtorch could help too). From there, use one of these three common methods to free the bolt.
- Using Pliers/Vise-Grips/Monkey Wrench
The easiest, and cheapest since most DIYers have these at home, is using pliers, vise-grips, or a monkey wrench. These tools can clamp down on the stripped bolt and can provide enough torque to free it.
- Use Stripped-Bolt Sockets
There are a handful of products designed to specifically remove stripped bolts. They latch onto the sides of the bolt and the bolt can be easily removed using a standard socket wrench.
- Hammer and Chisel
One that’s fairly easy to employ, but carries a modicum of danger, is the hammer and chisel method. All you do is press the chisel to the 2 o’clock position of the bolt, hit the chisel with the hammer in the direction of loose, and repeat until the bolt comes loose.
Your Questions, Our Answers on Stripped Bolts
Car Bibles answers all your burning questions!
Q: How Do You Fix a Stripped Bolt?
A: You can’t, it’s borked.
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. Teethy stripped screw tools can also be used with a drill to pull them out.
Video Tutorial on Stripped 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 stripped bolt. We pulled it from one of our favorite, and most trusted, sources and it’s a great additional resource.
Car Bibles’ Favored Tools and Parts to Remove A Stripped 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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