If you do enough work on cars, you are sure to run across a broken bolt, and a fair number of home mechanics break them themselves at one point or another. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, because broken bolts are a regular occurrence for professionals. They are caused by wear on the car, not by your approach to loosening them, and a bolt extractor can help you remove and replace them so you can get back on the road safely.
Stripped Lug Nuts and Bolts
You need a solution that preserves the thread on the bolt hole but still removes the stripped parts your regular wrenches can no longer grab. When you invest in a full bolt extractor set that is designed to anticipate all the common use cases for them, you get the tools you need to handle stripped parts as well as stuck ones.
Bolt extractors for stripped bolts provide you with a way to grab it and turn so that you don’t strip the bolt’s thread or the hole. You still need to replace the lug nut or bolt affected, but you will have the tools you need to drill out a contact surface and use the extractor that suits the job. Choosing the right size is just as important as the right extractor type.
For bolts, you need to create a contact surface for the extractor to gain purchase on a stripped interface. From there, it’s a matter of matching the extractor to the size of that surface and applying the right force.
Extracting Broken or Snapped Bolts
Snapped and broken bolts can be an even bigger challenge than stripped ones, but a good extractor set is designed to handle them. Using something like an easy out socket set to address the situation should give you the range of sizes you need to find the right extractor and turn nut. The key is still to drill as close to the center as possible and to apply force evenly across a smooth point of contact that has optimized surface area. The easy out design just makes it easier to do that than older spline extractor designs.
Additional Equipment and PPE
Extracting a bolt properly means having the tools you need to apply force. Realistically, that means investing in an impact wrench, because when bolts get stuck, you are not going to power through the drilling and extraction with your forearms. With the right bits, your standard drill should be able to do the job, so most well-equipped home garages will not need an upgrade there.
It’s important to remember the right safety equipment whenever you work with malfunctioning parts, especially when you are trying to do something like forcefully extracting broken bolts. Eye protection is absolutely essential, and the right mechanic’s gloves can save you a lot of wear on your hands by minimizing cuts. Start checking out your options for personal protection today to get more done with fewer setbacks when you get in the garage to address those stubborn broken bolts and stripped lug nuts.