How to Remove a Broken Bolt From an Engine Block

Yeah, we know it can be annoying when you accidentally break a bolt or bolts while working on your engine block or other engine components. Well, you don’t have to get frustrated anymore. You will know soon enough how to remove a broken bolt from an engine block. It’s super easy, so you should have no trouble taking off that broken bolt. Here’s a quality video to give you a visual presentation of the entire process.

How to Detach A Broken Bolt From Your Engine Block. Step By Step Guide

This is a proper approach on how to remove a broken bolt from an aluminum engine block, so you don’t worsen the situation. We are just going to go straight to the whole process of how it’s done.

To remove the broken bolt, you can use two different methods. The first method is what we call a spring-loaded center punch because we will punch the center of the bolt by drilling out the center of the screw itself.

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Step 1: Drill the Center of the Screw with Your Hardened Drill bit

You should have your mechanics tools box close by for easy reach. Now grab your drill bit, preferably a hardened drill bit.  So with your hardened drill bit, drill through the center of the screw. You should take your time and do this; there’s no need for a rush.

Step 2: Make a dig with Your Center Punch

Now you use the center punch to give you something to dig into before drilling. Else your drill will start to wander, so take your time and drill through the center of that screw because you are trying to open it up to get a grip.

Step 3: Set the Size of Your Drilling bit

After you’ve done that, you can step up the size of your drill bit and be patient and drill it out. This will bring out kinds of metal particles. A world-class tip on how to efficiently get rid of these particles is to take a magnetic screwdriver and just run around the broken bolt’s area with the screwdriver itself. It will take off all the metal particles that are on there. We think they are quite powerful.

Step 4: Extract the Broken Bolt with a Screw Extractor or Mole grip

If you are considering a screw extractor, well, it can be pretty challenging to use that. A part of the problem is that if the extractor breaks inside the screw, it will cause a significant problem because the extractor is made up of a rigid material, so that won’t come out quickly without a fight that’s a real big problem for you.

You can also try to use a mole grip to hold on to the top of the broken screw because it’s quite awkward how to get to it. The grip is a left-handed thread, so as you turn left, it digs into that hole you’ve created for it, so that’s how the grip is supposed to work.

Either a screw extractor or a mole grip, you can choose which tool you feel more comfortable working with. But use them carefully so you don’t have to break the tool and worry about not being able to recover from that scenario.

So what we use and recommend instead is Rocketsocket, which has a strong extraction grip technology. Just put the right socket size inside the cavity and use it to extract the broken bolt; it is so much easier because the socket is just directly over the screw itself.  So take your time and unscrew it; this is so easy. The benefit of using this method is you take the bolt out quickly, and there’s no damage done to the threads.

The second method is for folks looking for how to remove the broken bolts in a tight space. It’s a relatively slow process. However, it’s pretty safe. Here’s how it’s done:

Just use a spring-loaded center punch to knock it around really slowly. You have to be patient while doing this. Find a little edge on the actual bolt itself and slowly knock it around the broken bolt, and where it is spring-loaded, it just kind of reloads itself.

Now you might be scratching the face of that screw head a little, but it has no damage because it doesn’t hit the bolt directly, so take your time and be patient. Just keep working on the edge and keep slapping it with the center punch. Once you’ve got the screw towards the edge, you should be able to unscrew it by hand. It might be quite tough to detach if your bolt is rusted, but it will eventually remove the broken head bolt in the engine block of your vehicle without any damage.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How do you remove a snapped-off bolt?

Ans: Removing a snapped-off bolt can be difficult, but if you attack this problem with the right approach, you should be able to detach the snapped-off bolt from any of your vehicle’s engine parts easily. There are several bolt extractions kits available in the market to help make the removal process more comfortable. Most mechanics prefer using Rocketsocket mostly because it is very easy to use, and it gets the damaged bolt out as quickly as possible.

You have to create a hole at the bolt’s center with a drill, remove the metal particles that could have incurred due to the drilling process and use your extraction tool to get the bolt out of your system. It’s that simple.

