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Recomended tools to remove a bolt with a snaped head?

I’m about to replace my struts and the pinch bolt that pinches the bottom of the strut commonly snaps. I did some research and I see mixed things about “easy outs”. Some just drill the bolt, but won’t that damage the threads? I was thinking of getting a dremmel and then make a slot to remove with a screwdriver, as mentioned to me for another stuck bolt I had. Would that be the optimal choice/solution in a situation like this?

I guess I’m not following what pinch bolt. The only pinch bolts I’m familiar with on a strut are bolt so if it breaks you just replace the bolt. At any rate in general, if the bolt was stuck enough to break the head off, a screwdriver is not going to do it. So the spiral easy out is about all you can do but you have to use heat, PB Blaster, etc. so you have a chance. Gotta be very careful not to break the easy out since it is hardened and hard to drill if it does break. Another option is to weld a nut on top to take the place of the bolt head, but I think first you have to use solvent and heat to loosen the thing. Maybe a pick would help.

Here’s is the bolt I’m taking about, it’s no 4 in the picture.

Ok. People really don’t seem to like easy out with what I’m reading online… Probably because like you said they don’t use pen fluid and heat. Also some kits come with left hand drill bits, I don’t seem to grasp the conecept. Is it so when you drill the starting hole if you the bolt grips it won’t go further into the metal and instead it would actually come out?

If I understand you correctly, you’re worried about a bolt that has not yet broken

How bout soaking the bolt in penetrant, and letting it sit for a time, before attempting to remove it

Maybe it won’t even break, in the end


It’s just I want the tools if it happens. So I’m planning ahead. I was flammed for this about another bolt which I asked the question and didn’t have tools for the situation and now I want to prepare myself and looks like once again I’m not doing the smart thing.

I will use penetrating fluid.

I HATE pinch bolt strut connections!! Often the bolt is not the problem, it is the strut rusted into the knuckle that defies removal.

Go slow, Narwhal, use penetrating oil and let it sit for a couple of days if possible. The threads are exposed so its easy to get the oil in the right place. If it still doesn’t release, heating with a propane torch and spraying oil can sometimes help (flame OFF before spray!)

If it just HAS to break… at least you can gain access to the thread end of the bolt so the drill turns in the direction of the thread. If you carefully center punch the end of the bolt, you can get a small drill started and work you way larger. Many times removing the core of the bolt will allow it to break free. Sometimes and Easy-out is required. Good luck!


a new strut and a different knuckle will solve your issues. you are buying new struts so you are 1/2 way there. get a knuckle from a wrecking yard or even buy a new one. they are for sale at rockauto I think. you can replace your lower control arm too. than you will have new ball joints. almost like having a new suspension. don’t forget the sway bar links. and sway bar bushings.

Penetrant and maybe heat are the best solutions IMHO.
If the bolt does break, you’ll need a centerpunch, a good drill with cobalt bits, oil to lube the drill bit (3-in-one works fine), a sett of taps, and a helicoil kit. Alternately, you could bore it out and use a grade 8 bolt with mechanical locking nut.

Or you could have a shop do the work.

For the record, I too hate pinch systems.

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The pinch bolt seems to be visible through the end of the threaded hole it is seized in. If so drilling from the bottom end should be easy and the broken bolt should wind itself out when the drill bit gets a good bite.

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I have long referred to easy-outs as “maybe-outs”.


The dozen or so easy outs that are in my tool box never seem to get used. The left hand drill bits that came with a set of easy outs long ago usually backed the broken bolt out and I have replaced those bits that were broken or worn and the easy outs just continue to rust in the case. I have replaced broken head bolts on 2.3L HSC engines without removing the head.

You might consider the use of one of those small hand-held propane torches and applying some serious heat to the bolt before trying to remove it. The metal expanding and contracting from the use of heat can crack the rust loose.

As for E-Z Outs, they usually create more problems than they solve. I haven’t used one in decades due to being left in the position of staring at a hard to access fastener with a broken E-Z Out in it and wondering WTH is the next step.

Yeah I will definitely get the hand held ones since I’m only a DIY and don’t have a fancy torch and I will also use penetrating fluid.

Yeah what I read around. I got one of those drill bit easy outs with one side being a drill bit left handed side, so if it bites while making the hole it will pull it out.

I’ll bet there aren’t 5 people here who know off the top of their head what “HSC” stood for on those engines.

Wild guessing, I’d say High Swirl Combustion.

Do I need any special bit to screw through metal? I read people say cobalt but my Milwaukee black oxide bit set says it screw through metal. Is it just that it will have a harder time to do so compared’ to cobalt?

Yes, you will have a harder time, versus cobalt drill bits

That has been my experience

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An EZ out will probably work. Buy one that comes in a kit, with the drill, the EZ out, a tap, and a drill-thing that sort of looks like a pinion gear for a differential. That last gadget is used to make a symmetrical indentation in the shaft of the bolt, so the drill doesn’t wander and always starts at dead center. That, along with drilling parallel to the bolt shaft, helps avoid damaging the internal threads in the knuckle. Heat a liberal & long soak in penetrating fluid should prevent the EZ from breaking. If the EZ out still breaks, then you’d either have to replace the knuckle, or figure out a way to remove it & take it to an auto machine shop, where they have hollow drills (sort of small hole saws) that can drill around the EZ out to remove it.

Ok thanks for the info. I bought this ( AIMENTE 4PCS Double Side Damaged Screw Extractor Out Remover Bolt Stud Tool ) but realized it’s kind of crappy and went with this instead ( Neiko 01925A Alloy Screw Extractor Solid Cobalt Left Hand Drill Bits Set, 10-Piece ) .

I can’t really find other kits, checked Canadian Tore and home depot and it’s the same thing.

One thing I don’t quite understand, how do you manage to break the ez out? Like if I pulling it out and the bolt isn’t budging, won’t simply turning it the other way like, remove the ez out? And when ir does break, using vice grips can’t I remove it?

An EZ out is hardened steel, so it is plenty tough, but on the brittle side. An non-budging EZ out, if enough force is applied, will snap off flush, just like a bolt head will. Yes you can unscrew an EZ out, but not if it has already snapped off. Vice grips would be of no help, b/c there’s nothing left to grab hold of when that happens. I bought an EZ kit with all those parts a while back at Lowes as I recall.