How to Remove a Stripped Hex Bolt

Written by aryeh raphael
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How to Remove a Stripped Hex Bolt
You will need several tools to remove a hex bolt. (bolt image by Sergey Galushko from

No matter how handy you are, inevitably there will come a time when you will come face to face with a stripped hex bolt that is almost impossible to remove. There is no need to panic. Most stripped hex nuts, whether in a car, bike or on a skateboard can easily be removed. All you need are the right tools and patience. If you do this job at home, you will save yourself the inconvenience and cost of taking your project to a mechanic.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hex driver
  • Rotary tool and cutting wheel
  • Vice grips
  • Drill and bits
  • Screw extractor kit with a bit that will fit into the head of the bolt

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  1. 1

    Take a hex driver that is a little bit larger than the head of the bolt you are attempting to remove. Put the driver on the head of the pesky bolt. Turn the driver and try to loosen the bolt. Occasionally, by allowing extra room, you can slide the bolt out even though it is stripped.

  2. 2

    Use a rotary tool and a cutting wheel to make a notch on the head of the bolt. Make sure it is deep enough to insert the blade of a screwdriver. Stick a flat head screwdriver into the notch. Turn the screwdriver and try to “unscrew” the bolt. If that does not work, continue to Step 3.

  3. 3

    Take your cutting wheel and rotary tool and cut off the bolt head. Leave enough thread to be gripped by a pair of vice grips. The top of the “screw” is now the bolt head. Attempt to pull the bolt out with the vice grips.

  4. 4

    Drill into the centre of the bolt with a small enough drill bit to fit into the head. Use the same size drill bit as the screw extractor. Press the screw extractor in the hole you have drilled. Be gentle and do not force the extractor into the bolt because it might crack it. Turn the extractor counterclockwise and work the bolt out.

Tips and warnings

  • Try heating the head of the bolt to before you remove it to loosen it up.

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