Valentine's Day tools



My girlfriend has offered to buy me a toolset of my choice for valentine’s day but I didn’t know what i wanted. My number one problem when working on my car (a 1989 Honda Accord with 220k miles) is the fear of breaking stuff as i’m taking things apart. (Had to replace the thermostat housing when the heads of the bolts holding the thermostat in broke off).

I was wondering what tools you guys would recommend for extracting frozen and broken bolts as i’m planning on replacing struts myself this spring (have never replaced struts before). I’m sure they’re going to be a pain to remove as i’ve been made aware that they are the originals from the factory in 1988.

Any advice you guys can give me would be very helpful.


Ask for a gas wire feed welder for removing broken bolts.



Sounds like a great idea, unfortunately a little out of the price range. I’m thinking my limit is probably gonna be some kind of kit for less than $50. Although I like that idea, broken bolts are the one thing that scare me out of doing a lot of jobs myself and when i’m able to afford something like that i’ll probably be looking into getting one.


My hat’s off to you. You’re attacking the “nightmare” aspects of auto repair. Problem is there’s no cheap way I know of to handle these problems–well, maybe some of them. You really need a torch, and not just a cheap propane one. There are portable oxy-acetylene torches for about $300-400 new, or maybe you could find something used on ebay or amazon. Anyway, here’s what they look like:

Without heat, you’ve gotta use a “rust penetrant” like CRC Rustbuster, and spray it on overnight if possible. Then you might use a 6 point, not 12 point socket on the bolt head, using a back and forth motion to slowly free it. The important part is to not go overboard

and snap off bolt. Patience. If you snap it off you usually have to use preferably a good set of cobalt drill bits and drill a hole through the EXACT CENTER of the bolt shank. Then you need a set of “easy-outs” or other types of “broken bolt extractors” to extract the broken bolt. If the bolt still won’t come out you’ve gotta drill the entire bolt shank out–without damaging the female threads! Pretty tough a lot of times.

(That’s why you have to start initial drilling in exact center of bolt shank.) OK, let’s say you damaage the female threads. Now you can get a helicoil at a hardware or auto parts store and install that. (A helicoil makes new female threads). I’ve never heard of a “kit” for just removing broken bolts. Maybe start out with a Craftsman metric tool set that come in a carry box–no need for inch based sockets, etc, for a Japanese car. Then a set of “number” drill bits and maybe a set of inch based drill bits–1/64" to 1/4".

Then a cheap set of easy-outs at a hardware store. Of course you’ll need a drill, too. You see, even the basics aren’t cheap! But if you’re successful, it’s damn cheaper than paying a garage to do your work!

Post back and let us know how it goes!


Thinking along the lines of a single gift, reasonably small budget item - you need a decent electric (or air if you have a compressor) impact wrench/gun. A little PB blaster or similar, the right socket, and an impact will solve a lot of problems before you have them.

These are not a solution for small spaces - might not have helped on the thermostat - but it will save you worlds of trouble on things like struts.