How to Remove Rusted Exhaust Bolts? (Explained!)

One of the many nightmares of car owners is seeing rust in the car, whatever part it is. Thus, seeing your exhaust bolts getting ruined due to rust is not something you can ignore. Since rust can cause more damage, you’ll want to remove it as soon as possible. Thus, you may ask:

How to remove rusted exhaust bolts? To remove rusted exhaust bolts, you’ll need to exert a lot of force to loosen them. You can also heat it, drill it, or even cut the bolts. Rusted bolts need immediate replacement. Thus, you need to remove it in whatever means you find efficient.

Exhaust bolts suffer from rusting due to corrosion and even old age. Thus, it’s not something you can prevent, especially as your unit gets older. The great thing is you can remove it using several methods, and we’ll discuss each one.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of removing rusted exhaust bolts. We’ll also include different methods on how you can remove and replace such. This way, you can immediately respond when you see your bolts getting damaged due to rusting.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

How to Remove Rusted Exhaust Bolts

How Do I Free Stuck Rusted Exhaust Bolts?

You can free your stuck and rusted exhaust bolts for several reasons. You can apply force, heat it, drill it, or even cut it.

Let’s discuss each one and see how you can do it.

Use force to remove the rusted exhaust bolts.

Every technician sees applying a lot of force to release stubborn exhaust nuts as the first option.

In rare cases, striking the bolt head with sufficient force may be beneficial. Alternatively, You can use appropriate equipment such as a chisel or wrench to loosen the bolt by slowly striking the components back and forth.

In general, this method might be the first and best one for removing corroded exhaust nuts. Of course, the solution may differ depending on how stubborn the bolt is

In general, you’ll need to use a good amount of force without completely dismantling the arrangement.

Heat the bolts to remove rust.

The corroded exhaust bolts simultaneously expand and compress when heated and then cooled to the maximum degree. Thus, you can also heat your bolts in such a way that it removes the rust coatings.

The extreme heat may help loosen the obstinate bolt, allowing it to be moved using essential tools. This method also cleans the bolt threads of rust and corrosion. So, try it out once to see how well it works.

Use a drill.

To drill out the corroded bolts, a variety of equipment is readily available on the market. To make the work worthwhile, clean the surface as thoroughly as possible. 

The drill-out gun makes it simple to remove corroded exhaust nuts. However, there is a risk that the bolt will break inside the arrangement. 

Taking maintenance advice from specialists, on the other hand, may assist in completing the task flawlessly. Thus, ensure that you do things carefully and well-planned.

Cut the rusted bolts.

Applying notches on the nut and bolts to loosen stubborn ones is a pretty specific approach. Using gentle grips and reasonable effort, you may remove corroded exhaust pipe bolts in no time. 

Since the tension in the bolt lessens when it is divided into pieces, it is easier to twist and slide. Thus, the cuts will help you remove the rusted bolts quicker and more efficiently.

If you want a visual guide, you may find this clip on removing rusted exhaust bolts an excellent guide to give you a better grasp on what you’ll need to do.

How Do You Remove a Rusted Bolt Without Heat?

If you want to remove a rusted bolt but don’t want to heat it, you can do the opposite by cooling it off.

As I mentioned earlier, heating and cooling to the maximum degree can alter the properties of rust. Thus, if you don’t want to heat your bolts, you can always freeze them.

The only thing is that it might take a longer time to do since freezing isn’t a quick process.

Now, if you can’t freeze it, you can go for other methods mentioned earlier. Among these are using force, drill, and even placing cuts on the bolts.

Rusted bolts won’t budge like your typical bolt unless you do something extra to it. Thus, you can consider using excessive force, drill, or even applying cuts to take the rust away and loosen the bolt enough for you to remove.

If you’re up against a tough bolt that won’t move, consider locking two wrenches together and tackling it once more. The additional wrench will give you greater leverage, which should be enough to get the bolt out. 

Of course, you could use a pipe, but the brilliance of this trick is that if you only have one wrench, you’ll almost always have another nearby. So for convenient wrench storage, try this simple DIY.


In a nutshell, removing a rusted exhaust bolt is a simple process, but only as long as you know how to do it. The four main methods should be enough to help you remove the rusted exhaust bolts in your unit. In the end, you’ll be the one to choose your preferred method since you will weigh down which one you think would be more efficient for you.

Whatever method you choose, the idea would be to remove the rusted exhaust bolt as soon as possible and to deal with the remaining rust so you can prevent further damage from happening.

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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