From time to time, you will find yourself having to deal with a problem such as having a stuck fastener. This is usually a problem that occurs due to rusting, and can sometimes be a very frustrating issue. However, there are many things you can do to solve the problem quickly and easily. These include:

From time to time, you will find yourself having to deal with a problem such as having a stuck fastener. This is usually a problem that occurs due to rusting, and can sometimes be a very frustrating issue. However, there are many things you can do to solve the problem quickly and easily. These include:

Mechanical methods
removing stuck fasteners
There are several mechanical methods of removing stuck fasteners.  The easiest of these is to simply tighten and loosen the fastener repeatedly, while at the same time jiggling it about. This might seem crude, but there are many times when it ends up working wonderfully. If you are dealing with bolts, you can also consider using bolt cutters as shown in the image above.
Of course, you could also strike it with a hammer to try and loosen it up. However, you need to be careful with this, since you risk breaking a bolt and making the fastener permanently stuck in some instances. A safer way of doing this would be to tap it lightly for a few minutes, and then apply some penetrating oil to the rusted fastener to try and smoothen it up a bit. You can then tap it some more, and then try to unfasten it after this. Most of the time, this will help it become loose without having to break it.

 
Using thermal methods
Using temperature differentials can loosen up the fastener by contracting one part of the fastener and forcing the other to contract. Some of the strategies you can use for this include Loctite, which is a spray that freezes on contact with any object. You would need to apply this to the part of the fastener such as the bolt so as to free it up from the nut. You can also use repeated cooling and heating of the fastener, since the repeated expansion and contraction can loosen the fastener. The heating is done using a welding torch, and then rapidly cooled down with cold water while it’s still red hot. If you want to do this, it’s a god idea to ensure that the fastener does not have any penetrating oil since this will reduce the entry of water into the fastener.
Using chemicals
There are a number of chemicals that can be used to loosen up rust, including PB Blaster which is bought in an aerosol can. This is a penetrating oil that has the potential to penetrate very small spaces such as the threads in the fasteners. It is a good idea to first heat the fastener to expand it, and then spray the penetrating oil between the threads. You could then attempt to tap it lightly to loosen it up further.
All these are effective and legitimate ways of loosening up any fasteners that have become too tight due to rust. By using one or a combination of several, you can easily ensure that you don’t have to damage the fastener while trying to unfasten it. However, when attempting to use any of the above, it’s important that you take all the necessary safety precautions to ensure that you don’t get injured. For instance, if you want to use a blowtorch to try and heat the fastener, always make sure you have protective clothing such as gloves on.

About the Author

Larry Melone
By Larry Melone
President

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.

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