If you have ever tried to remove a bolt stuck in a socket, you know how frustrating it can be.
The bolt seems stuck there for good, and you can’t get it out no matter what you do. This is a common problem for mechanics and DIYers alike.
Here I will discuss several methods you can use to remove a bolt stuck in a socket.
Some techniques help us safely remove jammed bolts from their sockets. Here we’ll discuss these techniques one by one.
Let’s start with an example scenario where you have a bolted nut on your hand stuck inside its corresponding socket. The following steps should be followed when dealing with this kind of situation.
- Take out all the other parts connected to the socket except the jamming part (i.e., the bolt).
- Use pliers/vice grips to grip around the head of the bolt and pull upwards towards yourself until the bolt comes out of the socket. If necessary, apply more pressure, so the bolt gets removed entirely from the socket.
- Once the bolt has been pulled out of the socket, examine whether any damage occurred to the surroundings during the extraction process. If no damage was caused, then go ahead with the following technique. Otherwise, try applying force again using vice grips or similar tools and repeat the above two steps.
- Repeat the third step until you successfully remove the bolt from the socket. After removal, scrutinize the area to check for any damages caused to the surrounding components during the extraction procedure.
- Now that the bolt has been extracted from the socket, clean up the oil splatter left behind on the socket after extracting the bolt. Also, lubricate the socket properly before putting everything back into place.
Now let’s see how we can follow the same procedures mentioned above even when facing a stuck vehicle bolt. We’ll begin with the first method discussed below.
Table of Contents
- Bolt Stuck In Socket: How To Remove?
- Broken Bolt Stuck In Socket
- Rusty Bolt Stuck In Socket
- Bolt Stuck In Hole
- Some related FAQs.
Bolt Stuck In Socket: How To Remove?
If you’re driving with one hand and the other is busy working on something else, it’s easy for things to get knocked around inside your vehicle. Your car may have been running fine when you left home, but some problems need fixing. One of these issues could be a car bolt sticking out from its socket.
Below, I covered five ways to remove a car bolt stuck in a socket. I’ll explain how each solution works so you know which technique to try next time this happens to you.
Use An Impact Driver
An impact driver is a tool to deliver blows or impacts to objects. It’s basically a hammer-like device attached to some sort of handle. You can find them at hardware stores or online.
They come in various sizes and shapes according to their intended purpose. A handheld model would work best if you have a small space behind your seat. However, go with a larger table top version if you want to keep everything neat.
Here’s what you should do:
Grab the offending car part (e.g., a broken headlight) by gripping onto any nearby metal parts.
Using the claw end of the impact wrench, pry up the nut holding the bolt in place. This might take a lot of force, depending on how tight the grip was.
Once the nut comes free, don’t drop it! Instead, put it down somewhere safe where it won’t hit anything while you continue removing the rest of the bolts.
Now grab the bolt itself using pliers or tongs. Be careful not to touch the exposed threads as they could still carry oil residue.
Take the bolt and pull it straight out from the socket. Once all the loose nuts fall away, check the shaft for damage. If nothing serious happens, move on to the next step. Otherwise, see below.
Avoid hitting the exposed threads when pulling out the bolt because they contain lubricants. Also, make sure you aren’t yanking too hard on the bolt. The wrong actions here could cause further damage.
It’s also possible that the bolt has become jammed into the socket due to corrosion. In such cases, it’s recommended to consult a professional mechanic who knows how to deal with this situation.
The easiest way to loosen up a stubborn bolt is through heat. When applied correctly, heat can help melt off old grease buildup and break apart adhesives between the two surfaces. Here we show how to apply heat to a car bolt stuck in a socket.
First, let’s talk about safety precautions before applying heat. Never leave hot items unattended near flammable materials like gasoline, kerosene, etc. Furthermore, never hold a heated item directly over open flames without proper ventilation. Doing so could result in burns.
Next, grab a hairdryer and turn it on high until the airflow reaches full blast. Now point it towards the area containing the stuck bolt. Keep doing this till no more steam appears coming out of the nozzle.
Then switch off the dryer and wait for 15 minutes. During this period, the moisture trapped within the appliance will evaporate completely. Afterward, clean the area thoroughly with water to prevent fire hazards.
Next, grab a pair of long needle nose pliers and insert the tips under the nut surrounding the bolt. Gently squeeze together to create enough pressure to release the nut. Repeat this process for every remaining bolt. Finally, scrutinize the areas for any signs of overheating. Immediately stop heating and call emergency services if you notice any burning smell.
Use Rust Penetrant
Sometimes even after applying heat, the issue persists. There are times when you just need to give it another shot. A good option for those situations is to use rust penetrants. These products usually consist of chemicals designed to dissolve metal oxides.
Rust is essentially iron oxide created during exposure to oxygen and humidity. So, once we identify the source of our problem, we can choose a product specifically made to attack rust.
