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How to Deal With Stripped Screws & Nuts in Your Auto Mechanic Career

Published on June 22, 2017 by in Blog, CATI

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In mechanic work, sometimes little things can be big problems—specifically, little things like screws and nuts. The nice, well-defined edges of these kinds of components can give way over time, eroded by tools and use, until they suddenly don’t fit with screwdrivers or wrenches. When you really need to get a screw or bolt removed to move on with a repair or replacement of a part, this can be a big problem.

Fortunately, there are ways this issue can be handled. Here are a few tricks that can help you deal with stripped screws and nuts in your auto mechanic career.

In Your Auto Mechanic Career, Use a Screw Extractor for Easy Cases of Stripped Screws

The easiest method you can use for removing stripped screws is to use a screw extractor bit with your drill. These bits will usually include two sides. As a first step, you’ll need to drill into the center of the screw with the first side to create new, defined edges in the screw. After that, you can switch the bit around to the other side, insert the head into the new hole, and use your drill in reverse. The bit should catch on the screw, allowing you to pull it free.

This process should work quite often, but if you employ it once you become a mechanic, it’s important to be very careful not to break the extractor off inside the screw. Extractor bits are often very hard, and could be difficult to drill out if they become stuck.

Relief Cuts Are a Quick Method of Removing Stripped Nuts When You Become a Mechanic

If you’re dealing with a stripped nut that you just want to remove as quickly as possible, one easy solution is to use relief cuts. Using a small Dremel or saw, you can make a couple of little cuts into the nut, making sure not to go all the way through. After that, stick the head of a chisel into the cuts, tap it in with a hammer, and you’ll likely see the nut split and fall off. You can clean the area where the nut had been attached and then install a new one, and everything should be good as new.

This isn’t the most elegant solution you’ll ever use in your future auto mechanic career, but it’s a great quick fix, and should allow you to remove even the most stubborn stuck or stripped nuts.

To Simplify Your Work, Make Sure Nearby Screws & Nuts Are Installed Correctly

Sometimes, a stripped nut or screw may not be as bad as it seems. If other nearby bolts, screws, or nuts are missing, this can increase the load of pressure that is on the component you’re struggling with, thus making it more difficult to remove.

The solution, then, could be as simple as making sure any other bolts, screws, and nuts nearby are installed and secure. This will distribute any localized force more evenly, and could provide the relief you need to get a stripped part loose without resorting to more intense measures. Make this step your first priority when working with a vehicle, as it could save you a lot of unnecessary extra work.

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