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How to Remove a Bolt That Keeps Spinning?

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Trying to remove a stubborn bolt out that just refuses to come out can be extremely frustrating. It’s almost as if you are being taunted, knowing that there just has to be a way to remove it, but all it seems to do is spin endlessly

How do you remove a bolt that keeps spinning?

Thankfully, there are a few tricks and tips you can use to put an end to an endlessly spinning bolt. For some of these tips, the contents of a typical toolbox suffice. But for others, you may have to get a special tool.

close up picture of bolt in a white background

In this article, we’ll look into ways for removing bolts that keep spinning and removing a stuck bolt. As always, be sure to adopt safety measures while trying out any of the tips contained in this article.

Why Does a Bolt Keep Spinning?

Before we dive fully into how to remove a bolt that keeps spinning, let’s discuss a few reasons why bolts get stuck spinning in the first place.

A bolt may keep spinning in place if there is a hole filled with some dust. Dust can act as a lubricant, causing the bolt to keep spinning without actually coming off.

Another reason a bolt may keep spinning without coming off is if the wrong bolt was used. Bolts are sized accordingly. So, in a case where one uses an oversized or undersized bolt, it would keep spinning.

Bolts may also keep spinning in place if the bolt’s thread is stripped. Without the thread, there would be no friction to drive the outward movement of the bolt. So, it would just keep rotating on the same spot.

How to Remove Bolt That Keeps Spinning

Struggling with a bolt wouldn’t come out and wouldn’t stop spinning? Try some of the following approaches.

Use a Magnet

The pull of a magnet can force the bolt out of place and get it off. This method is one of the safest and easiest ways of removing a bolt that keeps spinning.

Use a Screwdriver

Find a flat screwdriver and try to force the screwdriver edge under the nut. Then try to push the nut out with the screwdriver. Once the nut is out, try to get the bolt off again.

a plier and a bolt in a black background

Try Pliers

You may try pulling the bolt off using pliers or a vice grip. For this process, ensure you get a shield to protect your face. This would offer some protection in case the bolt comes flying at you.

You could also try to force the bolt out using a wrench. A 6-point wrench should help with this. But if that does not work, you may try out a 12-point wrench.

Cut or Crack the Bolt

Another way to get the bolt out is to cut the top off. You can achieve this with a hacksaw and a pair of pliers.

Hold the bolt in place with the pliers, then cut the top of the bolt off with the hacksaw. With the top of the bolt cut out, try to pull out the bolt.

If the bolt is not coming off because the nut is bad, you can crack the nut with a nut splitter. Once the nut is cracked, you should be able to get the bolt out.

Apply Heat

You could also bring the heat! One way to remove a bolt that keeps spinning is to heat it with a propane torch.

The heat will cause the bolt to expand and get stuck. Once stuck, you can get it out with a pair of pliers or a wrench.

Drill Through or Around

You may also drill a hole through the bolt to get it out. Of course, this means damaging the bolt.

Alternatively, you could drill a very tiny hole around the bolt. This way, you can easily pull it out with a wrench or a pair of pliers.

More Dangerous Tactics

If all the above do not work, you may try using an impact gun. The force from an impact gun should be able to get the nut out almost in an instant.

Besides using an impact gun, you could try a grinder. All you need to do is grind the nut and the bolt until you get them out.

The grinder should be one of the last options you try out. It can be pretty dangerous if you lose control of it.

a handful of bolts

How to Tighten a Bolt That Keeps Spinning

If you are trying to tighten a bolt that keeps spinning instead of removing it, you could try the following steps:

  1. First, try to tighten the bolt further with a wrench to confirm if it was tightened appropriately at first.
  2. If the hole made for the bolt is not sufficiently deep, the bolt will not tighten. You may need to drill a deeper hole for the bolt. To do this, get the bolt out, measure its length, and work with that as you make the hole deeper.
  3. Jiggle the bolt around. While doing this, you may find an angle that allows the bolt to get fastened.

If the tips above do not help you tighten the bolt, you may have to remove it and start over.

Conclusion

Trying to loosen or tighten a bolt that keeps spinning can get wearisome. But with a lot of patience, these tips should get you the result you want with little or no damage.

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