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Whether you’re working on your car, repairing household appliances, or doing some DIY projects, encountering a bolt that won’t budge can put a damper on your progress. But don’t worry, there are several methods that help you how to remove a bolt in a tight spot without damaging the surrounding area.

In this article, we’ll explore different techniques for removing bolts in tight spots. From penetrating oil to heat and even cutting tools, we’ll explain the pros and cons of each method so you can find the one that works best for your specific situation. So if you’re facing a stuck bolt that’s got you stumped, read on to learn how to remove it easily!

How to Remove a Bolt in a Tight Spot

There are many ways to remove stuck and stubborn nuts and bolts that will save you time and effort. Some of these methods are simple and require minimal tools, while others involve using high-end equipment and more technical know-how. Regardless of the method you choose, always remember it’s important to exercise caution as some can be dangerous if not approached properly.

How to Remove a Bolt in a Tight Spot

Prolonged Chisel Span

Chisel, this versatile tool can help you remove stubborn bolts without damaging surrounding parts. To remove a bolt using a chisel, you will need the following tools:

  • A hammer
  • A chisel ( with a flat tip)
  • Pliers or vice grips
  • Penetrating oil

Now follow these steps for removing a bolt with a chisel:

  • Spray penetrating oil on the bolt and allow it to sit for several minutes.
  • Use pliers or vice grips to grip the head of the bolt firmly.
  • Take your chisel and place it against the edge of the bolt head at an angle.
  • Tap gently on the chisel with your hammer until you create enough space between the bolt head and the surface.
  • Reapply penetrating oil if necessary.

Penetrating oil helps lubricate the bolt threads, making it easier to turn with less force. But keep in mind, some oils contain flammable ingredients that can pose safety risks if misused.

Ratcheting Box And Wrench

The ratcheting box wrench can be your best friend. Here are some things you’ll need and steps to follow when using one:

Tools that are necessary while implementing this method are a Ratcheting box wrench, an Extension bar (if necessary), and Penetrating oil.

Follow the Process:

  • Assess the situation and determine if you can use a regular wrench or if a ratcheting box wrench is necessary.
  • If using an extension bar, attach it to the ratcheting box wrench.
  • Place the wrench over the bolt and turn it clockwise to tighten or counterclockwise to loosen.
  • If the bolt is stuck, apply penetrating oil and let it sit for a few minutes before trying again.

Use Pair Of Pliers

A pair of pliers is one of the most versatile tools in your toolbox. Pliers are designed to grip, twist, cut, bend, and easily hold various materials. They come in different shapes and sizes for specific tasks. The serrated edges on the jaws provide a secure hold that prevents slipping while providing enough pressure to perform tasks effectively. Here’s how to remove a bolt in a tight spot using your trusty pair of pliers:

  • Begin by selecting the appropriate set of pliers, needle-nose or locking-jaw varieties are good options for tighter spaces.
  • Use another tool such as an adjustable wrench or socket wrench to loosen the bolt slightly before attempting to remove it with your pliers.
  • Adjust the jaws of your pliers so that they grip tightly onto the head of the bolt.
  • Turn counterclockwise carefully and slowly while holding down on the head with one hand and twisting with the other.

Be careful not to strip or damage the threads while turning. Once loosened enough, use your hand or a wrench to finish removing the bolt completely.


A lubricant can make the task much easier by reducing friction and loosening the bolt. Here are some steps to follow when removing a bolt in a tight spot using lubricant:

  • Locate the bolt and determine if it is rusted or seized.
  • Choose an appropriate lubricant such as penetrating oil, silicone spray, or WD-40.
  • Apply the lubricant to both sides of the bolt, ensuring that it penetrates all areas around it.
  • Let the lubricant sit for several minutes or hours depending on how stubborn the bolt is.
  • Try loosening the bolt with a wrench or socket but do not force it as this may cause damage.

Heat And Force

Heat is an effective way of loosening bolts that have become seized due to rust or corrosion. Applying heat expands the metal around the bolt, causing it to loosen its grip on whatever it’s threaded into. You don’t need anything fancy, a propane torch will do just fine. To get started, heat up the area around the bolt for about 30 seconds, then try turning it with your wrench. If it still won’t budge, heat it up again for another 30 seconds and try once more. Be patient – overheating can damage surrounding parts or even start a fire.

If heat isn’t working or isn’t an option due to safety concerns, you can try using force instead. This may involve using a breaker bar or impact wrench to apply more torque than a regular wrench can provide.

Caution: Be careful not to damage any surrounding parts by overheating them!

How to Remove a Bolt in a Tight Spot

Home Chemistry

If you’ve tried all the conventional methods and still can’t seem to budge that stubborn bolt, then it’s time to try something different. This is where home chemistry comes into play.

Introducing the 50/50 mix of automatic transmission fluid with acetone. The combination of these two chemicals creates a powerful solution that can break down rust and corrosion, making it easier for you to remove the bolt. Here’s how:

  • Mix equal parts of automatic transmission fluid and acetone in a small container.
  • The acetone will help break down any rust or corrosion that may be causing the bolt to stick, while the transmission fluid provides lubrication.
  • Apply the mixture generously to the stuck bolt and allow it to soak for at least an hour.
  • After letting it soak, try using your wrench again to see if the bolt has loosened up.
  • If it still won’t budge, apply more of the mixture and let it sit overnight.

How Do I Remove A Bolt That Had Its Head Broken Off?

A bolt with its head broken off is essentially useless, as it can no longer be tightened or loosened using a wrench or other tool. This can cause significant problems in many applications where precision and strength are critical factors. A broken bolt also poses safety risks as it may fall out of place and cause equipment failure or structural collapse To prevent this situation, it’s important to choose high-quality bolts made from durable materials with proper heat treatment processes. The use of torque wrenches during installation helps ensure that bolts are tightened to their specified load capacity without over-stressing them.

Now, how do I remove a bolt that had its head broken off?

One method is to use a drill. Drill a small hole in the center of the broken bolt using a drill bit slightly smaller than the diameter of the bolt. Then, switch to a larger drill bit and continue drilling until you reach the threads or remaining shaft of the bolt. You can then use pliers or an easy-out tool to grip onto and twist out what’s left of it. Another method that can work well is welding. It requires some experience with welding equipment but if done correctly it can be very effective in removing stubborn bolts.

How to Remove a Bolt in a Tight Spot

Final Thoughts Regarding “How to Remove a Bolt in a Tight Spot”

It is important to remember that patience and persistence will pay off in the end. Always prioritize safety by wearing protective gear and following manufacturer instructions. By applying the methods in “How to Remove a Bolt in a Tight Spot”, you are now equipped with the knowledge to tackle any problematic bolt removal task. With persistence and patience, you will be able to overcome any obstacle that comes your way. So go ahead and tackle that difficult bolt today, you’ve got this!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does wd40 loosen bolts?

WD40, like many other petroleum-based products, can loosen nuts and bolts. It’s not recommended to use WD40 on bolts that are tightly fastened because the product could cause the bolt to come loose. Instead, use a penetrating oil or a wrench to loosen the bolt.

Can vinegar loosen bolts?

Yes, vinegar can loosen bolts. Vinegar is a weak acid and it can break down the metal around the bolt. This makes it easier for the bolt to come out.

How Do You Loosen A-Bolt If You Can’t Reach The Nut?

If the bolt cannot be reached from the outside, use a breaker bar to break the nut off. If this is not possible, use a hacksaw to cut the bolt off at the base.