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How to Fix a Broken Bathtub Faucet

When a bathtub faucet is broken, replacing the broken parts is the only way to repair it. The most common part to break on any faucet is the cartridge or diverter and handle. These two parts are the most commonly and frequently used, and are easy to replace. It takes about a half an hour to replace both, even if you have only limited experience handling tools and repairing appliances.

Repair a broken tub faucet by replacing the handle or cartridge.
  1. Turn off the water supply.
  2. Take the handle off by taking out the small screw on the base of the handle with an Allen wrench and sliding the handle off.
  3. Remove the trim piece on the shower wall by unscrewing the two screws with a screwdriver and pulling the trim off. Slide off the bonnet cover (trim around the faucet head) and locate the cartridge underneath it.
  4. Remove the cartridge by either taking out the retaining clip with pliers (Moen faucets), removing the retaining nut (in Delta faucets) with large pliers, or removing the screws securing the cartridge to the faucet head (as in American Standard and Eljer faucets) with a screwdriver. Slide the cartridge out by hand, or grasp the top with pliers, gently twisting back and forth, if it is stuck.
  5. Insert the new cartridge into the faucet head and secure it by re-attaching the retaining clip, retaining nut or cartridge screws. Re-attach the trim and tighten the screws. Slide the bonnet back on.
  6. Replace the handle with a new handle if the old one is broken. Tighten the handle screw with the Allen wrench to complete the repair.
  7. Turn the water back on.

Things You Will Need

  • Allen wrench
  • Pliers
  • Large pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Replacement handle or cartridge

About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.

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