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 September 22, 2016

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

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

How do you turn on 'horn beep' feature when using the remote in 2017 corolla

Try to hold down the lock button for 5 seconds and while holding it down also press the panic button once. Try this and see if it does the trick? If not then look in the owners manual for remote...

Engine came back on after getting spark plugs and wires replaced.

Hello. If there are no physical symptoms, it will probably be necessary to rescan the computer and pull the fault codes. A Check Engine Light can literally signal any of hundreds of possible problems. The codes will at least give...

How do I select a play mode with my iPod?

You can use your iPod to play music, audiobooks or podcasts through your radio system. Press the 6 button or Browse to find the menu mode on the iPod. Turn the right knob clockwise to see the different play...

Related articles

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars of 2016
Ford F-series pickup trucks, Toyota Camry, and Honda Civic are some of the best-selling cars of 2016 and all deliver on reliability and efficiency.
How to Buy a Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius is one of the most popular hybrid models on the automotive market, and it comes with an array of perks. A Prius is more environmentally friendly than your average fuel-guzzling car, leaving less of an ecological footprint....
Should I Buy a Honda Accord or a Toyota Camry?
The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have been the best-selling cars for 20 years due to their quality and reliability. Find out which is best for you.