Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Remove a Stuck Cylinder Head Bolt

cylinder head

Removing a cylinder head is a tough job. Running into frozen cylinder head bolts makes the job even harder. Fortunately, there are tricks to removing a stubborn cylinder head bolt that will make life a lot easier.

Method 1 of 3: Use a breaker bar

Materials Needed

using a breaker bar to remove the head bolts

Step 1: Use a breaker bar. Head bolts are usually torqued down really tight.

One way to remove really tight head bolts is with a breaker bar. This method allows for more leverage than a traditional ratchet and socket.

Method 2 of 3: Use impact force

Materials Needed

using an impact wrench

Step 1: Use impact force. You can hit the center or the head of the bolt with a chisel or punch to try to free the corrosion between the threads.

An alternate approach to this method is to use an impact wrench on the bolt a several times in both the forward and reverse directions.

Method 3 of 3: Drill the bolt out

Materials Needed

  • Chisel
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Protective gloves
  • Repair manuals
  • Safety glasses
  • Screw extractor

hole punched in the top of the bolt

Step 1: Punch a notch in the top of the bolt. Use a hammer and punch to make a notch in the top of the bolt.

This serves as a guide for your drill bit.

drilling out the bolt

Step 2: Drill through the bolt. Use a drill bit one size larger than the notch made with the chisel to drill straight through the bolt.

Then, follow up by drilling through the bolt again using a bit that can drill a hole large enough for a screw extractor or easy out.

using a screw extractor

Step 3: Remove the bolt. Hammer an “easy out” or screw extractor into the hole you drilled.

Then, turn the tool counterclockwise to remove the bolt. You may need to hold the head of the tool with a pipe wrench or locking pliers.

Head removal and repair is a job best left to professionals. As you can see, the task can get really nasty if things don’t go as planned. If you’d prefer to leave your cylinder head repair to a professional, give the experts at YourMechanic a call.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....


Related questions

Q: Rough in morning. 0 compression. after heats up runs okay to 100 compression. in 3 cylinders only on a Miata 2004.

Your engine has morning sickness. There is no way for the engine to have a 0 compression as the engine would not start, so there has to be at least 60 pounds of compression to ignite the fuel. The issue...

Q: More cc or more number of cylinders

The 6.0 L engine means that all of the cylinders in the engine add up to 6.0L. If you have a V-8 then each cylinder is capable of .75 liters. In a V12 each cylinder is .5 liters each. The...

Q: Misfire on cylinders 1&4

It sounds like it could be the harness and simply disturbing it by swapping connectors eliminated cylinder #1 from misfiring, for now. Having owned a few VAG products and having many friends with them, you might want to try a...