Tips And Tricks For Loosening Stuck Nuts/Bolts

31 March 2015
 Categories: , Blog


If you occasionally work on your car, then you have probably encountered stuck nuts or bolts before. How did you deal with them? Here are a few tricks and tips to try the next time you hit such a snag:

Get rid of the rust

It's difficult to loosen a nut if it's full of rust, so whichever method you plan to use to loosen the nut, ensure you remove the rust first.

A stiff wire brush does the job pretty well; ensure you work on the nut on the threads from top to bottom. Applying a little elbow grease first often gives excellent results. After that, you can try loosening the nut with the right wrench.

Note that if the contraption was too rusty, then it may have reduced in size, so you may try using the next smaller wrench than the one you normally use for it.

Apply Liquid Thread Loosener

For extremely tight nuts, get some liquid thread loosener and apply it liberally to the threads. These liquids are available in different brand names, but most of them work just fine.

If you don't have any, then you can use a 50:50 solution of automatic transmission fluid (ATF) and Acetone, although it will emit some rather unpleasant fumes. Whichever loosening fume you opt for, you may have to reapply it several times so that it can soak deep into the rust.

Hit It

Applying blunt force, for example, by hitting the center of the bolt with a suitable tool such as a chisel, may also help. The impact may loosen the corrosion bond between the threads. However, it may not work on very tightly stuck bolts, so you combine it with other tips such as heat or liquid thread loosener application.

Heat It Up

Another trick you can try is to heat it up. This may work because metals expand when heated, and contract after cooling. Heat the bolt and nut combination thoroughly, and then allow it to cool completely. The expansion followed by the contraction helps to break the corrosion between the threads.

Be very careful and keen if this is the route you have chosen. For example, the penetrating liquid loosener may be flammable, so if you had tried it, then you need to wipe it off first. Also, you may damage other parts of the car, so it is best to try it if you have pried the part away from the car.

Whatever you do, put your safety first by wearing gloves and protecting your eyes with a welding helmet if there is any heating to be done. If all your loosening tricks fail, then that is a job best left to professional mechanics. To learn more, contact a company like DR Will's And Kahuna's Auto Repair with any questions you have.