How to Remove a Bolt That Keeps Spinning

How to Remove a Bolt That Keeps Spinning

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Bolts and nuts are staples of the construction industry. They’re great at securing various items together. That said, bolts and nuts are not perfect. One thing that may happen is that the bolt and nut get stuck together.

The result is that the bolt keeps continuously spinning, without ever getting tight. Of course, this won’t do you any favors. A bolt that keeps spinning needs to be removed and replaced. Exactly how to remove a bolt that keeps spinning is what we are going to address right now.

Can You Remove a Bolt That Keeps Spinning Without Cutting It?

One question that many people have is whether or not removing a bolt that keeps spinning is possible without cutting or breaking the bolt. The answer here is that it is technically possible to remove a bolt that keeps spinning without cutting it. That said, it really depends on the situation and how stuck onto the bolt the nut is.

After all, it really all comes down to whether or not you can remove the nut. If you get some better wrenches, you may be able to muscle your way through it. Moreover, you may also be able to expand the nut by heating it up, which could make it come off. Furthermore, it is also a possibility that you can break the nut without having to break the bolt.

However, if none of these approaches work, then your only option is going to be to cut the bolt. As you will see, there are many tools that can be used to cut and remove a bolt. That said, we do first want to address the methods that do not involve cutting or breaking the bolt.

9 Ways to Remove a Bolt That Keeps Spinning

As far as we can tell, there are nine different ways to remove a bolt that keeps spinning. First, we will attempt to loosen the nut on the bolt. If that’s not possible, we will remove the nut from the bolt. If that is not possible, then we will have to break the bolt.

1. Try Your Wrenches Again

First, we recommend trying your wrenches again and just putting some muscle into it. Make sure that you have the right size and type of wrench for the nut and bolt that you are using. With the right wrenches, preferably some good socket wrenches, just use as much muscle as you can muster. In many cases, some prolonged muscling will do the trick. We assume however that you have already tried this, so let’s move on to the next method.

2. Use Some Lubrication

If your wrenches alone don’t do the trick, you can try adding some lubrication to the mix. First, use a wire brush to clean the bolt of any rust and dirt. Then, apply a good deal of penetrating oil to the nut and bolt. Completely cover the threads of the bolt and the nut. After you have sprayed the nut and bolt, wait for around two hours. Then, give it another try with your socket wrenches. If this does not work, move on to the next method.


3. Use a Breaker Bar

To remove a bolt that keeps spinning, you can also try using a breaker bar. You will want to hold the nut with a wrench, and then use a breaker bar to try and loosen the bolt. A breaker bar is just a really long socket wrench with an extremely long handle, which allows you to apply a lot of force and leverage.

The longer the handle of your socket wrench, the more force you can apply. With your breaker bar, try loosening the bolt. If this still does not work, move on to the next method.

4. Heat Up the Nut and Try Again

What may work to loosen the nut enough to remove it from the bolt is to heat it up. You can use any kind of propane torch to heat up the nut for anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds. If the nut gets hot enough, it should expand, and it should get large enough so that you can remove it from the bolt. The danger here however is of course that you may also heat up the bolt and expand it along with the nut, in which case, the two will continue sticking together. Also, be careful when using this method, as you don’t want to touch a flaming hot nut with your bare hands.

5. Try a Vice Grip

If you are still having trouble getting a grip on the nut, we recommend attempting to place the nut inside of a vice grip and closing the vice grips as tight as possible. Then, use a socket wrench, preferably a breaker bar, to try and loosen the bolt. If this still does not work, move on to the next method.

Vice Grip

6. Use Acetone

To loosen things up, try creating a mixture of automatic transmission fluid and acetone. This should penetrate into the threads of the nut and the bolt to help loosen things up. Generously apply this mixture to the affected area. Apply this once every 20 minutes for one hour. Then, try using your breaker bar to loosen the bolt again.

If this doesn’t work, then you’re going to have to break the nut.

7. Use a Nut Splitter

If all attempts to remove the nut without breaking it have failed, then you will have to break the nut.

This is best done with a nut splitter. There are two types of nut splitters out there, including manual nut splitters and hydraulic nut splitters. Manual nut splitters take a bit more work to use, although they are much more affordable than hydraulic nut splitters. A hydraulic nut splitter is only something you would buy if you have constant use for it. That said, nut splitters are the easiest way to go about this.

Simply follow the directions as indicated on your product. That said, what do you do if you do not have enough splitter? Move on to the next step.

Nut Splitter

8 . Hit the Nut with a Hammer

If you have enough room to maneuver, what you can try doing is hitting the nut with a hammer. Yes, here we are talking about hitting the nut so hard that you literally break it along with the bottom half of the bolt right off. If you have enough muscle power, a good hammer, and enough room to get a good swing in, then this is a possibility.

However, if you don’t have enough room to do this, and you don’t have enough splitter, then you will move on to the final option, which is cutting the bolt.

9. Cut the Bolt Using a Variety of Tools

The final option here is to simply cut the bolt. There are a variety of tools that you can use to cut a bolt, including a hacksaw, bolt cutters, and a variety of reciprocating and circular saws. Just remember, that if you are using any kind of saw, you do have to have the right kind of blade designed to cut through thick pieces of metal.

You might also want to learn about how to cut a bolt in a tight space if you are working in such conditions.

Cutting Off a Bolt

What Is the Best Way to Remove a Spinning Bolt?

Personally, we would recommend adding some lubrication to the mix, some penetrating fluid, and then using a good breaker bar along with a good secondary socket wrench. However, if simply loosening the nut is not an option, then the next viable option is to break the nut, and if that doesn’t work, the last resort is to cut the bolt.


As you can see, there are plenty of ways to remove bolts that keep spinning. Which method you use really depends on the items and tools that you have at your disposal.