Removing Stripped Bolts Part 2: Broken and Rounded Bolts

In our last post, we went through how to remove a rusted bolt. But rust is not the only way a bolt can be stripped. The other two common problems are broken bolts and rounded bolts. To get these bolts out, you will probably need some specialized tools. If you don’t already have them, come to Aubin Ace Hardware for the best selection of tools in Manchester, NH! Our knowledgeable staff will help you find what you need to get those stubborn bolts out.


Pick up the tools you need in Manchester, NH, and let’s remove some stripped bolts!


Removing Broken Bolts

Let’s start with the tools. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Needle-nose locking pliers
  • Standard locking pliers
  • Screw extractor kit
  • Rotary tool
  • Large flat-head screwdriver

For both broken and rounded bolts, penetrating oil can help, but you can still probably remove the bolts without it.

If there is any length of the bolt sticking up, you may be able to grip and twist it out with locking pliers. Start with the needle-nose pliers, as they can grip a very small area. Get the pliers around the bolt and lock the handle for a better grip. Once you have twisted it up far enough, switch to the standard locking pliers so you can grip a larger area of the bolt.

For broken bolts that are flush with the surface they are stuck in, you’ll need another method. You can either use a screw extractor set or a rotary cutting tool to cut a groove and use a flat-head screwdriver to remove the bolt like a screw.


Removing Rounded Bolts

You’ll need a few different tools to remove rounded bolts, but there is a lot of overlap. Here’s the list:

  • Standard locking pliers
  • Bolt extraction kit
  • Socket wrench handle
  • Rotary tool
  • Large flat-head screwdriver

A rounded bolt is a bolt with a head so worn that a hex wrench can’t get a grip on it. When removing one, the first tool to try is locking pliers. Get as tight a grip as you can on the head, lock the handles, and twist the bolt until it is far enough out to grip it lower down.

If you can’t get it out with locking pliers, you can use a bolt extractor set. Start by applying penetrating oil to the bolt. Then place the socket over the bolt head and tap it down with a hammer. Turn the handle counterclockwise until the socket grips the metal. Keep turning until the bolt comes out.

A bolt extractor set should do the trick, but if not, you can cut a groove in the head of the bolt to remove it with a screwdriver, just like you can for a broken bolt.


Finish all your weekend projects with Aubin! We have everything you need, including the best selection of tools in Manchester, NH.