A tough bolt that won’t come loose is an extremely frustrating issue that can stop you from completing your work. Whether you’re switching components of a machine or trying to repair equipment, a tough bolt can stop you dead in your tracks.
Thankfully, there are a few approaches that you can take to help loosen tough bolts and get back to the important stuff. In this article, we are going to discuss the easiest way to loosen a tough bolt, as well as outline a few things to try before using this method.
Try some elbow grease
One of the first things you should attempt when loosening a tough bolt is to apply some pressure. You can try using a 6-point wrench or a socket on the troublesome bolt to loosen it. To do this, rock the bolt by tightening and loosening the wrench. In many cases, that’s all you have to do to break through any old rust and loosen the bolt. 12-point wrenches and sockets are a bad choice for this task, as they can strip bolt heads quite easily.
To really give yourself the best chance of loosening the bolt, you can try using a wire brush to remove dust, dirt and rust. From here, apply a little bit of penetrating oil to the threads and give it another go with the wrench.
Get some leverage
A breaker bar is an extra-long socket wrench that can be used to apply extra leverage to your tight bolt. The extra length gives you more leverage which increases the strength that you can apply to the bolt. This can be a risky option, however, as the excessive force may end up twisting and breaking the bolt.
Alternatively, you can increase the leverage on your tough bolt by using a wrench or socket wrench that uses a pipe on the handle to give extra length. We do advise against this, though, as it isn’t a professional tool for the job. Using a breaker bar eliminates the risk of injuring yourself, so try to use the right tool for the job.
Using air impact wrenches
In our opinion, the easiest way to loosen a tough bolt is to use an air impact wrench. Manually loosening bolts is often an effort in futility, especially if a machine has tightened the bolt. To get around this, we have found that air impact wrenches offer the easiest solution to a tough bolt.
Air impact wrenches offer a great deal of power and speed which is perfect for removing machine-tightened, tough bolts. These incredibly potent tools use compressed air to deliver a lot of power that can remove tough bolts in a flash.