How to Remove Stubborn Exhaust Bolts

Written by nathan mcginty
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How to Remove Stubborn Exhaust Bolts
Remove stubborn exhaust bolts with various tools. (nut & bolt 2 image by Skip Haywood from

Removing stubborn exhaust bolts can be quite a task. These bolts are exposed to the harsh elements of the environment, in addition to having to withstand high temperatures from a car's engine. But there are several methods and tools available to help you remove stubborn exhaust bolts. Try any one of these methods, or a combination, and you'll be bolt-free in no time.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Penetrating lubricant
  • Nut splitter
  • Impact driver
  • Hacksaw

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  1. 1

    Clean the area around the stubborn exhaust bolt with a degreasing product. This will allow you to get a better grip on the bolt, as well as let you get a better look.

  2. 2

    Apply penetrating lubricant. Allow this to soak in according to the manufacturer's instructions. Attempt to remove the bolt with your wrench by turning counterclockwise.

  3. 3

    Saw off the bolt head. This is best for very rusted bolts. Take a mini hacksaw and begin cutting at the base of the bolt. This may take some time, especially on larger exhaust bolts.

  4. 4

    Use a nut splitter. This device fits over the stubborn bolt in the same manner as a socket wrench. Turning the crank mounted on the end of the splitter drives a sharp wedge into the nut, slowly splitting it.

  5. 5

    Use an impact driver. This tool looks like an oversized screwdriver. It fits over the head of the bolt. Hold the device with one hand and give the end a sharp tap with a hammer. This drives a wedge into the top of the nut and lifts it off the end of the bolt.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear proper protective gear, such as safety goggles, when using these tools. Do not use heat to remove the bolt, as there could be engine fumes present from the exhaust. These fumes are extremely flammable.

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