What is best for seized bolts?

What is best for seized bolts? - Fix It Cape Town


When working with machinery or conducting Repairs, one common challenge that often arises is dealing with seized or frozen bolts. These stubborn bolts can create frustration and hinder progress. Fortunately, there are several effective solutions available to help loosen and remove them. In this article, we will explore different methods such as applying penetrating oils, using heat, and employing mechanical methods. Whether you are a professional mechanic or a DIY enthusiast, these techniques will prove invaluable in overcoming the challenge of seized or frozen bolts.

1. Penetrating Oils

Penetrating oils are a popular choice for tackling seized or frozen bolts. These oils are specifically designed to penetrate rust, corrosion, and other forms of stubborn residue that may have caused the bolts to seize. Here are a few effective penetrating oils to consider:

  • WD-40: WD-40 is a well-known and trusted brand in the world of penetrating oils. Its formula allows it to seep into tight spaces and break down the rust or corrosion that binds the bolt. Apply WD-40 liberally to the seized bolt, allowing it to soak in for a few minutes before attempting to loosen the bolt with a wrench or socket.
  • Liquid Wrench: Liquid Wrench is another popular brand of penetrating oil. It works by dissolving rust and lubricating the threads of the bolt, making it easier to turn. Apply Liquid Wrench generously to the affected area and allow it to penetrate for a few minutes before attempting to loosen the bolt.
  • Kano Kroil: Kano Kroil is a high-performance penetrating oil that is often favored by professionals. Its unique formula allows it to reach even the tightest spaces and break the bonds of rust and corrosion. Apply Kano Kroil to the seized bolt and let it sit for as long as possible for optimal results.

2. Heat

Applying heat to a seized or frozen bolt can also be an effective way to loosen it. The principle behind this method is to expand the metal, which can break the grip of rust or corrosion. Here are two commonly used heat methods:

  • Heat gun: A heat gun is a handy tool for applying targeted heat to a seized bolt. Hold the heat gun close to the bolt and move it around in a circular motion. As the metal expands, it will break the bond and make it easier to remove the bolt.
  • Blowtorch: A blowtorch is another option for applying heat. Use caution and ensure that there are no flammable materials nearby. Direct the flame towards the seized bolt, moving it around to heat the surrounding metal. Be mindful of the bolt’s material and the risk of overheating or damaging it.

3. Mechanical Methods

If penetrating oils and heat fail to loosen the seized or frozen bolt, it’s time to consider more mechanical methods. These techniques involve using physical force or tools to break the bond and remove the bolt. Here are a few examples:

  • Impact wrench: An impact wrench delivers a sudden rotational force to the bolt, providing a higher torque compared to traditional wrenches. This tool can often break the seized bolt free with its powerful bursts of force. Be sure to use the appropriate size and socket attachment for the bolt you’re dealing with.
  • Breaker bar: A breaker bar is a long-handled tool that provides additional leverage when trying to loosen a stubborn bolt. Attach the appropriate socket to the breaker bar and apply steady force in the direction needed to loosen the bolt. Be careful not to apply excessive force that could damage the bolt or surrounding components.
  • Bolt extractors: Bolt extractors are specialized tools designed to remove broken or seized bolts. These tools grip onto the bolt’s head or threads and apply force in the opposite direction of removal, effectively unscrewing the bolt. Choose the right size of bolt extractor for the seized bolt and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: How long should I let the penetrating oil sit before attempting to loosen the bolt?
– It’s generally recommended to let the penetrating oil sit for at least 10-15 minutes to allow it to penetrate the rust or corrosion effectively.

Q2: Can I use any heat source to heat the seized bolt?
– It’s essential to use suitable heat sources such as a heat gun or blowtorch. These tools provide controlled heat that is better suited for loosening bolts. Avoid using open flames or excessive heat that could cause damage or create safety hazards.

Q3: What should I do if the bolt extractor breaks inside the bolt?
– If the bolt extractor breaks, the situation becomes more challenging. Consider seeking professional help from a mechanic or using alternative methods such as drilling and tapping to remove the broken bolt.


Dealing with seized or frozen bolts doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By utilizing the right techniques and tools, you can effectively loosen and remove stubborn bolts. Start by applying penetrating oils to break down rust and corrosion, and then consider using heat to expand the metal and make the bolt easier to remove. If all else fails, mechanical methods such as impact wrenches, breaker bars, and bolt extractors can help provide the physical force needed to break the bond. Remember to exercise caution and be patient throughout the process. With these effective solutions at your disposal, you’ll be able to conquer seized or frozen bolts with confidence.

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