As a technician, repairman, or even just a homeowner, you’re bound to see broken bolts. Damaged screws happen when the grain of the pin gets stuck in the hole. Thus, this causes it to snap off if you try to pry it out.
Many repairers view this problem as familiar and easy to solve. That is the case mostly because they have an assortment of tools to use. However, for the average homeowner, this can be scary. That is why having the best screw extractor is a must if you’re handling damaged bolts. Stay tuned to find out more!
Last update on 2019-07-20 at 09:37 PST - Details
The Root Causes of the Problem
Before we go on to talk about the reliability of screw extractors, let’s talk first about the problem. Damaged bolts usually occur as a result of irresponsibility, accidents, or old age. When it comes to old age, damaged pins happen when the mechanical piece is worn out.
You can see this in a lot of examples. For starters, your very own vehicle can be a good illustration of this. Automobiles use hundreds if not thousands of bolts and nuts. If not securing the engine block, you can use it for screwing the axles and the wheels.
When it comes to your car, you’re bound to remove a few screws, especially when you’re troubleshooting the engine. If you have a car that’s ten years and older, there’s a high chance that the bolts can snap off.
However, always remember that old age is uncommon of the two previously mentioned. Irresponsibility or human error mostly cause broken bolts and stripped bolt holes.
Another cause that you may not have any control on are accidents. Based on my experience, I needed a screw extractor after my glasses broke from a motorcycle accident. The temples snapped off, causing the pins by the hinges to tear.
There are many cases where this can happen. Car accidents and factory accidents are frequent instances as well. The best you can do here is to take caution. However, if ever it does happen, a handy screw extractor is a lifesaver!
Human Error, a Lack of Understanding, and Irresponsibility
Let’s face it if we ever witnessed a broken bolt, the one at fault is most probably the one who inserted the screw. For starters, let’s get one thing clear: Bolts go through final bolt holes that are designed to accommodate them.
That rule applies to any item that uses bolts and nuts. That can be your vehicle; it can be a robot or electronics such as computers and consoles. With that said, I have a story where a friend of mine mishandled his laptop. Of course, this led to broken bolts and stripped bolt holes.
My friend of mine encountered a problem on his laptop. Mainly, the power button is not responding with the monitor. Because of this, he assumed that the wire connecting the power button towards the motherboard of the laptop was snapped off.
To inspect the wiring of the laptop, he needed to disassemble the plastic casing it had. He had to remove the battery, the keyboard, the ram, and other hardware inside. As we all know, laptops make use of many little screws.
In the end, my friend’s hunch was correct. The connecting wire snapped off, and it only needed to be reconnected. However, one solved problem led to a bigger one. What my friend didn’t do was label the screws as he removed it.
As we said earlier, each bolt has a particular screw hole. No matter how identical the pins may seem, wherever you took them out, you must place them back in. My friend didn’t know this, so he screwed each bolt randomly until completed.
It looked pretty good until a few days. However, after that, the laptop’s hinge shattered upon opening it. The plastic soon cracked, and a few of the screws splattered due to the force.
Stripped Bolt Holes and Snapped Bolts
Had my friend knew how bolts and its holes work, he could’ve avoided paying $50 for repairing the laptop. Because the screws were not in the right positions, two problems occurred. Notably, we call this problem as stripped bolt holes and snapped bolts.
There’s a big difference between the two. However, it’s important for you to understand that both happen because of the same reason. Snapped bolts usually happen first. As you can see with any screw, it has a spiral structure that aligns with its respective hole.
Now, imagine if you put a pin that has a different spiral pattern with that of a different hole. That would force the screw and destroy the grains inside. From the outside, the screw might seem tight and beautiful. However, the over time, this will cause great consequences.
The first that will happen is the bolt will potentially snap. Even if it’s at rest, the bolt receives a lot of tensile force because it’s stuck inside. Every time you apply force on the area surrounding it, the screws can potentially break. The bolt hole that it’s screwed into will squeeze the pin, snapping it off.
Once the pin is snapped off, the next problem might be a stripped screw hole. The stripped bolt hole is a screw hole that had its grains ruined. That is a result of the contact made by the wrong pin.
As a result, the bolt holes will be too loose to put a screw on. In worse scenarios, the grains of the pin hole flattens. Thus, it’s only a hole that doesn’t have any use for pins.
Tips When Buying Screw Extractors
Screw extractors are necessary, but treat it only for emergency purposes. The best cure is prevention. Extracting a pin is made possible thanks to these tools. However, treating stripped bolt holes can be difficult to fix.
With that said, it’s still a must to have these extractors because accidents always happen to everyone. Damaged locks can occur even if the screws match the holes. In the end, there are some things that we can’t control.
Before buying, make sure to consider a few factors first. Some of the factors to keep in mind are versatility, effectiveness, and material.
For me, versatility is the most important factor. We handle so many items nowadays that make use of different bolt sizes. You’ll never know if your cell phone will have a broken pin or your vehicle. Since these are handy emergency tools, it’s best to have all sizes.
Our Top 5 Picks
No matter what your project is, durability and versatility are the most important factors. With this said, TackLife’s Damaged Screw Remover, and Extractor might be a good option for you.
Not only does it work as advertised, but its customer service is also excellent. You get money back guarantee as well as free replacements, ensuring you of your money’s worth whatever issue you may encounter.
With that said, good luck and always remember to place your screws where you took them! If you found this article informative, leave a comment to let us know what you think!
Thomas Roberge is a Pro himself, who has been in the business of home renovation and construction, working with various tools. He used to be the owner of 2 local construction companies with over 18 years experience. His works also include writing inspiring Do IT Yourself Tips and Tricks.