tools to free up seized nuts and bolts

SolaryCar and Driver

So that 30-minute job turned into three hours, huh? Funny how one single seized bolt will do that. All it takes is some inconvenient rust or too much Loctite, and all of a sudden you’re concocting new cuss words. No worries—we have you covered.

Luckily, seized fasteners are a widespread problem in the automotive repair world, and there are plenty of tools and products you can use in your quest for a successful fix. In this list, we have items that range from “please come loose” to “I’m not asking, I’m telling!” One way or another, you’ll get it done.

When you think you’ve exhausted your toolbox (and your sanity) by struggling with a seized nut or bolt, check out these top-rated tools and products from Amazon; they might be just what you need.

Experts Recommend These 1/2-Inch Drive Cordless Impact Wrenches


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PB B’laster Spray

This penetrating oil is great for a pre-planned soak. If you know a fastener will be trouble, spray some of this all around the area and let it marinate for a few hours—or even overnight, if you can. The oil creeps into the openings, breaks up corrosion, and works to prevent further rust.

Aerokroil Penetrating Oil

Aerokroil is some of the best penetrating oil money can buy. If you’ve got a seriously stuck piece of metal, give this a try. It’s a bit more pricey, but the spray has earned a cult-like following of diehard fans. There’s a good reason for that: It’s simply the top dog.

3/8-Inch Drive Manual Hand Impact Driver Set

Before there were fancy impact driver guns, mechanics used manual hand impact drivers. They still work well today, like this one from TekTon. Put on whatever 3/8-inch drive socket you need, and then whack the back of the driver with a hammer. The impact turns into instant torque and works in both forward and reverse. 

Breaker Bar Set

If a bit of elbow grease will do the trick, utilize that leverage with this breaker bar trio. The breaker bar set includes a 1/2″ drive 15″ length breaker bar, a 3/8″ drive 10″ breaker bar, and a 1/4″ drive 6″ breaker bar for a wide range of applications.

1/2-Inch Drive Big Breaker Bar

If you bring this breaker bar out, everyone will know you mean business. At 30″ long, it’ll maximize the leverage you put into it. We recommend that you use this on heavy-duty fasteners only—that much torque will easily break a smaller bolt.

Milwaukee Cordless 1/2 in. Impact Wrench Kit

Ah yes, the strength of power tools. This is one of the best impact wrenches around, and the experts at Popular Mechanics and Car and Driver agree. With 1400 pound-feet of breaking power, this beast is more than capable of loosening stubborn fasteners. The kit comes with a 5.0Ah battery, charger, and nice carrying case.

1-Inch Drive Impact Wrench

$749.99

$545.91 (27% off)

No, this isn’t some Rambo-style minigun—but it kinda sounds like one. This 1-inch drive air-powered impact wrench is usually used in heavy-duty truck applications, so it’s built for power. With up to 2100 lb-ft of reverse torque output, all but the most seized nuts and bolts won’t stand a chance. 

Magnetic Induction Heater Kit

This interesting tool produces “flameless heat,” and no, not like rubbing two sticks together in a cave. We could give you the scientific lowdown, but in lay terms, the tool uses an electromagnetic field to heat up a stuck nut by surrounding it with a high-current coil. By heating that nut, the metal expands and separates from the threads. Voilà, the cherry-red nut will spin right off with your wrench of choice. No flame, no fire, happy mechanic. 

Oxygen & Acetylene Cutting Torch Kit

If you’ve made it all the way down here without any luck, it’s time to bring out a primal element: fire. The principal of heating the metal goes like this: If it’s a nut, heat the nut; if it’s a bolt, heat whatever it’s threaded into. Once the metal is expanded, loosening should be much easier. With this oxygen and acetylene kit, you’ll be prepared to harness the heat. To complete this kit, you’ll need to buy tanks (and fill them up at your local distributor), some regulators, and a case to store the whole shebang. And if all else fails, use the cutting function to blast concentrated heat at the fastener to literally melt it. 

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