How to remove a rounded nut or bolt- 5 different ways
How to remove a rounded nut or bolt- 5 different ways

Rounded nuts and bolts like this can be
incredibly difficult to remove. There are a lot of variables when you do this.
There are different grades of bolts some of them may be rusted in, some of them
may be thread locked in, so there are quite a lot of different variables. Also
the nut could have been rounded off by somebody using a badly fitting spanner
or it could have been rounded off because it was just so tight. So there
are quite a lot of variables this video will hopefully help people out because
I’m going to show you quite a few techniques on how to remove a rounded
bolt like that. I’ll just show you how bad this one is this is the open end of
a combination spanner and you see if we try and undo that it just won’t grip at all
because it has been so badly rounded off. If we try the ring end absolutely no chance at all of that doing anything. The one thing you should always
try and do with a rounded off nut or bolt, is to apply some spray penetrant
such as WD-40. If you spray this on there’s a good chance that it will
actually loosen the thread slightly and that will give you the best chance of
getting it out. Another option is to apply some heat to the nut or the bolt
using a blow torch. The heat can make the bolt expand, when it contracts it can
then loosen the bond between the bolt and the threaded part or the nut. The first thing that I reach for when
I get a rounded off nut or bolt are the grip tight sockets. I’ve actually had
these for a couple of years and this is the set that I have at home. I also have a
set of these at work and you would actually be surprised at how many people
come to borrow these because they are very useful, they do work and they can
get you out of a lot of trouble. These have hardened steel pins on the inside
that actually grip on the flats of a rounded off nut or bolt. Simply put the
socket on the ratchet locate it on the rounded off nut or bolt and then
you can very easily undo that. You can also try to grip the nut or the bolt
with something that has a serrated set of teeth on it, such as these
stilson’s, often call a pipe wrench, mole grips or
water pump pliers. Like I said there are a lot of variables and in some cases you
will not be able to do it using these. Sometimes you’re trying to work on
machines that have moving parts and when you try to get that rounded bolt off
all you’re going to do is move the rounded part. So these will work in some
instances. So we’re going to have a go with the mole grips. To do this you need to adjust
them so that you get them as tight as possible, and that is now very tight and
if we try and undo that there is a chance that we can undo this bolt. Once
you have loosened it you can then remove the bolt. We will now try the water pump pliers. The good thing about these is the length of the handles, you do get quite a lot of
leverage. And one of the best tools for removing rounded off bolts and nuts is a
pair of stilsons. These are designed to grip round objects
such as pipes etc with the serrated teeth so they are very good at gripping
objects that are round. Another avantage of these is the length of them these are
18 inches long. Simply put them on the bolt or the nut
if you can get them on, simply press down and you can see that that quickly and easily undid that bolt. You can also use a cold chisel and a hammer this is a very good
technique and you can generate a lot of force with it
that will undo the majority of rounded-off nuts or bolts even if
they’ve been in there for donkey years you can still use this method. This is one of
the best method to remove anything like that, especially if it is stuck in there. Before we do this we’re going to put a pair of safety glasses on then got the
cold chisel and a decent hammer. All we need to do is take the chisel and get
the point of it so it’s on the top of the bolt like so. You need to hit it
so that it tries to spin the bolt out. We’re not trying to shear a piece off
the bolt we are actually trying to move it round. So we’re going to put the chisel
in a position like that then we’re going to give it a good crack using the hammer. As you could see that then went,
which has loosen it, and you can quite easily undo that. I’ve not actually come across a bolt yet
that will not undo using that method. Another thing you can do is file a flat
onto the bolt. You can see that we’ve got the adjustable there if we try and undo that it simply slips around because there are not flats on it. You can do this just
by using a file you can then take the file and you can start to file a flat on it. Sometimes filing a flat on will enable you to undo the nut or the bolt
other times it won’t work. In this instance we’ve just been able to undo
the bolt. One of the best ways of removing a rounded bolt is to get a nut,
preferably one that is actually larger than the bolt head but if you can’t get
one you can simply weld on a nut like so. You don’t need to be a good welder
to be able to do this all you need to do is take a nut preferably a plain nut
so that is not galvanized and it is not zinc plated. This is a very simple
technique simply take the nut, place it on top of the bolt, we are then going to take a welding electrode and we’re going to weld in there. We’re going to fill that
up with molten metal. The heat generated from the welding process can also help
to loosen the bolt. You can see that that is absolutely
glowing red-hot and that should easily enable us to remove the bolt in fact the
heat generated has loosened that considerably. Another advantage of using
the welder is you can remove things like this. That is a counter sunk bolt and the
center has been rounded off so the allen key will not grip in that at all. All we need to do is take a nut, again you need a plain nut not a coated one, put that over the top we will just tap that in with the welder, fill that up with weld and we
should easily be able to remove that. We can then grip that with a pair of mole
gripes or a suitable spanner and then we can easily remove the counter sunk bolt. So that’s it, I think I’ve just about
covered every technique there that I often use on site. I do hope this
video has been helpful if it has and you haven’t done so already please subscribe
to the channel.

