A seized bolt can be a real headache, especially if you don’t know how to remove it. Bolts getting stuck in their fitting place is a common problem when it comes to working with hardware. Then again, if the bolt head is broken, it becomes more difficult to remove the bolt by traditional means. It is crucial to know the methods of removing bolts that get seized and stuck if you work with bolts regularly. In today’s guide, we will describe some quick and easy ways for removing seized headless bolts from which you can choose the most effective method depending on the condition of your bolts. So, let’s dive into it without further ado.
Checking the Bolt’s Condition
Before going straight to removing the bolt, you must first understand the condition of the bolt. You can inspect the bolt with an open eye. Depending on the screw or bolt condition, we will have to pick the method that will be most effective.
1. Is it broken?
If a bolt or screw is seized and has no head, you can be sure that it is broken to an extent. Your mission will be to find out how broken is the body of the bolt is. If only the head of the screw is broken, then it will be easier to remove the bolt as it will have some portion at the top to grab using a tool. But if the inner body of the bolt is broken, it might become very different from removing it.
2. Is it rusted?
The second thing to inspect is if the stuck bolt has rust on it. Bolts are usually made of metal making them prone to rust. Though some bolts in the market have a protective coating on them, the coating degrades gradually. So, the bolt you want to remove may form rust. Rusted bolts often cause mechanical failure. In this type of situation, it is recommended to remove the rust before attempting to take out the stuck bolts. You can use stiff wire brush to remove the rust.
Primary Reasons for Bolt Head Breakage
1. Pressure & Stress: Putting too much pressure on bolts while using a tool can cause
immense external stress on them. The bolt stays under internal and external pressure from before. Putting more force will cause the bolt to cross its stress limit and break.
2. Rust Corrosion: Rust is very corrosive for any metal, and bolts are no exception. If the bolt is rusted for a long time, the metal body may corrode to such an extent that it breaks automatically or with a tiny amount of pressure.
3. Fatigues Failure: Cyclic loading may cause the bolt to have cracks within its body. If the bolt is opened and closed all the time, it will go through fatigue failure, which will cause a crack and eventually break the bolt.
What Problem Bolt Without Head Causes?
1. Damage to the Host Material: When a bolt or bolt head breaks, it jeopardizes the integrity of the host object. The primary job of a bolt is to connect and support various parts of a host object. But if the bolt head is broken, it also causes breakage to the bolt body. Thus, the parts of the host object may become unfastened. If it comes to worse, the parts might even break.
2. Difficulty Extracting Bolt: Without the bolt’s head, there is nothing to latch on to when you try to remove the bolt. So, it becomes almost impossible to remove the bolt if you don’t know how to extract headless bolts.
3. Difficulty Replacing Bolt: There are times when you may need to replace the existing bolts of a machine. It is crucial for some machines that you can remove and reattach bolts quickly. But if the bolt head is broken, then removing the bolt will become difficult and time-consuming.
Easy Hacks to Remove Bolts with No Head
1. Direct Impact: The first method you can try is by putting force on the bolt in the manner of blunt impact. You can take a hammer or rachet to hit the bolt from two opposite directions, preferably up to and down. This force will free rust that has made a bind between the bolt and thread. The vibration from the impact will do the work. Bolts that are lightly seized can be removed using this method.
2. Heat: Metal expands when you give heat to its body. We can use this neat trick in two ways. If you heat the bolt, it will expand, and the vibration from the expansion will remove the rust from the bolt. On the other hand, if you hear up the thread the bolt is attached to, you can loosen up the bolt as the thread will expand with the increasing temperature. Then you can use a hammer or clipper to remove the bolt from the thread.
3. Chisel & Hammer for Relief Cuts: This is one the most effective method for removing bolts with no heads. In this method, you will need to put cuts on the upper body of the bolt where the head was previously situated. Make sure you make a deep cut. You can use a chisel to perform the cutting action. Then use a screwdriver on the cut groove and turn the bolt to remove it.
4. Using Rachet to Rock the Bolts: If the lower part of the bolt is uncovered and visible, you can use a rachet to remove it. Lock the rachet to the bolt and slowly push the bolt back and forth. The force will help to loosen the bolt and eventually remove it. It is a tedious method, so you will have to be patient to get better results.
5. Drilling Method: This is a risky method that someone with prior drilling experience should perform. First, you will need to drill a hole right in the middle of the bolt. Make the hole as deep as the size of the bolt with the drill bit. Now you can use a chisel and hammer to break the rest of the bolt and clean out the spot, which will be filled with bolt residue. This process will completely demolish the bolt.
