How to Remove a Sheared Off Bolt – Techniques for Dealing with Broken Bolts?

removing sheared off bolts techniques and tips nrp

Obtaining broken bolts is a headache for any craftsman or DIY enthusiast. When a bolt breaks off, it can be a frustrating and challenging task to remove the remaining piece safely and effectively. In this informative blog post, I will share with you some tried and tested techniques for dealing with broken bolts. Whether you are working on a car, motorcycle, or any other machinery, these techniques will help you tackle this tricky situation with confidence and precision. With the right tools and knowledge, you will be able to remove broken bolts without causing any further damage to the surrounding area.

Key Takeaways:

  • Use the right tools: It’s important to use the correct tools such as extractors, left-handed drill bits, and bolt removers to effectively remove a sheared off bolt.
  • Apply penetrating oil: Applying penetrating oil to the broken bolt can help to loosen and lubricate it, making it easier to remove.
  • Heat the area: Heating the area around the broken bolt can help to expand the metal and break the bond between the bolt and the surrounding material.
  • Be patient and persistent: Removing a sheared off bolt can be a challenging and time-consuming process, so it’s important to be patient and persistent in your efforts.
  • Consider seeking professional help: If you’re unable to remove the broken bolt on your own, it may be best to seek the help of a professional mechanic who has the expertise and experience to deal with the issue.

Understanding Sheared Off Bolts

For anyone who has ever dealt with a sheared off bolt, it can be a frustrating experience. When a bolt breaks off while being tightened or removed, it can bring work to a standstill. Understanding why bolts shear off and the different types of sheared off bolts can help you prevent this issue and deal with it effectively when it does occur.

Causes of Sheared Off Bolts

There are several reasons why bolts shear off. One common cause is over-tightening the bolt, which puts excessive stress and strain on the metal. Another cause is corrosion, which weakens the bolt and makes it more prone to breaking. Using the wrong type or size of bolt for the job can also lead to shearing. Additionally, fatigue from repeated stress can cause a bolt to break.

Types of Sheared Off Bolts

Sheared off bolts can occur in different ways, and each type requires a different approach to removal. The most common types of sheared off bolts include tension, compression, and bending. Tension sheared bolts break on opposite sides of the bolt due to excessive force being applied. Compression sheared bolts break on the bolt’s weaker side, while bending sheared bolts break on the outer side of the bend. Any bolt can shear off, but understanding the type of shearing that has occurred is essential for successful removal and repair.

Main Keywords Details
Over-tightening This can put excessive stress and strain on the metal, causing the bolt to shear off.
Corrosion Weakens the bolt and makes it more prone to breaking.
Wrong type or size of bolt Using an improper bolt for the job can lead to shearing.
Fatigue Repeated stress can cause a bolt to break.
Tension, Compression, Bending Different types of shearing require different removal and repair techniques.

It’s important to identify the type of sheared off bolt to determine the best approach for removal and to ensure the integrity of the repair. By understanding the causes and types of sheared off bolts, you can take the necessary steps to prevent this issue and effectively address it when it occurs.

Techniques for Removing Sheared Off Bolts

Some of the most effective techniques for removing sheared off bolts include using a bolt extractor, employing heat and cold to loosen the bolt, and drilling and tapping. Each of these methods has its own advantages and potential dangers, so it’s important to approach the task carefully.

Using a Bolt Extractor

When a bolt has sheared off, a bolt extractor can be a lifesaver. These specialized tools are designed to grip onto the bolt and turn it out. To use a bolt extractor, you’ll need to drill a pilot hole into the center of the broken bolt, then use the extractor to grip onto the bolt and turn it counterclockwise to remove it. Remember to use caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely, as applying too much force can break the extractor or further damage the broken bolt. For more detailed steps on using a bolt extractor, you can check out this Quora thread on How do I remove a bolt that had its head broken off?.

Using Heat and Cold to Loosen

Applying heat and cold to the area around the broken bolt can help to loosen it. By heating the surrounding metal with a blowtorch and then quickly cooling it with a blast of liquid nitrogen or compressed air, you can cause the metal to contract and expand, possibly breaking the bond between the bolt and the surrounding material. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution when using heat and cold, as working with extreme temperatures carries inherent dangers. Always wear appropriate protective gear and follow all safety guidelines.

Drilling and Tapping

If all else fails, drilling and tapping the broken bolt may be necessary. This involves drilling into the center of the bolt, then using a tap to create new threads in the hole. Once the new threads are in place, you can use a bolt of slightly larger size to secure the material. However, this method requires precision and care, as drilling too deeply or at the wrong angle can cause further damage to the surrounding material. I recommend seeking professional advice or guidance if you are not experienced with this technique.

removing sheared off bolts techniques and tips

Safety Precautions and Tips

After dealing with sheared off bolts for many years, I have learned the importance of taking safety precautions seriously. First and foremost, protect yourself from any potential hazards. Always wear protective gear such as safety goggles, gloves, and a dust mask when working with broken bolts. Additionally, be sure to keep fire safety in mind, especially when using heat-based techniques. Lastly, exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings at all times. For a visual guide on safety precautions and tips, check out this How To Remove A Broken Bolt 6 DIFFERENT WAYS – YouTube video.

Protective Gear and Equipment

When removing a sheared off bolt, always remember to prioritize personal safety. I highly recommend wearing safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying shards and debris. Additionally, gloves will protect your hands from sharp edges and potential chemical exposure. A dust mask is also crucial when dealing with rust and metal shavings to prevent inhalation of harmful particles.

Proper Tools and Techniques

As I have learned from experience, using the right tools and techniques can make a world of difference when dealing with broken bolts. Invest in high-quality tools such as bolt extractors, left-hand drill bits, and penetrating oils to effectively remove sheared off bolts. When applying heat-based techniques, be sure to use a heat-resistant mat to protect the surrounding area from potential damage. Any mistake while working with these techniques can lead to further damage and frustration.

removing sheared off bolts techniques and tips vdp


Drawing together the techniques for dealing with broken bolts, it is clear that the process can be challenging but not impossible. By employing the use of penetrating oils, heat, and specialized extraction tools, you can successfully remove a sheared off bolt from a variety of surfaces. It’s important to remain patient and methodical in your approach, as rushing the process can lead to further damage. With the right tools and a careful approach, you can effectively tackle the task of removing a broken bolt and continue with your project with minimal downtime. Remember to always use proper safety equipment and take your time to ensure a successful outcome.


Q: What is a sheared-off bolt?

A: A sheared-off bolt occurs when a bolt breaks either flush or below the surface it was screwed into, making it difficult to remove.

Q: What are the common causes of sheared-off bolts?

A: The most common causes of sheared-off bolts are over-tightening, rust or corrosion, improper use of tools, and fatigue from repeated stress.

Q: What are some techniques for removing a sheared-off bolt?

A: Some techniques for removing a sheared-off bolt include using a left-hand drill bit, an easy-out extractor, heat and penetrating oil, or welding a nut onto the bolt.

Q: How do I prevent bolts from shearing off?

A: To prevent bolts from shearing off, always use the correct tool and apply the proper amount of torque. Lubricate bolts before tightening, inspect for corrosion, and replace worn or damaged bolts promptly.

Q: When should I seek professional help for removing a sheared-off bolt?

A: If you have attempted various techniques to remove a sheared-off bolt without success, or if the bolt is in a critical or sensitive area, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a professional to avoid causing further damage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *