How to Loosen Stubborn Nuts And Bolts

By Robert Robillard on Workshop tips

How to Loosen Stubborn Nuts And Bolts

Loosen Rusty Bolts

Ever go crazy trying to get a rusted nut or bolt loose? I have.

A simple tip for dealing with how to loosen stubborn nuts and bolts that have rusted solid bolts is to employ heat, penetrating oil and tapping with a hammer. These tips will un-stick most nuts and bolts in metal.

Heat It Up

Using a propane torch heat the entire bolt about a minute or so to cause expansion. When the bolt cools to the touch, apply penetrating oil on and around it—and on the the nut if accessible. Tap the end of the bolt a half-dozen times with a hammer to help loosen the threads and allow the oil to penetrate. Wait another minute or so for the oil to work, and then try to loosen.

It’s Ok To Cheat

Use a cheater bar – a short length of pipe— over the end of your tool handle. The extra length gives you incredible leverage.

When a bolt head has become so rounded over try using a locking pliers. With a real tight grip attempt to remove the nut. Be careful, you may have only two or three chances before the head gets too rounded over and you will be unable to get the pliers to lock on.

Cut Your Losses

As a last resort cut off the bolt heads or nut with a hacksaw, reciprocating saw or a cold chisel. Some fasteners, especially rivets and flat head bolts, may be easier to drill out than to cut. Hopefully these tips gave you some insight on how to loosen stubborn nuts and bolts.


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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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