Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How to Remove a Stuck Cylinder Head Bolt

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

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
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...

Related questions

Q: My wife's oil cap blew off and oil got all over the engine. Car has no power. When I hook up jumper cables it will rev up but wo

Hi there. This symptom can be cause by a plugged PCV system, or more likely severe blow-by, where combustion gasses blow the oil out of the crankcase and up to the valve covers. This could be cause by broken rings...

Q: Misfire at cylinder #6 and EVAP system not ready

Hello. The misfire that you are getting on that cylinder may be caused by a dirty or failing fuel injector. If compression is fine and if there is good ignition then it may be a fuel issue. If the engine...

Q: I have a 2011 town n country. I was told by the service dept. that the left side cylinder head needed replacement which

As long as the cost of replacing the spark plugs on the right side is equal to half of the cost of doing it on the total engine I think it will be ok. Considering that the cylinder head is...