My sister is turning into a DIY queen. Every time I request her to cook me some pasta, she says, ‘Do It Yourself’.
Well, that was just a bad joke. On a serious note, my sister is really becoming great at DIY. She loves to repair everything on her own, converts any piece of junk into a work of art, and hardly ever asks for any external help until most required. However, if she gets stuck somewhere, she calls me and asks for fixes. After all, these are the perks of being a sister of a Home Security Expert.
Like last week, when she was trying to fix her bicycle, she noticed a stripped Allen Screw that she couldn’t remove. She tried to unscrew it, but upon failing, she texted me to ask, ‘How to remove a stripped Allen Screw?’
After helping her, I realized the number of times I had to deal with a stripped Allen Screw that I had to fix. This fact acted as a prompt for me to write this article. This article is a step-by-step guide for you if you have a stripped Allen Screw that you find hard to fix.
Reasons Why Your Allen Screw Might Be Stripped
A stripped Allen Screw is a screw whose head is damaged. The damaged head makes it challenging or impossible to remove the screw with a screwdriver. Before talking about how to unscrew a stripped Allen Screw, let us talk about why it is stripped. As I often tell you, diagnosis before treatment!
There are many reasons why your Allen screw may be stripped. Identifying the cause will not only help you in finding a solution but will also help you from avoiding having a stripped Allen Screw.
Here are a few reasons why you have a stripped Allen Screw.
- Poor quality tools
- Trying to unscrew too fast
- Using screwdrivers at an angle to the screw
- Using too small a screwdriver
- Using too large a screwdriver
- Using an incorrect sized power drill
- Using a worn-out bit in the power drill
- Over-tightening the Allen screw
- Not replacing a screw that has started to strip
How To Remove Stripped Allen Bolt?
It is alright if you have made any of the mistakes mentioned above and now, eventually, have a stripped Allen Screw at home. You can still remove a stripped Allen screw. You just have to figure out how to get out a stripped Allen bolt.
To help you remove your Allen bolt, I am listing below a few easy hacks that you can try at home before seeking any professional help. All these hacks are tried and tested by me. As an expert, I can vouch that there are high chances that one of these hacks will work for you.
However, it is required to perform these hacks with care and patience. If you are somebody who is always in a hurry, I recommend seeking help to unscrew the faulty bolt.
Here we go, talking about some tips and tricks on how to remove a stripped hex screw.
Use A Wrench Or A Plier To Aid You
If you wonder how to remove a stripped hex bolt and the bolt to be removed has an exposed head, then your job is not so difficult. You need a pair of pliers or wrenches, and you can remove the stripped hex screw.
- Grab the exposed head of the Allen screw firmly with a pair of pliers or wrenches. Make sure that you are holding the screw tightly.
- Start twisting the screw to unscrew. Be careful with the force you apply. Prevent the screw head from breaking off.
- In case you lose the grip, regain the grip and unscrew again.
Do not try this method with the screws of delicate or easily breakable objects. Also, be careful with the smaller screws as the heads can break off easily. Too much force can also lead to stripping of the head edges, making the unscrewing part more challenging.
Remove The Stripped Allen Screw By Force
Shock can loosen your Allen Screw and make it easier for you to remove it. Here, by shock, I mean applying force to dislocate the stuck stripped bolt. Once the screw is displaced, it may get easier to remove it.
- Grab a screwdriver and a hammer, place the screwdriver on the bolt head and start beating swiftly with the hammer.
- Slowly increase the force and see if you can loosen the screw.
- Do not hit too hard, as it may strip the head of the screw even more.
While you hit the screw head, ensure that you are not hitting the area around it. I mentioned it in past, too, while writing about How to Remove a Deadbolt Lock that I don’t recommend using heavy force on the screws of delicate objects. So,so not use this method if you are looking for how to remove a tiny stripped hex screw.
Use Heat To Get Rid Of A Stripped Allen Screw
In Grade 8 Science class, you must have learned about the effects of heat. You must be aware that heat expands the metals. Repeated heating and cooling make the metal brittle and easy to grip with pliers or wrenches.
This method requires the flame of a torch and must not be used on the screws of your wooden furniture. Guess why? Because wood catches fire!
Here’s how you can use heat to unscrew the Allen Screw giving you nightmares.
- Turn on the torch and place the flame directly on the stripped screw head. Do not let the head turn charred red.
- Once the screw head’s hot enough, apply some water to cool it down
- Repeat the step at least 3-5 times. It will make the screw head brittle and easy to grip.
- Once cooled, try removing the screw using an Allen key, a pair of pliers, or a wrench.
Attempt to unscrew only after the screw head is entirely cool and not when it’s hot. I also advise having a fire extinguisher in the vicinity while using this method. I am an advocate of using all preventive measures to avoid accidents.