Q: How do you remove a hardened broken bolt?

Ans: The easiest approach in removing a hardened broken bolt is with a Rocketsocket or any other tool with an advanced grip technology tool. This is because these modern tools are primarily designed to take off stubborn bolts from various components in your vehicle’s system. It will quickly remove hardened broken nuts, bolts, screws, or any other fasteners regardless of if they are rusted or stripped without damaging the threads.

Once you have been able to get the right extractor, removing the hardened broken bolt will be easy after you’ve got a hole on the fastener’s center point. Use the extractor tool to unscrew the fastener gently, and it should come off quickly without much effort.

Q: What tool removes a broken water pump bolt from the engine block?

Ans: The best bolt extractor tool available in the market for removing a broken water pump bolt is Rocketsocket, designed with high standard materials to ensure it always carries out its functions. It is built with razor grip removal made from superior technology, which is very efficient in solving questions on how to remove a broken rusted bolt or water pump bolt even if the bolt is stripped, broken, or rusted. It has a high impact strength since the tool is made from high-grade steel, which also increases its durability.

So if you are considering getting a unique tool that can quickly get your broken water pump bolt out from your engine block, it is best to purchase the Rocketsocket bolt extraction tool for guaranteed 100% satisfaction.

Q: How can I remove a broken bolt without an extractor?

Ans: If you do not have a bolt extractor tool and do not plan on getting one, you can still take off your broken bolt from its holding, but this might take a longer time to accomplish than when you are using an extractor tool.

Use a spring-loaded center punch to knock the bolt around carefully. Do this gently; it’s a slow process, so you have to take your time if you intend to achieve any result. Find a little edge on the actual bolt itself and slowly knock it around.

Even if you are scratching the screw’s head surface a little, it will not cause any significant damage to your bolt or threads because it doesn’t hit it directly. Just keep working on the edge and keep slapping it with the center punch. Once you’ve got the screw towards the edge, you should be able to unscrew the bolt with your hand. The broken bolt should come out without any damage.

Q: How do you remove a seized bolt without a head?

Ans: Resolving how to remove a seized bolt with no head can prove very difficult. It is not a good situation if the seized bolt has no head, which might have gone off while you were trying to tighten the screw. To tackle this problem, you should apply lubricant on the bolt to make it easy for the bolt to come off, then hammer the center punch in the middle of the broken bolt, use your left-handed drill to create a hole in the center of the bolt. Then use the drill at low speed to remove the broken bolt. If the bolt proves stubborn, you can switch to a bolt extraction tool.

Q: How do you drill out a broken bolt?

Ans: To use a drill on your broken bolt, you need to get the right drill, preferably a left-handed drill, to create a hole on the center part of the screw head. Adjust your drill to reverse mode and keep the speed very low. You do not need a high drilling speed for this process. The drilling toque in reverse will safeguard the threads on the bolt, and it loosens the screw’s grip.

Continue using a slow drilling speed at around 20 rpm and drill into the hole. You have to drill nice gently. Be careful so you do not break the drill bit; this will only worsen the case. While drilling, the damaged bolt will hold on to the bit and begin to come off. Keep on drilling slowly until the whole bolt is removed.

Final Words

The methods you’ve learned on how to remove a broken bolt from an engine block should be able to help you to remove any damaged, broken, or rusted bolts on all other engine components properly without causing any form of damage. If you have trouble finding how to remove a broken bolt from the engine head, you can also use this guide. Make sure you patiently and gently heed the instructions to avoid further complications, and always insert your bolts carefully to avoid this kind of problem.

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Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

3 thoughts on “How to Remove a Broken Bolt From an Engine Block

  1. Hello, David

    If your bolt extractor won’t work, reach out to your mechanic or contact a blacksmith. It may require replacing the part after all.

  2. Good stuff if broken bolt section is deep n extractor won’t reach… 3 inches front of hole to broken bolt section. What do you think

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