To effectively employ this strategy, first look at the type of material causing the obstruction. For example, if the bolt came out quickly when pulled out manually, chances are that the underlying surface isn’t corroded. On the contrary, if the bolt became tightly lodged when pushed downwards, it probably got stuck due to rusting.
In either case, follow these steps to solve the problem:
Wipe down the affected area with an alcohol-soaked cloth.
Sprinkle the entire surface with salt. Wait for 10 to 20 minutes and rinse well with water.
Afterward, rub the area with baking soda mixed with vinegar. Let it sit overnight and repeat the procedure twice daily.
Monitor the progress regularly to ensure the rusted patch doesn’t spread beyond the treated region.
Another practical approach is to soak the troublesome object in white vinegar followed by scrubbing it gently with steel wool dipped in 3% hydrogen peroxide. Rinse well with clear water and wipe dry. Next, coat the whole thing with paste wax and buff it lightly.
A Screw Extractor
For stubborn bolts that refuse to budge, a screw extractor can come in handy. Screw extractors are specialized devices used to unscrew previously captive fasteners.
Basically, they fit snugly into the recesses of a fastener and allow users to rotate the nut back and forth. By rotating the nut counterclockwise, you can gradually coax it out from its housing.
Simply grasp the nut with a firm yet gentle grip and slowly spin it clockwise.
Before attempting to use a screw extractor, however, make sure to read the instructions included on the packaging.
Most models only work on certain types of fasteners. Some are meant explicitly for hexagonal heads, whereas others target square nuts. Before purchasing a new unit, always ask the salesperson for advice regarding compatible fasteners.
Even applying heat, soaking in chemical solutions, and scraping off excess grime fails to dislodge a stuck bolt. In such instances, it’s advisable to opt for mechanical removal techniques.
Two popular options include sandblasting and grinding.
Sandblasting involves blasting off rust particles with compressed air. While this technique does tend to be less expensive than other approaches, it also carries several risks associated with inhaling silica dust.
Moreover, repeated usage of this method can wear down protective gear resulting in injuries. As an alternative, consider buying a rotary tool called a grindstone.
This particular machine uses abrasive grit instead of pressurized air to remove rust. Although safer to operate, it’s pretty costly compared to sandblasting. Lastly, you can rent a power drill with a diamond bit for relatively low fees.
Remember to exercise caution when dealing with potentially dangerous substances regardless of which method you adopt. Always use appropriate safety measures and equipment when carrying out maintenance procedures. Failure to comply with these guidelines could lead to severe injury or death.
Broken Bolt Stuck In Socket
If you’re stuck with a bolt broken off in a socket, there’s no need to panic. With patience and the proper technique, you should be able to remove the bolt without damaging the socket.
The first step is to unscrew the bolt using a pair of pliers. If the bolt is too tight or stripped, you won’t be able to get it to budge.
In that case, you’ll need to use a hacksaw to cut through the bolt. Once you’ve cut through the bolt, gently tap on the end of the hacksaw blade with a hammer until the bolt becomes loose and falls out of the socket.
Rusty Bolt Stuck In Socket
If you’re dealing with a rusty bolt stuck in a socket, there are a few things you can do to try to loosen it. First, try spraying the bolt with a rust-penetrating lubricant.
Let it sit for a few minutes, then try turning the bolt with a wrench. You can try heating the bolt with a blow torch if that doesn’t work.
Be careful not to heat it up too much, as this could damage the socket. Finally, if all else fails, you may need a power drill to break the bolt loose. Whichever method you choose, be sure to use caution and take your time, so you don’t cause any damage.
Bolt Stuck In Hole
A bolt that is stuck in a hole can be a frustrating problem. Often, the bolt will become impossible to remove without damaging the surrounding material.
Sometimes, the only way to remove the bolt may be to drill out the surrounding material. However, a few tricks can be used to loosen a stuck bolt.
First, try heating the bolt with a torch. The metal’s expansion may help break the bond between the bolt and the hole.
Alternatively, you can try cooling the hole with ice. This can help contract the metal and loosen the grip of the bolt.
Finally, you can try using a lubricant such as WD-40 or oil to help break the bond between the bolt and the hole.
Some related FAQs.
How do you get a metal piece out of a socket?
One way to remove a bolt from a socket is to use a wrench. Place the wrench over the bolt and turn it counterclockwise to loosen it. If this doesn’t work, try using a hammer and chisel to break the bolt free. Be careful not to damage the socket in the process.
How to remove the socket from the wrench?
If the bolt is stuck in the socket, one way to remove it is to use a hammer and chisel. First, chisel a notch around the bolt so that the hammer has something to grip onto.
Next, place the blunt end of the hammer against the bolt and strike it with a sharp blow. This will cause the bolt to become dislodged from the socket. Finally, use a wrench to remove the bolt from the socket.