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

P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
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: Am I able to drive with misfiring cylinders?

Unfortunately, with two cylinders misfiring, this represents 50% of your motor not firing properly which results in a significant reduction of power output by your engine. While the car may be driven, this may be risky as this may cause...

Q: My clutch pedal is extremely "light" and gears won't go in.

There are a few possibilities; you either have a problem with the hydraulics, a mechanical problem with the clutch, or a transmission fluid leak. Hydraulics: When you push down the clutch pedal, the clutch master cylinder (CMC) uses...

Q: Brake pedal is going to the floor. Ive changed master cylinder and bled system. No help.

Hi there. Knowing the year, make, and model usually helps us with providing helpful advice. However, I believe I may be of help here. Confirm there are no other brake fluid leaks. Check the caliper slide pins if this model...