In spite of the fact that a hex bolt is a very durable metal fastener, it can also be damaged easily if it is exposed to a lot of stress following the installation. Moreover, if the joints it connects undergo a lot of strain, then removing the damaged bolt becomes a daunting task. It is necessary to mention that the bolt could suffer further damage if you are not careful or employ a faulty method of extraction, making it even harder to haul out. Nonetheless, difficult in this case does not mean impossible and in the next section of our article, you can read the steps that you should follow when trying to pull out a damaged hex bolt.
- Safety comes first
More often than not, removing a broken hex bolt will require utilizing the appropriate power tools. Because these utensils can cause serious injuries, it is highly recommended that you use protection equipment – at least safety goggles and gloves – and read the instructions manual before using the power tool.
- Lubricate the bolt
To make your job a lot easier, you should apply a few drops of penetrating oil all around the face of the hex bolt. Gently tap the bolt with a hammer and leave the oil to work for a few minutes before performing any other action on the nut if you want to make sure that it is fully lubricated down to the stem.
- Make a small tear in the bolt's head
In the eventuality that you could not remove the bolt after lubricating it, then you should try to create a slit in the nut using a hammer and a chisel. To create a small, clean tear in the nut, you will need to place the chisel in the center of the bolt's head and then strike a strong, single blow with the hammer. If performed correctly, the opening will be large enough to fit a flat face screwdriver and remove the bolt from its socket. In case the nut is stuck in the socket, then you should utilize a torque wrench, as this tool confers the necessary force for the extraction. Irrespective of the tool you use, do not forget to turn the bolt in a counter clockwise direction and avoid tightening it.
- Chop off the nut's head
In case everything else fails to help you remove the hex bolt from its socket, you should consider shearing off the head of the nut. Once the head is removed, get an electric drill – preferably with a bit that is the same size as the bolt stem – and drill a hole in the stem. Because the electric drill is a powerful tool, it is best to use it gently and avoid damaging the components attached to the bolt.
- Use a bolt extractor kit
If you did not manage to remove the damaged nut by following the previous steps, then it is time to try a bolt extractor kit that matches the size of the hole you drilled earlier. Take note that you also need a torque wrench to rotate the extractor in the right direction.
Started my career in the fastener world in 1969 at, Parker Kalon Corp. a NJ based screw manufacturer located in Clifton, NJ working in inventory control, scheduling secondary production and concluding there in purchasing. In 1971 I accepted a sales position at Star Stainless Screw Co., Totowa, NJ working in inside sales and later as an outside salesman, having a successful career at Star I had the desire with a friend to start our own fastener distribution company in 1980 named: Divspec, Kenilworth, NJ. This was a successful adventure but ended in 1985 with me starting Melfast in August 1985 and have stayed competitive and successful to date. Melfast serves the OEM market with approximately 400 accounts nationally.