How To Remove A Bolt With A Stripped Head

How to Remove a Stripped Bolt [6 Methods]
How to Remove a Stripped Bolt [6 Methods] from


Dealing with a stripped bolt head can be frustrating, especially when you’re in the middle of a project. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can remove the bolt easily without causing any further damage. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of removing a bolt with a stripped head.

Gather the Necessary Tools

Before you begin, make sure you have the following tools ready:

  • A pair of pliers or vice grips
  • A hammer
  • A drill with a reverse function
  • A set of left-handed drill bits
  • A bolt extractor set

Step 1: Assess the Damage

First, examine the bolt and determine the extent of the damage. If the head is only partially stripped, you may be able to use pliers or vice grips to grip onto the remaining edges of the head. However, if the head is completely stripped, you’ll need to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Apply Penetrating Oil

Before attempting to remove the bolt, apply some penetrating oil to the area. This will help loosen any rust or debris that may be causing the bolt to stick. Allow the oil to sit for a few minutes to work its magic.

Step 3: Use Pliers or Vice Grips

If the bolt head is partially stripped, try gripping onto the edges with a pair of pliers or vice grips. Apply firm pressure and turn the bolt counterclockwise to loosen it. If the bolt doesn’t budge, move on to the next step.

Step 4: Hammer and Chisel Method

If the bolt head is completely stripped, you can try using a hammer and chisel to create a new groove for your screwdriver or wrench. Place the chisel at the edge of the bolt head and tap it gently with a hammer to create a small indentation. This will provide a better grip for your tools.

Step 5: Drill a Hole

If the previous methods didn’t work, it’s time to bring out the drill. Use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the bolt head. Place the drill bit in the center of the bolt head and start drilling slowly. Be careful not to drill too deep, as you don’t want to damage the threads of the bolt.

Step 6: Reverse the Drill

Once you’ve drilled a hole, switch your drill to the reverse function. This will allow you to use the left-handed drill bits. Insert the appropriate left-handed drill bit into the hole you’ve drilled and start drilling. The reverse motion of the drill will help catch the bolt and remove it as you drill.

Step 7: Use a Bolt Extractor

If the bolt still won’t come out, it’s time to use a bolt extractor. Select a bolt extractor that matches the size of the hole you’ve drilled. Insert the extractor into the hole and turn it counterclockwise with a wrench or socket. The extractor will grip onto the bolt and allow you to remove it.

Step 8: Clean the Threads

Once you’ve successfully removed the bolt, clean the threads using a wire brush or a thread chaser. This will help ensure smooth operation when installing a new bolt.

Step 9: Replace the Bolt

If the bolt is damaged beyond repair, it’s important to replace it with a new one. Make sure you choose the correct size and type of bolt for your application.

Step 10: Prevent Future Stripped Bolts

To prevent future stripped bolts, always use the correct size and type of wrench or socket. Apply steady and even pressure when tightening or loosening bolts. If a bolt seems difficult to turn, stop and assess the situation to avoid further damage.

By following these steps, you should be able to remove a bolt with a stripped head without much hassle. Remember to take your time, use the right tools, and be patient. Good luck!