As we are in the midst of Labor Day weekend, I began to think about just how much more labor intensive an auto repair can become when something, usually some minute little thing, goes wrong and makes an average job become maddening.  For example, a screw that refuses to come out and you realize that it is completely stripped.  If you have never encountered this, consider yourself lucky.  As a mechanic that has been working on cars for the better part of my life, I’d like to pass along to the D-I-Y home mechanics and auto repair amateurs a little how-to on getting that stupid screw out.  Knowing how to get the stripped screw with a mangled head out of your way can save you lots of time and headaches.

The damage is done. 

The screw head no longer resembles anything that any screwdriver known to man can manipulate. 

There is no turning back now, but that screw MUST come out!

What do you do?

Grab your Drill and Drill Bits

Any kind of drill will work for this task.  Look through your drill bits and find one with a diameter just big enough to drill out the very center of the screw head.  For example, you’re looking at a mangled Phillips head screw.  You will want to use a drill bit sized to cover just the star shape in the center.

This is not going to take long.  You want to slowly start drilling out just the center of the screw head.  Considering that the screw was soft enough to be mangled so badly in the first place, I assure you it should be no match for the steel drill bit.  Remember to go slow as you are not going to drill deep.  You are only going in far enough that the screw head disconnects itself from the screw post.  In most cases, when you reach this point the head will start to spin around as it separates.

Removing the Screw Stump

With the mangled screw head off, you can now free whatever auto part you were trying to work on to begin with.  Now you can get a visual on the screw stump.  This is what we have to remove.  With a pair of Vise-Grips you can get to it.  Firmly attach the Vise-Grips to the tip of the broken screw and very slowly unscrew the stump.  And there you have it!  Stripped screw problem solved and you can get on with the auto repair you were already working on.

With a little help from your friends here at Sanford’s Automotive Service in Columbia, SC you are ready to jump back in and get to that auto repair.  As a full service auto repair and auto service shop, we are here to help with all of your vehicle’s needs.  Drop by or schedule your auto repair or auto maintenance today.  We will even set Saturday appointments to accommodate your schedule and auto repair needs.