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How to Remove a Rounded Bolt in 2 Easy Ways

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As time goes by, the flat edges of a bolt will get worn down and round off. You will know that you have a rounded bolt when your allen key does not slot in it but instead, swivel around it. In short, rounded bolts are difficult to remove. The rounding occurs as a result of metal pieces being stripped away from the bolt, changing its configuration and preventing the key from fitting properly in the lock.

With that in mind, what can you do about it? How to remove a rounded bolt? Read this article to find out!

The Best Ways on How to Remove a Rounded Bolt

If you can’t wait to remove that rounded bolt, you will be happy to know that there are two easy ways on how you can do it. These are as follows:

Method #1: Using Locking Jaw Pliers

This is the easiest method of all. However, this method requires a specialized pair of pliers—locking jaw pliers. If you have this in your tool box, this is the best option for you.

Jaw Pliers

What You Will Need:  Locking Jaw Pliers

Step #1.1: Choose the right locking jaw pliers for the job.

What makes these pliers unique is their serrated curved jaw. This feature is beneficial because it helps to clamp to objects easily, even on rounded bolts.

The thing that you have to understand with this type of pliers is that it comes in different sizes. To choose the right pliers for the job, it would be best for you to measure the nut’s width and choose pliers that have a jaw capacity suitable to that width.

Step #1.2: Clam the bolt with the pliers.

Place the top jaw of the pliers against the nut and hold it tightly. Secure the pliers in place. 

Pro Tip: Make sure that the top jaw is in contact with the bolt that you want to unscrew to ensure a tight grip.

Step #1.3: Tighten the grip of the pliers by twisting the bolt on its back.

You will find a metal bolt at the top handle of the pliers. Turn that clockwise to tighten the pliers’ grip. Continue tightening the pliers until it is able to firmly grip to the bolt. 

Pro Tip: If you find it difficult to lock the pliers, try loosening it by turning its metal bolt counter clockwise then tightening it again.

Step #1.4: Turn the pliers counterclockwise. 

Hold the pliers firmly and apply good amount of pressure to turn the bolt counterclockwise. Continue doing this until the bolts is removed. 

Pro Tip: If the nut is already rusty, you may have some problem turning it. You can solve this by applying a lubricant. Spray WD-40 to the nut and its threading then try turning it again.

You can try to just use the pliers to loosen the grip of the bolt then use your hand to twist it until it is completely removed.

Step #1.5: Release the pliers.

Now that you are done removing the bolt, release the pliers simply by depressing the paddle found at the bottom handle of the pliers. Use one hand to hold the top handle and the thumb on your other hand to push down the metal paddle at the bottom part of the pliers. This will allow you to unlock and remove the pliers from the bolt. 

Method #2: Using a File

If you do not have the specialized pliers at home, this is the next best option that you have.

What You Will Need:

  • Metal File
  • Wrench
  • Proective Glasses 

Step #2.1: File the bolt.

Using a double-cut metal file, file the edge of one of the bolt’s rounded sides until you are able to create a flat edge. Move the file in one direction only to easily and efficiently file the nut.

Pro Tip: Wear glasses to protect your eyes from metal shavings.

Step#2.2: File the other side of the nut.

Place the file in the opposite side of the bolt. The edges must be parallel with one another. 

Step #2.3: Clamp the filed edges with a wrench and remove the bolt.

Place the bolt in between a wrench. Twist the wrench’s screw so it would clamp the flat edges of the nut. Turn the wrench counterclockwise to loosen the bolt. Then use your fingers to completely remove it.

If all else fails, you can also use a bolt cutter to do the job. You can also watch a few more methods here: 

In Summary

Bolts get rounded overtime. There is nothing that we can do about that. Lucky for you, you can find ways on how to remove and replace a bolt, even if it has already been rounded. These methods on how to remove a rounded bolt can help you do the job!

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