Penetrating Fluid In Case Of Rust
While wondering how to get out a stripped Allen bolt, ensure that the screw you are trying to remove is not rusted. Rust can be an added constraint while trying to pull a stripped Allen screw, and it is essential to get rid of that rust. Use penetrating fluid or spray to get rid of the rust.
A penetrant is a low-viscosity oil that can be absorbed into spaces between the rust and help get rid of the rust.
Here are steps for the process:
- Clean the screw head.
- Apply the penetrating fluid around the head of the screw.
- Let the penetrator penetrate for 5-10 minutes.
- Use a pair of pliers and try to remove the stripped screw out.
Also, if you see screws that have started to rust, you must replace them as early as possible. Rusted, stuck, stripped screws are the hardest to pull.
Use A Flat Rubber Band Or Cloth
For mildly stripped screwdrivers, this technique works very well. Significantly, this hack can unscrew the screws of small and delicate objects well. You need a rubber band and a screwdriver, and no more worrying about how to remove stripped recessed Allen bolt!
Here’s how this hack works.
- Choose a wider rubber band wider than the head of the stripped Allen screw.
- Place the rubber band over the Allen screw’s head so that the width of the rubber band covers the head of the screw.
- Hold the screwdriver, place it over the rubber band, and push it into the head of the screw.
- Rotate the screwdriver clockwise to unscrew the bolt.
This hack provides the screwdriver an extra grip to hold on to the screw. The same hack can also be done using a soft cotton cloth instead of a rubber band.
Create a Slot for the Screwdriver
To try this hack, you need a metal cutting tool. In this method, you have to create a slot for a flathead screwdriver on the head of your stripped screw.. I do not recommend this method for screws on delicate objects. Also, try this with utmost care and do not attempt if you do not feel confident.
Here’s what to do:
- Use a cutting tool that can cut metal to cut a ‘slit’ on the screw head. Draw a line where you want to slit with a marker to help you guide through.
- Do not cut the screw head very deep as it can break or damage the screw.
- Use a flathead screwdriver to unscrew the Allen bolt. Do not use strong force to unscrew the bolt because the screw will now be much weaker this time.
Be careful while using the cutter. Also, ensure to wear a face shield and gloves while attempting this act. Metal dust may scatter while scraping the screw head.
How To Prevent Allen Screws From Getting Stripped?
After you have fixed your Allen screw and are no longer worried about how to remove stripped Allen bolt, you must know how you can prevent your screws from getting stripped.
Screws are little mechanical tools that you need to handle with care. Do not use poor quality or unsuitable tools to deal with your screws. I personally prefer Klien tools to work with screws. Also, while working with screws, deal with patience. Hurrying while using screwdrivers on screws is one of the most common reasons of faulty screws.
When you see one of your screws is getting stripped, it’s better to replace it than to wonder how to remove a stripped hex screw later.
Q1. Can you reuse a stripped Allen Bolt?
Answer – I would call it a bad idea. Reusing a stripped Allen bolt means more significant trouble to remove it in the future. Hence, I do not recommend it. Purchasing new bolts is better than figuring out how to remove rounded Allen bolts.
Q2. Can we use a screw extractor to remove tripped screws?
Answer – You should avoid using a screw extractor as much as possible. Screw extractors not only spoil the screws but also damage the area around the screws. Using the above hacks before using a screw extractor is wise. Maybe, you can remove a stripped screw without damaging its surroundings.
Q3. What can I use in the place of a rubber band while using the hack? I do not have such a wide rubber band at home.
Answer – While using the hack, you can use a soft cotton cloth in place of a rubber band. It is better to use a piece of thin fabric, fold it in layers and place it over the screw head. Rotate the screwdriver to remove the stripped bolt.
Q4. The head of my stripped Allen Key has broken while trying to unscrew it. What should I do now?
Answer – You can extract the broken screw using a screw extractor. Be careful while using a crew extractor, as it can damage the surroundings of the screw. If you are not confident about pulling the screw, seek professional help.
Screws are mechanical tools that are used to build almost everything around us. It is common and normal to have faulty or stripped screws at times. If you searched how to unscrew a stripped Allen screw and landed here, you must have got an answer to your query.
Most of these hacks are easy to perform and work as the first aid for your stripped screws. Trying them before seeking professional help can save you some pennies.
It is not rocket science to unscrew a stripped Allen screw using these hacks. But if any of the hacks do not work, feel free to post your queries in the comment box. I will try to help you out.
If any of the given hacks worked for you, share your experience.
I have been a security guy throughout my life. For the last 30 years, I have been making homes safer and hence, putting people at ease. Even on the other side of age, I get fascinated by how technology and simple hacks can make a whole lot of difference to the overall security of the house.
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