How to Remove Rusted Bolts: A Step-by-Step Guide

It doesn’t matter if your car is five or 25 years old—it seems there will always be a rusted bolt or two to be found. Free the seized bolt yourself with these instructions from the auto experts at NAPA Canada.

There are many ways to remove a rusted bolt. For this guide, we focus on one in particular—Freeze-Off from CRC. Unlike other penetrating oils, Freeze-Off uses hyper-cold to shock the offending part, breaking the rust bond, and allowing the bolt to come out.

We had a Dodge Challenger in the shop that needed a plug removed from the exhaust. While the exhaust itself is made of stainless steel, the plug is steel. Whenever you have differentiating metals, corrosion and seized threads are a very real problem. This plug was locked tight.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  • Because Freeze-Off has the ability to shock the rusted bolt, use a propane torch to heat the outside of the threads. This can loosen the plug. We got the part up to 186°C (366°F). Don’t touch it!
  • Before turning the plug, apply more Freeze-Off. With the outside still hot, and the plug cold and shrinking, the bond should break fairly easy. Be careful, as this will create a lot of smoke.
  • For additional leverage, use an Allen wrench and a cheater bar to break the plug free.
  • Use anti-seize on high-heat threads whenever different metals are bolted together.

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For more great tips on how to maintain your car and to find the parts you need, visit NAPA Canada.