100 thoughts on “How to remove a rounded nut or bolt- 5 different ways”

  1. Amber & Eric Jones says:

    that's all great and dandy if your not in a tight area. other wise its pointless. so pointless you cant get a socket in a place and the place is only good for a wrench. and if the bolt or nut is rounded off is there a wrench out there made like the sockets. I have the socket set like you have. but I picked up a new set of sockets that recently came out on the market that has grooves for rounded off bolts or nuts. and they work great. better than the sockets you have.

  2. Geoff Rusinek says:

    Where possible I use a MANUAL IMPACT DRIVER, along with a either left hand twist style extractor or a slightly smaller 12 point socket. As you hit the impact driver it forces the socket/bit onto/into the bolt or screw with a downward twisting motion, therefore loosening the nut/bolt/screw . There is also a tool called Shockit, LT599, it's a 9 piece socket kit that fits over a non rounded bolt ( or if you can beat it over a rounded one ;-)) that's designed with a indent on a section and you can use a (air) hammer with the included punch to force it to turn just as the hammer and chisel method. Another would be a air hammer bit that has either a 1/2" or 3/8" square drive head and a 6 point head above the square, pretty much forces the socket on to the bolt, breaks free the rust/corrosion, as you use a wrench on the shaft to turn the fastener.

  3. Adam Brinkmeyer says:

    Thanx for the video. been struggling with rounded lug nuts for about two days now. gonna put a pipe wrench on there and see what happens. hadn't even thought to try that

  4. debjr 03 says:

    I have a bolt with a round bottom how would I get it off

  5. James Miller says:

    This was incredibly useful. I'll be using one of these techniques next time I run into this as an amateur do it yourself-er!

  6. Sking 0001 says:


  7. Somebody Onceforgotten says:

    Thank you! Taking off nuts and bolts that are stuck on is like the hardest part of doing mechanical work.

  8. Nathan says:

    In my situation, it was a loose head bolt for my motorcycle and I don't want any damage from a hammering or welding method. 2 of What I did that worked:
    1. I get the thinnest cutting
    blade for my grinder and then cut the head across. Screw driver won't work because the bolt was quite big so I get a 2" wide 1.5mm thick flat bar (thin enough to fit in the cut) and cut it to a more/less 2" length, welded it onto a metal pipe (looked like a small axe) then before I rotated it, I applied oil to help ease the rotation.

    2. Cut the head across (same as the first one) then I drilled the head straight through its bolt, applied oil (gear oil). I used pliers or long nose pliers to rotate it. Once there is a hole inside the bolt, it becomes easier to rotate.

  9. Call Me Simon says:

    Thank you Ultimate Handy Man!

  10. Spoutnik says:

    7:38 is it already loosed lol

  11. Braethun Bharathae-Lane says:

    Is he saying "cold" or "cole" chisel? I'm trying to do this on an O2 sensor in my Honda Accord 98. I removed the hot plate covering it and it's stripped as all hell.

  12. Rick T says:

    COME ON!! The bolt came loose way too easily; with that "bolt head" being rounded so badly…. Although you shown a few methods to help removing the bolt, but ultimately You rigged the bolt for this video!

  13. misterjoe3 says:

    Thanks so much for the info on grip tite sockets. Very helpful in removing my stripped out oil pan drain plug!!!

  14. Phil says:

    mahl grips sqush the nut ,ovals it

  15. Phil says:

    smaller hammer works better

  16. wsqwest says:

    VERY helpful. Thank you for making this video. I had a stripped bolt on the starter of my '97 BMW 528i.

  17. TaggingTechnician says:

    The Craftsman Low Profile Bolt-Out remover set worked for me, along with generous applications of PBlaster over a period of a few days, and careful application of heat from a hot air gun. Well done, thanks!

