4 Tips to Help You Remove Rusty or Seized Parts During Mechanic School

auto mechanic certification
Rust—just reading the word makes any auto mechanic’s hair stand on end. It can be frustrating to have to handle rusty or corroded parts, especially when they don’t seem to budge.
In a perfect world, you’d never see a seized bolt again, but the nature of automotive work means you’ll most likely see your fair share of rusty or seized parts throughout your career. Fortunately, auto mechanics have been dealing with rust almost since the beginning of the profession, and there are a few things you can do to help
If you’re interested in finding out how you can get corroded or stuck parts out, read on to learn more!

1. Auto Mechanics Can Keep a Penetrating Oil Nearby

Having a penetrating oil on hand can be particularly useful after mechanic school because it acts as a mild solvent which gets rid of rust. It also acts as a lubricant too, which makes the bolt easier to remove and decreases your chance of snapping the corroded bolt, which would give you a whole other headache to deal with.

2. Remove as Much Rust as Possible

A rusted nut or bolt can throw a wrench into removing other rusted or corroded parts, especially when it won’t budge. If you think the bolt or nut is still salvageable, it’s time to break out the steel brush and scrub as much of the rust off the threads as you can. This helps you keep a better grip on the head of the bolt when it comes time to apply the socket wrench, and also prevents it from seizing as it turns.

3. Use Leverage to Remove Seized Parts After Mechanic School

A socket wrench will be your best friend when it comes to dealing with rusted or seized parts during auto mechanic programs. Your trusty tools depend, of course, on the size of the bolt you’re trying to remove, but a traditional hex-head bolt probably won’t need more than a 6-point socket wrench.
If the wrench fails, you can always use a breaker bar. Using gentle force, apply the breaker bar to the rusty part and use its leverage to turn the bolt head. If the tension becomes too loose without any give, you may actually be breaking the bolt, so make sure you pay attention to how both the bolt and the bar are responding to the force you use.

Students at CATI can use their training to safely remove rusted bolts or screws
Students at CATI can use their training to safely remove rusted bolts or screws

4. When in Doubt, Apply Heat (But Stay Safe)

If you’ve exhausted all possibilities, it may be time to break out the more serious equipment, namely, the welding torch. Applying heat to a rusty bolt can cause the metal to expand enough to either break out of its rusty grasp, or melt the rust that’s locked it into place. You should only need to apply heat for about 20-30 seconds before checking the affected part.
Before you turn on the torch, though, it’s important to be sure that you have the right safety equipment, and that your workspace is safe. Be sure to carefully go over the safety procedures you’ve learned, so that you can safely remove the rusted bolt.
Do you want to take the next step into a rewarding career in the automotive industry?
Contact CATI for more information about earning your auto mechanic certification.

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