How to Remove Rusted Bolts – 4 Simple Ways

Rusted Bolts

In this post, we’ll show you four ways to simply remove rusted bolts.

No matter where you live in the United States, there is sufficient precipitation to cause the nuts, bolts, and other fasteners under your car, truck, or SUV to slowly rust. Ferrous oxide also contributes to the magnificent reds and oranges of the Grand Canyon, but it only makes life miserable for DIY mechanics who like to work on their own cars.

For your benefit, we have compiled some of the best tips from a variety of technicians across the nation. Some of these might be familiar to you or even seem obvious, while others might introduce you to brand-new strategies you haven’t used before.

How to Remove Rusted Bolts: Before You Start

6-point socket bolt

1) How to Remove Rusted Bolts: Use the Right Tools

  • Using a 6-point socket is the best way to grasp the bolt firmly because it has a larger surface area and is less likely to slip.
  • If you need to remove multiple rusted bolts, buying a breaker bar is a smart move. The breaker bar’s length is two to three times that of a typical ratchet handle, and it provides a much higher level of torque to the bolt. Ratchets should not be used because they are not intended for high torque and their internal components may become damaged.

2) How to Remove Rusted Bolts: Plan Ahead

  • Spraying a penetrating oil (like WD-40) on the bolt a few days in advance is a good place to start.) Every day, give the bolt a fresh spray of penetrant. Any nearby hardware store will have this in stock.
  • Soak the bolt thoroughly, if possible. You must give the penetrating oil ample time to enter the bolt threads.
  • A quality penetrating oil does two things:
  • It works as a gentle solvent, eating away at rust while lubricating the threads, making it much simpler to remove rusted bolts.
  • If the bolt is difficult to reach, try to remove as many items as you can (brackets, panels, etc.) to give your socket, spanner, or breaker bar enough room to turn the bolt head properly.

Read more: How To Remove Rusted Screws?

How to Remove Rusted Bolts: 4 Different Methods


Method 1) Hammer Impact Force

  • One of the most efficient methods for removing a rusted bolt is pure impact and force.
  • Most of the time, a few quick, sharp blows from a hammer to the bolt head will solve the issue.
  • Extremely stuck bolts might need to be removed using an impact gun.
  • The rusted bolt can be easily removed by using a lubricant like WD-40.

Method 2) Relief Cuts

  • The most typical method for releasing stuck bolts with rust is relief cutting. Due to the fact that rusted nuts are an exterior component, this technique works even better for them.
  • Using a hacksaw or rotary cutting tool, carve two or three grooves into the bolt’s head. Cut about two-thirds as deep as the thread.
  • After that, insert a chisel into the groove that has just been made and hammer it in. In the housing, the rusted bolt should now turn.
  • Additionally, by employing this technique, you ought to be able to secure the bolt with enough grip to use some locking jaw pliers. The bolt can then be turned out of the housing.

Method 3) Shake the Bolt

  • To do this, take a socket, put it on the bolt head or nut, and quickly rock it back and forth. It will be much simpler if you use a lubricant. Remember that simple leverage can also be effective.
  • You can exert tremendous force and leverage by using the breaker bar I mentioned earlier.

Method 4) Drill It Out

  • With a little work, this method will almost certainly solve your issue, but it has a significant drawback in that it frequently damages internal threads.
  • Depending on the material of the rusted bolt, you might require a special metal-cutting drill bit.
  • Drill a center pilot hole
  • You can remove the remaining metal by chiseling it out after gradually increasing the drill bit diameter.
  • You can also remove a rounded bolt using this technique.
  • A tap-and-die set will be useful for any thread damage repairs.

Read more: How to Remove a Screw With No Head


It is difficult, but not impossible, to remove a rusted bolt. Any DIYer can take on the challenge if they are patient enough. We provided four instructions on how to remove a rusted bolt in this post.

Method 1) Hammer Impact Force

Method 2) Relief Cuts

Method 3) Shake the Bolt

Method 4) Drill It Out


Does WD-40 Remove Rusty Bolts?

Deep lubrication from lubricating oils will help to loosen the nut or screw by penetrating the rust. If the rust has reached the threads of the fastener, then there is no better product to use to loosen it than WD-40® Specialist® Fast Release Penetrant Spray.

Will Heating Up a Rusted Bolt Loosen It?

To unlock frozen, rusted, or hard-to-turn nuts and bolts, use a Bernzomatic torch and a little bit of force. For stubborn bolts, heat the bolt, then move the flame away and apply WD-40 against the heated bolt threads. A slippery surface is produced when the wax melts and pulls itself into the threads.

Can Coke Loosen a Rusted Bolt?

Coke, or Coca-Cola, is a soft drink that you’ll need. But a few of its ingredients are acids, which make it useful for removing rust. The majority of commercial rust removers contain acids like phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, or oxalic acid.