6. Welding Method: In this method, you will have to use another metal object to take out the bolt. First, you will need to procure a metal object with the same material as the bolt but less radius than the bolt. Now the thing needs to be welded onto the body of the bolt. Make sure the metal object is long enough so you can hold it. After the welding is finished and the metal is cooled, hold the extra object that was just welded and twist it. The bolt will be turned and eventually removed from the thread.
7. Bolt/Screw Extractor: Bolt extractors are widely found in hardware shops. They are suitable for removing bolts with no head. But you will first need to drill a small hole into the bolt using a drilling machine. Then the bolt extractor should be put into the hole like a screw. The extractor will grab onto the bolt, and then you can use the extractor to take out the bolt.
8. Pipe Wrench: For this method, your seized bolt will need to have some portion of its head to grab on. A pipe wrench can be used to grab the bolt without the risk of slipping off tightly. Stuck nut can also be removed using a pipe wrench.
9. Using a Rubber Band: This is an easy method that mainly works on bolts with groove-like screws. Just put a rubber band on the top of the bolt and use a screwdriver. The rubber band will create an adhesive like the joint between the bolt and the screwdriver, which will make the bolt removable.
10. Using Super Glue: This method is quite similar to the welding method we have seen previously. For this method, you will also need an object to attach to the broken bolt. The superglue will act as the adhesive that will create a bond between the bolt and the object. It is recommended that you use a material that is compatible with using super glue. Stick the object onto the bolt with superglue and turn the object to turn and undo the bolt.
11. Using Duct Tape: Duct tape can be used the same way we used rubber bands. A duct tape will create a groovy surface on the bolt that can be penetrated using a screwdriver. This will enable the screw to be turned and removed.
Method for Removing Seized Bolts With Broken Head (Using Penetrating Oil)
This method can be used especially for bolts with somewhat of a broken head, but the head is not entirely detached from the bolt’s body.
All the methods mentioned above will also work with such bolts, and they are easier comparatively. You can use this method as a last resort for bolts with broken heads. Here we will use penetrating oil and remove the bolt using some common tools.
1. Essentials: For this particular method, you will need the following things. You will need a wrench extender, a mallet, a box-end wrench, pliers, and penetrating oil.
2. Spay the Bolt: Firstly, you will have to spray the penetrating oil all over the bolt. Make sure that all the open portion of the bolt is sprayed with the oil. It will help to dissolve the rust and corrosion from the bolt’s body. Penetrating oil is an excellent rust remover. After you have generously sprayed the bolt, you will have to wait for the oil to take effect. It takes from 15 to 20 minutes for the oil to cut through the seized bolts rust.
3. Use Wrench Extender and Pliers: Take the box end wrench and connect it with the wrench extender. It will allow you to get a better grip on the wrench. You can also put more pressure using an extender on a wrench. Now put the box end wrench over the bolt and start turning it quickly and with heavy force. It will begin to loosen up the surface of the bolt and thread. If you can’t get a good grip with the wrench, use the pliers, hold the broken bolt head tightly, and turn it in the same way as the wrench by giving quick heavy forces. You can use a mallet with the pliers to hit the bolt head and loosen it.
4. Remove Seized Bolt: As the penetrating oil will have already removed the rust to a great extent, the pressure from the wrench or pliers will be enough to loosen to bolt. Then you will have to twist to bolt and take it out from the bolt thread. Attach a new bolt if needed.
How to Keep Bolts Rust Free
Metal corrosion is a common phenomenon when it comes to bolts. The main reason behind this is the rust that forms on the metal body. If you are using metal fasteners like screws or bolts for a project, you will want to keep them free of rust for as long as possible. Beside rusted bolt, you can apply these methods for rusted nuts too. Here are some tips that will keep your bolts rust-free:
1. Use a high-grade bolt that comes with a protective layer.
2. Bolts made from alloy are less prone to rust than regular bolts.
3. Put dry coating on the bolts before fitting them.
4. Keep the bolts away from water and other liquid materials.
5. Galvanize the bolts with protective materials to prevent them from rusting.
6. Use lubricant oil to keep the bolts from forming rust.
Which Method is Best for Your Bolts?
There are a ton of ways for removing a bolt with no head. But the most crucial thing every reader should understand is that not all the methods can be applied for any seized bolt. You will have to choose from the different ways after inspecting the condition of the bolts. It is an easy task, but it is the most important.
Working with bolts, you are sure to face seized bolts at some point. The situation becomes very frustrating when you can’t remove a bolt that has no head. The methods in this guide are effortless and can be performed by any person with a basic knowledge of hardware tools. If you are stuck with a seized bolt, try out the suitable method from the mentioned alternatives, and you are sure to get a good result. Hope you like our article. We have many articles on power tools on our site. You can also check them out too.