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How to Remove Screws With Damaged Heads

One of the only things worse than a screw with stripped threads is a screw with a stripped head. Often caused by a loose-fitting drill bit or screwdriver, the screw can wedge into a material and become very difficult to remove with the tools that put it there. Conversely, attempting to pry the screw out with the claw of the hammer can badly damage the material it's wedged into. Thankfully, there are a few tricks that can ease the extraction of a damaged screw.

Using a poorly fitting drill bit can badly damage a screw.

Step 1

Attempt to use a different type of screwdriver head than the one that drove in the screw -- ideally a Torx (also known as a star bit) screwdriver or an Allen screwdriver -- with a larger head size. Apply downward pressure and rotate the screw counterclockwise to attempt to grip and unscrew it.

Step 2

Place a wide and thick rubber band over the screw head. Use the screwdriver to dig into the rubber band (providing additional grip) and rotate it counterclockwise.

Step 3

Use needle-nose pliers to grip the screw head once the screw is partially pulled back from the material. Slowly rotate the screw counterclockwise; do not rip the screw out as this can badly damage the housing material.

Things You Will Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Torx (star bit) screwdriver or Allen screwdriver
  • Thick rubber bands
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Hammer

Tip

  • If the stuck screw is not fully embedded in the material, tap it with a hammer head to loosen the material's grip on the screw threads. You can also grip the screw with the hammer's claw and carefully wriggle it around to widen the hole and facilitate its removal.

About the Author

Jason Williams has been involved in journalism since 2000 as both a writer and an editor. Graduating from the International Baccalaureate program in 2004, he has written on a wide array of topics, specializing in topics of natural sciences and technology.

Photo Credits

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