  18. Maximus Connor says:

    This guy, ultimate handyman,  is smart!

  19. DerMeister812 says:

    What about the give up method, put your brakes back together because the last bolt rounded…come home and watch youtube? lol

  20. One Man On Fire says:

    I have so many different socket sets just for rounded bolts. I highly recommend getting different type of sets.

  21. Rusty says:

    Unfortunately, in real life, a rounded off bolt is not surrounded by limitless space. All solutions are useless when there is only 7/8th inch space above the bolt head.

  22. Jordan Choiniere says:

    2 words- six point…

  23. Cr55zy says:


  24. Leo Cadena says:

    I need a method to remove a really tight rounded bolt, all this ideas aren't good enough for that but the last one by welding it to something like a nut. I have no room in between parts in my differential. Any more suggestions?

  25. John Bumpus says:

    Good techniques to learn.

  26. tubeyourself says:

    Can you use those Grip Rite sockets with an impact wrench?!

    My crank pulley bolt on my car is rounded off. May have to pull the motor!

  27. Juan Velazquez says:

    Would the Grip-Tite sockets work on bolts that are shredded?

  28. Snap-off says:

    Also using a sharp diegrinder blade to notch a flat slit for a flathead screwdriver.

  29. Edward C. says:

    Thank you so much! I combined the filing with the grip tite sockets. Worked perfect Good stuff

  30. Brian says:

    This problem is less likely to occur if torx bolts are used. Surface drive sockets would be my first choice in removing rounded off bolts because they don't damage the bolt.

  31. Justin Trudeau says:

    Thanks for your help

  32. TWrecks says:

    Vice grips do it usualy

  33. Arvee Lacorte says:

    is there any "variable" in solving rounded nut ?
    i got such problem when using 12mm T-wrench.

  34. Weaver Cattle Company says:

    Best way I've found is to use a slightly smaller 6-point socket and beat the socket onto the nut or bolt head with a hammer and slap the breaker bar onto it and pray the bolt isn't so seized/rusted that it twist off.

    Having changed out tons of New Holland Haybine guards, I have a lifetime of experience in removing highly rusted carriage bolt nuts that will easily round off even with the correctly size 6-pointed impact socket.

    If that doesn't work is breakout the TIG welder [bolt head or stud] and oxy-acet torch for nuts :o)

  35. Trevor Groves says:

    Ive watched 2 videos so far about stripped bolts and both uoaders had a 12 point wrench in their hand. LOL

  36. Trevor Groves says:

    The bolt youre using isnt nearly as tight as it would be in a real situation

  37. David Cornell says:

    How about when the idiot who put a part in your car last time dropped sauter in the hole so the intended security bit is useless?

  38. Frankie Xenon says:

    Really useful ways of removing these rounded off nuts without completely destroying it like some other methods

  39. Gordon Bone says:

    We’re do you get that set grip tight as that looks like what I need I got a strange bolt it’s on a Idella pully bolt which has a torx in the central I striped the central by over tighten it sorry it’s the best as I can explan it thanks for any help

  40. Tim Rw says:

    Thank you for presenting that option of using a pipe wrench because I was out of ideas after hours trying to remove three bolts from a washing machine drum spider. That first quarter turn with the pipe wrench made my day and they were all off within 5 minutes.

  41. Kevin Leeds says:

    If I were to heat up an oil plug, would the oil catch fire inside there? I wouldn't want to be under it. (Unrelated silly question: In the southern hemisphere do you have to turn it the opposite direction to loosen it?) And obviously, not to use a blowtorch on the gas tank, unless it is really really empty

  42. Nate Bog says:

    You sir are genius. I had a tight space on the engine, and a bolt welding was the only thing that worked for me! Life saver!

  43. TD says:

    Also grind a slot into it.

  44. bangmeister2012 says:

    Youtube has saved me again

  45. PickleRix says:

    I had to remove a rounded off belt tensioner bolt on a Nissan Murano today. A six point socket or a bolt extractor was too large to fit in the tight space but I found some Grip Drive metric end wrenches (50-104) at AutoZone. The 14 mm wrench was able to loosen the bolt where every other end wrench failed.

  46. Luis Gamboa says:

    But with an aluminium bolt how can you remove without destroy it with a steel tool???

