How to Remove a Rusted Bolt & Nut

As bolts and screws age, they can get rusty.
Removing a rusted screw like this one requires some technique.Removing a rusted screw like this one requires some technique.
If rust forms between the threads of the screws or bolts, it can cause them to lock into their nuts, making them extremely difficult to remove. Although it's a sometimes frustrating process, you can remove a rusted screw or bolt--though it may take some time and effort.

Step 1

Spray the screw or bolt with penetrating oil, making sure you spray both sides of the fastener. Allow the rust-penetrating oil to sit for at least 10 minutes. Attempt to remove the screw or bolt using an appropriate tool--a Phillips head screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, open-end wrench, or 1/4-inch ratchet and socket. Proceed to the next step if this procedure doesn't work.

Step 2

Strike the head of the fastener (the nut) with a hammer to loosen the connection, and attempt to separate the screw and bolt again using the appropriate tool. Proceed to the next step if this procedure doesn't work.

Step 3

Attach a 1/4-inch drill attachment to the hammer drill, and put a socket on the end of the attachment. Attempt to remove the screw or bolt with the hammer drill. Proceed to the next step if this procedure doesn't work.

Step 4

If there are no flammable objects or gas lines near the screw and bolt, use a blow torch to heat up the screw and nut, then strike the heated fastener with a hammer to break the rust. Allow the screw to cool down, and attempt to remove it again with the appropriate tool. Proceed to the next step if this procedure doesn't work.

Step 5

Estimate the diameter of the shank of the screw--this is the portion with the threads. Pick a screw extractor diameter from the screw extractor kit that is smaller than the screw's shank diameter. Find the matching drill bit for the screw extractor, and insert it into the drill.

Step 6

Drill the center of the fastener using the drill bit. Remove the drill and install the screw extractor into the tap handle from the kit. Place the tip of the screw extractor into the hole in the middle of the fastener. Turn the screw extractor clockwise to pull the fastener out of the threaded insert.

Things You Will Need

  • Rust-penetrating oil
  • Hammer
  • Hammer drill
  • 1/4-inch socket drill attachment
  • 1/4-inch ratchet and socket set
  • Torch
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Open-end wrench set
  • Drill
  • Metal drill bits
  • Screw extractor kit

About the Author

Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.