Q: I was changing my alternator and I stripped the last bolt really badly, what do I do to get it off?

asked by on

I was changing the alternator in my vehicle. I got all the bolts off that I needed to get off except for the last one on the bottom. I have been trying for hours to get this bolt out that I have stripped the bolt badly. How do I take it off?

My car has 87567 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello, thanks for writing in. I’d be happy to help.

If ANY of the head remains, even if it is completely mangled, there are tools that can grasp the mangled head and remove it. If the bolt is spinning in place and won’t thread out, you have to create pressure under the head (prying motion) WHILE backing it out and hope that the bolt catches enough to thread itself out. If that doesn’t work, it has to be drilled out, which is no big deal if there is adequate room. If the female threads are damaged at the end of any of these attempts, you have to install a helicoil. In the worst case scenario, if you have damaged a bolt hole that is in a part that is not accessible to a drill and re-threading tool, you end up having no choice but to remove the part off the car so it can be repaired. Again, no big deal...this happens every day.

If you would like help with this, consider having an expert automotive technician from YourMechanic come to your home or office to remove the bolt for you. The technician will have the right tools to complete this task.

To avoid this problem again, in the future if you suspect a bolt is stuck, first tighten it a LITTLE, just a crack, then loosen a little. Keep wiggling the bolt back and forth just a hair in each direction. You are trying to break the seal (the rust bond). As it gets freer (it will, if you are patient), with this minimal wiggling in each direction, move it just a little bit more each time, particularly in the loosening direction. Eventually, it WILL feel free enough that you can loosen normally. The key is to go slow. Removing stuck bolts actually requires a strategy. If you just loosen it as it it were a "normal" bolt it will break every time. I know because I used to break it every time. Like everyone, I learned late in the process.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. I was changing my alternator and I stripped the last bolt really badly, what do I do to get it off?

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Engine, power steering, and brakes shut off

Given you had a "sudden" failure, you might check the crank position sensor first. This component instructs the ignition module when to fire the spark plugs. If the crank position sensor is OK, work your way up the electrical path....

Q: Engine Swap - 2009 Pontiac G8 GT

The 6.0L engine from the 2008 or the 2009 model year G8 will interchange (match: VIN Y, 8th digit, opt L76). To obtain this engine, simply search at Car-Part.com and you will find an exact match for your car (there...

Q: 2006 Toyota Matrix fuel pump plastic lock ring stuck. Universal removal tool is crap. Help. Frustrated.

Many times there is what is called a spanner wrench that is used to remove fuel pump lock rings. If you are unable to get one of those, a hammer and chisel is your next best option. You could also...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.