  47. Ro Mo says:

    just call 9:11

  48. Cameron Wendell says:

    Very helpful

  49. runbei says:

    Entertaining as heck – I'd much rather keep watching this than work on the )(*)&%&%$#% itty-bitty stripped screw down at the bottom of its hole in my inkjet's printer head.

  50. Javier Mendoza says:

    mmmm the duration of the video is 9:11..😑

  51. ronadpaugh44 says:


  52. Pepe Cruz says:

    Thanks for the video. I was able to remove 2 in a tight spot today. I had to cut the electrode 2" long and welded an old nut. Melted 2 electrodes inside the nut. Used a vise grip and done, bolt out. Thanks again.

  53. Xavier Bachop says:

    For the grip tight how do they work they seem just like a ring

  54. Mike Jones says:

    Show me how to take out a bolt on a ranger that's next to the axle

  55. Elliot hall says:

    Would a mig welder work well? I’m also working in a tight space

  56. Newtire says:

    Excellent video! Thanks! Always good to learn something new. I have pounded on a smaller "sacrificial" socket. Try a socket that grips on the flat part of the bolt or nut Snap On and Wright Tool come to mind. That's my $.02 to add. Loc-tite turns to snot when you heat it and unscrews quite easily-ok so $.03 then. thanks again!

  57. Gamen4Bros says:

    Really helpful!

  58. Cyborg _Of_ice says:

    5:35, that was how my bolt got burred In the first place.

  59. greyfortitude18 says:

    i wonder how to undo those torque sockets that are deep. any best ways
    to remove those pisky bolts?

  60. Maldo Han says:

    Thx u so much.

  61. cindy chase says:

    Thank you for your youtube video. A Million thanks. My husband had a hard place nut from his manifold, so i watched your video. He tried the wd40/heat then the power chisel and surprise it worked. So, again thank you so very much for your video. Happy camper.

  62. Aaron Ditchfield says:

    I didnt see thread locked

  63. paul yancey says:

    Rear head bolt on pass, side 2013 6.2 escalade engine….what [email protected] engineering team worked sooo hard to make it to come out against the firewall with out removing the engine after the 15 mm head strips….thanks cadillac for the planning and hard work to repair the famous piece of shit a.f.m. system….never again another vortec afm vehicle..

  64. juan jose says:

    fuck man i stripped a nut on a yamaha blaster cylinder 😭😭😭😭😭😭

  65. karanjit singh says:

    its really help full, but mine car engine oil bolt stuck hard to screw it off and its size for allen key and its keep sliping, suggest me any advise bze that matter of underneath engine oil

  66. D.j. B says:

    Those grip tight sockets, are they 3/8ths or 1/2"? They looked like they were 3/8th's.

  67. Pavel Berezin says:

    This really works! I am really happy

  68. ZamWired says:


  69. Julian Reid says:

    is not a sttilson different from the one used in that the lower set of teeth move as opposed to being fixed  so that the teeth move closer as you pull the wrench around thus a better grip..?

  70. Duffy Nightingale says:

    One thing I didn’t see mentioned. And I currently have 20 totally corroded bolts left to remove. If you have enough space and no burnables too close – take a acetylene/oxygen cutting torch and cut the bolt head off. After using the techniques I know and taking painfully long on 4 of them, the rest are now destined to be quickly cut off with the good old cutting torch. 30 seconds each.

  71. The Screaming Reviewer says:

    Looks like my oil drain bolt after Walmart changes oil…never touch my car again.

  72. ototso says:

    what if the bolt is soft as fuck? Nothing worked bolt keeps rounding more. No matter how good contact i get its keeps rounding

  73. SteveR says:

    U.H.–It does help to begin by smartly smacking the rounded fastener with a 2-pound hammer to loosen it and any associated corrosion.  Rather than use WD-40 (which has a strong, lingering chemical odor and is flammable), pick up a piece of candle wax or beeswax, heat the area AROUND the fastener, then stick the wax on it.  The wax will melt and get sucked into the threads, acting as a lubricant.  Give it a few minutes to cool, then begin turning it.  The fastener should be loose enough to twist off easily.   I don't know much about the Grip-Tite sockets, but would be concerned about the spring-loaded aspect of the gripping pins.  I would instead suggest using Turbo Sockets (extractor sockets); they have no moving parts, are tapered inside and will grip more securely than a regular socket.  I've never had much luck with a standard adjustable (Crescent) wrench; they have a tendency to slip or fall off the fastener and can't be securely tightened.  Their main advantage is being able to grip numerous hex fasteners of a size that most people don't have a large hex socket for (1-inch or 25mm and larger).  My experience with pipe (Stilson) wrenches is no better, mostly because of their bulkiness when space is restricted.  In other cases, a 3/8-drive stud extractor may save the day.  Every situation is different.

