How To Remove A Broken Bolt Without A Drill?

Best Handyman Tips 101 – How To Remove A Broken Bolt Without A Drill?

While it’s true that Metal bolts – headed nails/fasteners used to hold two parts together – are meant to be attached & removed as needed, there’ll come a time when, whether its corroded, over-tightened, or otherwise forced; the bolts will break and get stuck, making it a serious challenge to remove & fix the damage. Let’s see – how to remove a broken bolt without a drill?

Generally, this can be a serious bother, especially for automotive repairs. However, there are certain tips & tricks to fix this annoyance – even without a drill!

These are some of the tricks that we, at PHTS, use on an everyday basis. So, yeah, we guarantee that they’ll work.

Below, we’ve shared a few of them;

How To Remove A Broken Bolt Without A Drill?

How to remove a bolt WITH A DRILL? Suppose you do have a drill, kudos! Removing your broken bolt is as easy as pie. Start off by creating a pilot hole in the middle of the broken bolt with a hammer & a sharp bit. Use a left-handed bit (reverse bit) to drill into the bolt – about ¼ inch deep.

Now, swap your drill bit for an extraction one, insert it into the pilot hole, and slowly (20RPM) drill into it until it grabs the extraction bit. Now, it’s just the matter of putting the drill in reverse (again slowly) & extracting the bolt – simple, right?

Naturally, this is the easiest method to fix a broken bolt safely while ensuring you can use the hole to insert a new one. However, the problem starts when you don’t have a drill set at your disposal – what can you do then?

Well, as it did turn out, there ARE certain steps you can take;

Broken Bolt? 7 Ways To Remove A Broken Bolt Without A Drill

Forgetting drills is easier than you think. We’re only human, after all. The below tricks will help you if a bolt breaks & a drill is nowhere to be seen.

Well, here they are;

1) Blunt Impact/Hammer Force 

As simple & rudimentary as it may sound, hitting the bolts can often help remove them, especially if they are only lightly stuck and is open on the other side. You can do it in two ways: one is to forcefully hit the bolts’ center with a chisel or punch. The other way uses an impact wrench or gun to hit it in reverse/forward a few times.

Either way, this often helps to break the corrosion bond or reduce friction between threads with the vibration/impact, making it easier to remove the bolt.

2) The Heating Method

As per chemistry 101, when metal gets heated or cooled, the same will expand & contract, respectively. Likewise, when you heat a bolt – with a blowtorch preferably – the bolt will expand and contract, breaking the corroded threads & be easier to remove. Naturally, this method is restricted to metal surfaces only.

You can also choose to heat the area surrounding the bolt to get it an expanded bit, thus loosen up the bolt and remove it – the choice is yours!

3) Bolt Relief Cutting

Perhaps, this is the “sure-fire” way to fix a broken bolt we can think of – period! You’ll be putting 2-3 deep cuts into the bolt/nut – almost halfway across under this procedure. After that, use a chisel and a hammer to further break the bolt, chipping the bolt away. After that, just clean the threads & use a new bolt there.

With nuts, use the same method to break it open. Then hold the bolt with a locking jaw plier and turn the bolt out.

4) The Welder’s Method

This method is useful, especially when the bolt is so stripped there is no room for locking jaw pliers to grab & hold on to. Simply take a washer and bolt of a slightly larger size and properly tackle it into the bolts body. Once it’s done, fill the nut with weld and run a bead around the base of where it meets the body. 

This allows you to put a socket on the bolt again and room to put the heat so that the bolt expands & contract, making it easier to remove.

5) Bolts And Screw Extractor

When it comes to bolt/screw extractors, some work, some don’t – it depends on the bolts strength & how well it’s stuck. These extractors use hardened bits, which, when used for drilling, grabs strongly on the bolt’s inside to remove it. Many require you to make a pilot hole first, then thread these in to remove the bolt.

Whatever you do, don’t break these bits when you thread them; or you’ll be in a far worse place than before.

6) Pipe Wrench

Back to the basics, this method is especially useful when you tackle a stripped bolt. Just tighten the pipe wrench strongly to the bolt/nut and crank it till the bolts drop out. As much as you crank, the stronger the grip you’ll have on the bolt. Remember, this method only works when there is at least ½ inch of the bolt to hold on to.

Honestly, you should always use this trick first before trying out others. Being a handyman, you’re bound to have pipe wrench handy always!

7) Reinstall Surrounding Bolts

This is for situations when you have a number of bolts holding a part together, and one of them gets broken or stripped out. If this happens to you, just remove all other nuts in the order you first installed them. This should help alleviate some of the pressure from the broken bolt, which in turn may loosen it enough to remove them.

Granted, this way is a bit too time-consuming. However, you also have less chance of damaging the bolting area than some other methods.

Removing Bolts Without A Drill – Now You Know!

A broken bolt/nut can be a nightmare to deal with, especially if you don’t have a drill on you to help fix it at the moment. Hopefully, the above tricks should help you better avoid this annoyance easily – no drill required!

Do note that some of the bolt removing “techniques” we shared above, while they do work, can also – if not careful – damage the area around the bolt. This is more evident with tips 1, 2, and 4 where there is a lot of heating &hitting involved. To avoid this, make sure you’re careful with every move you make. Use lubricants where they’re needed, and go slow when it’s required – this is mighty important.

Some of these tips may also produce flying shrapnel and sparks. To avoid injuries, make sure to wear appropriate PP equipment like gloves, goggles, masks (to avoid welding fumes), and of course, earmuffs can get loud.

So which trick did the job for you? Was it hard? We’d like to know. Please share your experiences, opinions below & let’s get talking!

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