I'm trying to remove a tire from a lawn tractor and the bolt is stuck. I've tried all kinds of penetrating oils and an impact driver with no luck. A lot of websites recommend heating the bolt. What kind of heat source should I use?

Addition: Thanks for the tips. The problem with a breaker bar in this case is that, due to the shape of the tire rim, I need to use an extension to get a socket wrench on the bolt and the bolt head is thin so everything falls off easily.

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    If you're going to heat the bolt with a touch, make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy. Especially since you've stated that you've coated the bolt in various flammable substances.
    – Tester101
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 2:38
  • 1
    ... not to mention gasoline vapors from the tank just a few inches away.
    – Hank
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 3:31
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    The other problem with a breaker bar is that you can quickly get to the point where you end up breaking stuff besides the grip of the nut on the bolt. You'll be shocked at how easy it is to twist a bolt right in half with too long of a cheater bar. Although it may seem like an extreme solution to some, the careful application of heat to a stuck fitting can be far less traumatic than too much force.
    – Joel Keene
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 18:30
  • "everything falls off" - finally the kid gets to do something other than poorly hold a flashlight.
    – Mazura
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 10:24

7 Answers 7


First. I would ensure that you are using a 4-way Tire Iron. It makes you apply equal pressure to the bolt and you will be amazed at the different. In fact, if you have not tried this. Then i would not worry about the heat source for now.

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In terms of the blow torch. you need anything that can throw enough heat to make the bolt almost red hot (note I say almost)

A butane torch will be totally fine. Just watch out, the hot nut will be a little easier to snap when hot.

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  • 1
    After I heat the bolt, should I let it cool until it's safe to touch before trying to remove it?
    – StepByStep
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 17:10
  • @WebUser you need to remove it while it is hot, but be careful not to touch it with bare skin.
    – Steven
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 18:35
  • There's two kinds of people in this world. Those with AAA cards in their wallets. And those with 4-way tire irons in their trunk.
    – Mazura
    Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 2:47

A standard propane torch like you would use for soldering plumbing or even one of those torches you use for make creme brule will work. As others have said, be very careful of the flame and touching things that are flammable. Also, know that the nut and the stud will stay hot for a surprisingly long time. That is, in your excitement about finally getting the nut loose, don't grab a hold of it to unscrew it the last few threads and don't let it fall on anything plastic. Handle with care.


A breaker bar should definitely be your next stop. I don't know what kind of impact wrench you're using but here are some sample torques I found online:

Cordless (18v): 120 lb-ft
Corded (120v): 220 lb-ft
Pneumatic: 300-600+ lb-ft

It is relatively easy to exceed the torque of a cordless impact wrench, even with a small breaker bar. E.g. with a 15" bar you need to apply 96 lbs to get 120 lb-ft.

The other thing I've tried in the past when I had a stuck bolt was taking it to my local mechanic. The pneumatic impact wrenches they have surpass anything tool you are likely to have. (Getting a riding mower to a mechanic may be a challenge.)


You never add heat to anything near a inflated tire, since a tire can explode anytime up to 24 hrs after being heated. Lots of people have learned that the hard way.

I would use a 15 point socket and torque wrench on blaster


Before you do that, try a breaker bar. Nothing beats a few feet of leverage for this kind of thing.


An old trick is to hit the bolt head with a hammer to try to dislodge it. Not so much that you distort the bolt head and can't get your wrench on, but just some to help it break loose. Also, will it help to take the tire off the rim? At least that would get it away from the blow torch. Can you apply penetrating oil to the BACKSIDE of the hub as well as the front?


I went through Bernzomatic's web siteto find out what would be best for this. It came out with the TS3500

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