  74. Jeronimo Silvas says:

    you should try this when the bolts are torqued down to factory specs

  75. Bass Finder says:

    Hi mate i know this video is a couple years old but i have a similar problem on my car, its a 10mm bolt head thats rounded off and i dont have room to hit another size socket on it, i habe a blowtorch, so can to use heat to put a slit in the side of the bolt and knock it round? Thanks

  76. Matthew Salinas says:

    Heat it up didnt work sucked ass horrifically

  77. razordu30 says:

    Love how the terms of things differ across the pond.

  78. Jack Remastered says:

    None of these helped

  79. Carter says:

    452 people just want you to use the bad bolt.

  80. Katie Fong Taylor says:

    Very interesting, and thank you for this video. What would you suggest for a brass nut that has been mangled and distorted by an amateur do-it-yourselfer? It's soft (well, soft enough to mangle), and ittle bits of brass are flaking off. it is holding the bathroom faucet stem in place. Sadly, we just wanted to fix a leak, and now our plumber advises replacement of the whole faucet (which I am really attached to because there's nothing like it on the market).

  81. Crazddog 420 says:

    Lol video is you have all this space and area. Most rounded bolts are because of tight spaces. This yahoo makes a easy video

  82. Adam Baxendale says:

    Ay up! From a fellow northerner.

  83. Jason L says:

    Screw all that
    Get a set of bolt extractors. Job well done

  84. gtone339 says:

    So difficult to rotate the Xiaomi E-scooter's front tyre nut off with a 18mm wrench! Plus, I cannot rotate the hexagon nut anymore due to the amount of abuse, aka multiple wrench rotation, and this resulted me on leaving the front tyre flat! Hopefully, your techniques works well on this.

  85. MonkeyMan says:

    What do you call the vise grips mole grips?

  86. Karissa Hammond says:

    Thank you thank you!! I got a flat bolt stuck in my son's new bunk bed. I was completely at a loss, but I filed two flat areas to grip the cheap weak bolt and tried that method. Worked excellent!

  87. Pankaj Kumar says:

    I am not an expert. But Ranch technique worked for me.

  88. gtone339 says:

    Hey there, I have a issue on my Xiaomi scooter's bolt that I have badly damaged on due to the bolt been tightened so hard (thanks Xiaomi) and I have tried a wide series of tools, like the 18mm Wrench spanner, Ratchet + Bolt Socket remover, Pipe Wrench, and quite a lot of Man power to remove this bolt off! All failed to be honest!!

    Here's a video that I have recorded:, let me know if you have any other methods of removing it, or I will have to get it fixed at Xiaomi's Mi store here in NZ thanks!

  89. Rodrick Thompson says:

    this is easy on a demo board, not in real life circumstances!!!!!

  90. Brian McWhorter says:

    Handy advice.

  91. Chris Mcginty says:

    I got a oil drain plug stuck it rounded and I tried the plumber tools ect it well stuck on any ideas it on.a motorbike

  92. DVJFan says:

    What’s the size wtf

  93. Micke says:

    There are more techniques that are applied when you are litterally in the shit.
    All these are semi-shit techniques.
    But a good tip is to heat up the bolt, hammer on a sixpoint. If that also gets rounded…. then you are into some cutting and drilling and cleaning threads. (Last resort)

  94. T- Mills says:

    2 ads!? Really?!

  95. williamadams2240 says:

    who has all of this laying around smh

  96. Theresa Smith says:

    What if the bolt is on cylinder head and still bolted to engine hard to g t did all u had on here what next

  97. Ariel Ruiz says:

    I remember the day one bolt had the better of me

  98. LuisManuelHdez says:

    Why is Gerard Butler doing how to videos now?🤣

  99. Will Dwyer says:

    If you grip a nut too tightly, you will bend it and make it even more difficult to remove. Pliers and vice grips are best used on bolt heads. Avoid using them on nuts.

  100. Rhys Parry says:

    Thanks for this i teach engineering apprentices these techniques i show them this then we go do it

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