How to Remove a Broken Bolt or Screw Without Losing Your Mind
One of the most feared situations a handyman or DIY-er can encounter is dealing with a broken screw or bolt. The situation is so nerve-wracking because removing that broken screw or bolt is perceived as extremely complex, or impossible. While it’s true that removing a broken screw or bolt may be a bit challenging, with the aid of a few tools, it’s actually a simple process.
The reason removing a broken screw or bolt seems so challenging is because often, the fastener’s material is stronger than the material it’s embedded in. You have to be careful to not damage the surrounding material while removing the broken fastener. To remove a broken screw or bolt efficiently, you’re going to need a few tools, tips, and a good dose of patience.
The following can be done beforehand, to make the removal process easier:
- You can use a punch to tap the broken screw or bolt a few times. This will loosen it a bit.
- Applying some heat will also make it easier to remove the broken fastener. However, you should be careful when doing so, because the heat can damage the surrounding material.
Once you’ve prepped the broken fastener for efficient removal, get your extractor set to start removing the broken screw or bolt.
You’ll need the following equipment:
First, attach the extractor to the drill. Make sure the drill out end faces out and the power drill is set to counter-clockwise.
Next, place the extractor in the center of the screw or the bolt, and start drilling. Once you’ve drilled a decent hole through the bolt or screw, remove the drill and the extractor. Change the position of the extractor, this time with the spiral side facing out.
Push the extractor with the drill down the hole you’ve created, keeping the drill set to counter-clockwise, and begin drilling again. As soon as you feel that the extractor has gripped the screw or bolt sturdily, start to remove it slowly and carefully, so as not to break it or lose your grip. If the extractor gets stuck to the screw or bolt, use a wrench or a vise to remove it.
Removing fasteners can be done in different ways, using different equipment such as bolt removers or straight fluted extractors. The use of this equipment depends on the situation at hand and the way the fastener is embedded into the material. Be gentle and careful when removing fasteners, so as not to damage the surrounding material or push the fastener deeper into the material.