Removing stuck lug nuts and bolts

Rust

Removing stuck lug nuts and bolts

Removing stuck lug nuts can be a huge pain as well as removing stuck nuts for that matter if your a person of low patience. Depending on what your trying to do, knowing what to use can save you the hassle of making a bad situation worse while saving yourself from the god-awful knuckle busters and preserving frustration. In this post we look at ways to unstick seized nut and bolts while ultimately saving money, time, and having to replace or fix parts that you would like, or have bashed in with a hammer.

Methods

So why does lug nuts, and nuts in general get stuck. This happens because over a period of time depending on environmental conditions develops moisture whereby rust begins to occur. Since metal is not porous, the combination of metals such as iron tend to corrode at the surface which builds around the treads of a bolt resulting in a kind of welding to the nut or bolt around the treads. Over time, the rust then builds over the metals and starts slowly eating away at your parts. When you look at this as a whole, that’s why old classic vehicles have such a huge problem with rust, whereby needing to replace panels or sections of the vehicle is needed in order to stop the problem. Anyways that another topic altogether, for the purposes of removing lug nuts and other stuck metal fasteners, here are a few ways you can do it.

  1. The first way that is common is with the use of WD-40 or Liquid Wench. This lubricant penetrates the surface of rust delivering oils to the metal that has been oxidized. Usually you would want to wait a period of time deepening on how rusty and stuck the nuts are.
  2. If you, are a friend has access to an impact gun or wrench which is another way, this method applies pressure to the nut, but doesn’t deliver full force all at once, it sorts of like a hammering effect that forces the nut to come loose. There are some tools such as nut and bolt extractor that are very good for what they are made for. Amazon has a good variety of them check em out.
  3. The next method that is very popular but needs caution, is the use of a torch. This method when applied to a stuck lug nut or bolt basically melts away the rust while contracting the metal where the bond that has been established due to rust is broken. This can be used along with WD-40 and can free most if not all stuck parts. If you proceed with this option, make sure all flammable materials are away from the torch and there is no chance of causing a fire.
  4. If the nut or bolt simply won’t give, the other option is simply cutting of the bolt with a metal cut of wheel. This is attached to drill or grinding tool in which a cut off wheel cuts right the metal at the base of nut where you can use a nail punch and hammer the bolt right through the hole.
  5. If all else fails, sometimes just brute force helps with the use of a cheater bar, which a lug nut wrench is placed inside one side of the pipe essentially gaining leverage to produce the required torque needed. This has its pro’s and con’s because if too much torque is applied in which friction causes heat, this results in the failure of the bolt where you inadvertently snap the nut of the bolt. This leads to other problems because now you got a post or bolt that needs to be taken out. If this happens to you, there is a tool called an “easy out” where it is drilled into the bolt and forcing it to unscrew. Although there are a variety of ways in deals with this, this is just another way.

While these are some practical tips that can help to remove stubborn nut and bolts, you should always practice safety when trying to solve the problems you may have. This should include gloves, safety glasses, ear plugs and things along those lines.

Once you have disassembled what you needed to be taken a part, sometimes you may wish to keep the part or parts depending if you want to keep to originality of your project. Personally, I would just get rid of it and replace it with a new nut and bolt, but some people want to keep it OG. If this is you, you can find a metal vibratory tumbler that is just that. It is a tube that is filled with a substrate which can be sand and other abrasive materials that cleans paint, and all other contaminants from metal buy vibrating them off. Usually with these tumblers, they are small in which only small parts such as hinges, brackets, springs and other parts that of that nature fit inside. While sand blasting accomplishes the same goal, sometimes handling the parts is to small where losing the part in the sand is a possibility.

Conclusion

After you have cleaned the parts, sometimes it’s a good idea to apply a rust preventative material such as paint, or some other solvents that prevents oxidation. While nothing is a permanent fix, sometimes doing the little things can save you a lot of hassle down the road. If you’re a person that wants to get into the business of restoring classic vehicles, you will soon learn that there’s always going to be that one bolt, screw, lug nut that is going to test your patience while trying to move forward. This is where it gets fun and teaches you things you wouldn’t ordinarily know otherwise. Anyways this is what I have learned and what works for me. If you have any other helpful tips fill free to comment below.

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