Anyone who’s ever driven a screw knows that screw heads can strip out pretty easily. This leaves you with no way to drive the screw further in or draw it back out. At that point, you could be stuck starting over on your project. Or you could get a screw extractor. Screw extractors are used for removing damaged screws or bolts. They are usually bits that fit into your cordless drill or impact driver. A screw extractor is also sometimes called an “easy out.” They really do make a tough situation easy.
What To Look for In a Screw Extractor
When you’re shopping for a screw extractor, pick one with wide, aggressive grooves. These grooves, or flutes, are where the gripping power of an extractor comes from. The wider they are, the easier it is for the extractor to cut into the screw and grip it. A screw extractor uses left-handed grooves to tighten its grip on the screw. This means that the harder the screw fights, the tighter the easy out’s grip gets.
Another thing to look for is whether or not the easy out is made of hardened steel. Some screws and bolts are hardened, and you’ll need a hardened screw extractor to remove them.
How To Use A Screw Extractor
1. Drill a hole into the center of the screw or bolt. Most screw extractor sets come with drill bits to match the extractors. This takes the guesswork out of finding out how big of a hole you’ll need to drill.
2. Swap out your drill bit for the extractor bit and drill into the hole in the middle of the fastener. The screw or bolt should back out easily. Apply more pressure if it doesn’t.
It’s really that easy. That’s why they call a screw extractor an easy out. For more tool tips, automotive knowledge, and home improvement tricks, check out our blog. We’re always adding new articles on everything from toolbox essentials to air compressor oil and everything in between.