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How to Clean Bolt Threads

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  1. step : Cleaning and Resetting the Threads (1:13)
    • Spray the threads of each nut with brake parts cleaner
    • Check the rethreading tool with a good nut to verify correct size
    • Spray the nut threads with rust penetrant
    • Screw the rethreading tool into the nut
    • Use wrenches if it is tight
    • Clean the threads with cleaning spray again
    • Screw the rethreading tool into the nut to check fitment
    • Repeat cleaning steps as necessary

Hey, everyone. It's Len from 1A Auto. I want to go over something with you real quick today. You might find yourself in a little bit of a jam. Maybe you're doing a job where you take off some lug nuts or any other type of bolt or nut, and you'll find that the threads--either on the inside or the outside depending on the application you're working on--have been a little stripped. Maybe you tried zipping it on with an airgun without starting it on a couple of threads first. Or maybe they were just gunked up. Anything's possible.

So what I would actually like to do I'd like to mention to you about something called re-threading. You can use a small bit like a re-threader, or you could even use a tap and die if you have that. For this particular application, I'm working on 2012 Nissan Altima. I'm going to be re-threading these lug net threads because I noticed that some of them were going on a little hard.

First, what I like to do is I'm going to clean this out with a little bit of brake cleaner. So you're going to wear your safety glasses. Bring our bucket over, being very careful not to spray this towards my eye like this--it's going to come back because it's under pressure. So we'll just go like this. Just give it a little bit. Clean it out. I'm going to do the same for all five. This one I can tell is really gunked up inside. That one's going to be a good one to clean.

Next what I'm going to do is I'm going to grab my re-threader. Make sure that I have the right size. You can compare this to the stud that you're working o,n or if you do have a lug nut that's still in good condition, you can try to thread it in a couple of threads. Just make sure it goes in. I'm going to try a different lug nut because this one's going to need it. Last one. All right, so I know that this is the right thread now seeing as in it worked in the last one that I tried. Aiming away from my face and over a mat of some sort--you don't want this on your garage floor or your grass, anything really. Just try to work it in. Go back and forth. If it's stiff like it's going to be on the others, we'll just use the wrenches.

For this application, it's a 21 millimeter and a 13 millimeter. That one should be pretty good. I'll put it aside so I can clean it again. I'm going to grab another one that I know is a little stiff. Put in a little bit of penetrant and see if I can get it started. Hold one side of the wrench. I'm going to turn it to the right. I'm going to try to tighten this right in. It's going to be stiff--that's okay. It's what we're here for.

Look at all that gunk coming out. Just try to work it back and forth. You can bring it all the way down to the end if you want, but I could feel that it loosened right up once I got past where the threads of the stud were.

Now I'm going to loosen this up, turning to the left, counterclockwise. Take a peak inside. Looks pretty good. I'm going to set it aside so I can hit that with some parts cleaner again. Moving on, I'm going to do the same thing for all five of these lug nuts.

All right now that we've got these threads all cleaned up with our lubricant, and our thread re-threader, I'm going to use a little bit more parts cleaner or brake cleaner. Be very careful, making sure that I'm wearing gloves, safety glasses. I'm going to spray this in. As you can see, I sprayed things out. Spray things in and stuff comes out. That's why we want to make sure that's not aiming at our face. So one. Couple of blasts. Two, and so on for all five. Just make sure it's as clean as possible. You can take a peak inside. Make sure there's no gunk or corrosion. That would have been the probable cause of the original issue. Little bit of rust probably in there from moisture. Oh yeah that was a nasty one.

All right, now that I've got these cleaned out with the parts cleaner, I'm just going to check it again with the re-threader. Oh yeah. Love it. Way to go Len. One, just check all five while we're here. That one's a little stiff. What we can do is we can just hit it again. We shouldn't need both wrenches for this. Just drive it in. In and out... in and out. Can be a little stiff--that's okay. It's not going to bind anything on the car. Here we go. I'm just going in and out with it, and just trying to make sure all those threads in there are nice and clean. That's the purpose for doing this before we could try driving it back onto the car. Just back and forth... back and forth. There we go. Just continue that for all of them. Once you feel like they're all good, we can go ahead and throw them onto our wheel bearing studs.

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Tools needed for replacement:

    Sockets - Metric

  • 21mm Socket

  • Specialty Tools

  • Metric Tap and Die Set
  • Rethreading Tool

  • Wrenches - Metric

  • 13mm Wrench

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