Cross Threaded Bolts: How to Fix It? (Explained!)

Cross-threaded bolts happen due to many reasons, and it all means potential risk and damage. Such a problem can cause a lot of damage. For instance, it can cause improper torque values. As a result, it would create excessive vibration and noise while you run your car. Furthermore, if left unchecked, it can cause damage to your engine. Thus, it would be best if you fixed it as soon as possible. So, you may ask:

If you have a cross-threaded bolts issue, how should you fix it? The way to fix a cross-threaded bolt is to remove it first, place it on a thread gauge, repair the damaged part, and put it back by securing a die. The first thing to do is to repair the damage caused by the cross-threading. Afterward, you can work your way to the spot where you’ll place the bolt.

If you have a cross-threaded bolt, you’ll likely suffer from excessive noise and vibration. Aside from the bolt being super annoying, it also signals significant damage waiting to happen if you ignore it.

In this article, you’ll see a step-by-step procedure for repairing the bolt and preventing it from occurring again. This way, you can deal with this problem soon and avoid creating further issues due to such.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Cross Threaded Bolts

How Do You Fix a Cross-Threaded Bolt?

Cross-threading happens as a result of a failed or a forced bolt into a wrong angle. When the threads of a bolt misalign from the center, it creates another thread, causing damage to its body and the nut.

Since it causes quite a problem when you run your engine, you’ll need to have it fixed soon. Here’s a step-by-step guide on dealing with this problem:

Match a socket with the damaged bolt.

Connect a wrench to the cross-threaded bolt’s head. Next, connect a ratchet handle to the connector. Finally, to remove the bolt from the component, turn it counterclockwise.

Get a socket and match it with the head of the damaged bolt. You can use a ratchet handle and attach it to the socket for a better and easier turning. Afterward, turn the bolt counterclockwise, removing it from the part.

Use a thread gauge.

After removing the cross-threaded bolt, you’ll need to use a thread gauge. A thread gauge is a tool that determines the pitch or lead of a screw thread. It’s also known as screw gauge or pitch gauge, and it’s available in auto parts and online stores. Once you have it, you need to thread the bolt in it to fix the damage.

Use a T-handle wrench and a cutting fluid.

Choose a tap that matches the thread count and diameter of the bolt. Afterward, place it into a T-handle tap wrench. Then, pour cutting fluid over the tap’s threading and any broken thread sections.

Turn the tap to thread the damaged part of the bolt.

Once you’ve put cutting fluid, you can then rotate the tap clockwise. This rotation will force the bolt to thread into the damaged parts.

Set the bolt’s head in a vise.

Place the bolt’s head in a vice with the threads pointing up. A vice is a tool used to lock the bolt in place so you can fix the thread without it wiggling in place. It would be best if you locked the bolt’s head within the vice jaws.

Use a die socket.

Place a die in a die socket that matches the bolt’s size and thread count. To chop fresh threads on the bolt, turn the die socket clockwise.

Thread the bolt properly.

Once you’ve finished all these steps, you can then thread the bolt into the threaded part.

What Happens If You Cross-Thread a Bolt?

Nuts and bolts that have been cross-threaded are challenging to work with for every user. Cross-threaded wheel nuts, for example, will not maintain the correct torque, resulting in additional noise and vibration. In addition, a wheel stud might break, or a wheel could fall off in the worst-case scenario.

Cross-threading is generally due to the fastener being pushed onto the bolt at an angle to the appropriate position. 

The nut or bolt’s threads are intended to interact with the axis of each other, allowing the threads’ peaks and valleys to move across one another.

When the threads of a bolt move from the center and slice into the other threads of a threaded bolt or nut, it is cross-threading. As a result, the bolt causes cross-threading breakage to the upper counter threads of the threaded bolt or nut. 

The breakage will be repaired by cutting new threads on the cross-threaded bolt and the damaged female threads. Thus, you need to fix the issue. However, the first thing you need to do is remove it, and it’s pretty tricky to do so.

How Do You Remove a Cross-Threaded Bolt?

Removing a cross-threaded bolt can be pretty challenging since the threads are already damaged. Thus, in most cases, the bolt gets stuck, and you’ll need to exert more effort to take it out.

If you take out a cross-threaded bolt, you’ll need to work your way through the damage that caused it to be stuck. 

The most straightforward approach to handle this situation is to remove the bolt with a socket and ratchet. However, it would be ideal for working your way on the bolt, turning it back and forth to release it. 

This rotation will loosen the bolt a little bit, making it easier for you to remove. Once it gets a tiny amount of tension behind it, you’ll want to rotate in the opposite direction.

It will likely put you back in your starting position. Then, please turn it on the opposite side until it clicks off and removes it successfully.

How Does a Bolt Get Cross-Threaded?

Cross-threaded bolts can occur for various causes, all of which carry the danger of injury and damage.

Once the bolt’s threads slip off the middle area, they cut into the other threads of a threaded bolt or nut. As a result, it damages the thread, which is what we call cross-threading.

The bolt causes cross-threading damage to the upper threads of the threaded bolt or nut. You can fix the breakage by cutting new threads on the cross-threaded bolt and the broken threads.

Such a problem has the potential to do a great deal of harm to your engine. It can, for example, result in incorrect torque values. As a consequence, when you drive your automobile, you will experience extreme vibration and noise. 

It might cause harm to your engine if left unchecked. As a result, you must correct it as quickly as possible.

How Do You Test for Cross Threading?

The best way to test for cross-threading is to check the bolt itself for damage. If you find the bolt challenging to screw in place, then you may have a damaged thread.

Another thing you can do is to watch out for its effects. In most cases, a cross-threaded bolt creates vibration and noise when your engine runs.

Due to such a clunking sound, you’ll notice that the source is the cross-threaded bolt. Since it is misaligned in place, you can easily suspect that it has a damaged or a cross-threaded bolt.


In a nutshell, you can find a cross-threaded bolt quite problematic since it causes many issues. However, it’s not that much of a deal since the repairs of such are pretty simple. A cross-threaded bolt is repaired by removing it first, threading it on a thread gauge, repairing the damaged section, then fastening it with a die. 

The first step is to fix the cross-threading damage. After that, you can go to the location where you’ll install the bolt. As long as you fix the cross-threading issue, you can ensure a smooth performance by avoiding the damage and the clanking sounds and vibrations it can cause.

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Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more