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Tools to Remove Stripped Bolts

Shelly McRae

A bolt is used to join parts together, such as two lengths of wood or metal. When you need to remove a bolt, you may find the head has been stripped and the bolt can’t be removed with a wrench or screwdriver. Tools are available that can be used to remove bolts.

Extracting the bolts using the right tools ensures you will be able to insert a new bolt. With extractor kits, you will need either a drill or a wrench and pliers. If you can’t obtain a kit, you can use the rotary tool method.

Screw Extractor Kit

A screw extractor kit includes several drill bits of various sizes and extractors in several sizes. Though the name of the kit implies it is designed for removing screws, it can be used to remove bolts.

Determine the size drill bit you need and insert it into your drill. Drill the center of the head of the bolt with the bit. Insert the appropriate extractor into the hole made by the drill bit. Use a pliers or vise grip to rotate the extractor. As you turn the extractor into the head, the bolt is released.

Ratcheting Bolt-out Kit

With this type of tool set, you need a socket wrench, sometimes referred to as a ratchet. The set includes different sized sockets designed to grip stripped bolt heads. Place the right-sized socket onto the wrench and slide the socket over the bolt. The socket then grips the head of the bolt. You can then use the wrench to remove the bolt.

Grabit Screw Extraction Kit

This kit includes drill bits in various sizes. The drill bits each have two ends, one is for burnishing the interior of the bolt head and the other is for removing the bolt.

Set your drill for reverse and insert the appropriate drill bit with the burnishing end exposed. Using the burnishing tool, clean out the bolt head. Do not drill into the bolt with the burnishing tool.

Take out the drill bit and reinsert so the opposite end, the end for removing the bolt, is exposed. Drill into the cleaned-out head. The drill should be set at a low speed. The remover end of the drill bit will then grab the bolt and remove it.

Rotary Tool

A rotary tool can be used to cut a notch into the head of the bolt. With the notch cut you can then use a flat head screwdriver to remove the bolt.

Use a small cutting wheel with your high-speed rotary tool for this project. With safety glasses on, carefully cut across the head of the bolt. Once the head is notched, you can remove the bolt.