How to Tighten a Bolt That Keeps Spinning?

Why do bolts spin when you try to tighten them?

The reason your bolt is spinning when trying to tighten it is because your bolt is too narrow for the hole, a stuck nut, and use of incorrect tools. Debris in the hole and a stripped thread are other reasons why your bolt keeps spinning and won’t tighten.


bolt spinning


Narrow bolt

One of the major contributing factors that causes your bolt to spin is because your bolt is too narrow or small for the hole. If a bolt is smaller than the hole, it will continue to rotate even after being inserted. If you choose a relatively small bolt, it will continue to spin constantly regardless of how accurately you tightened it or how accurately you placed the nuts. However, this will not be the case if you choose a larger bolt.

On the other hand, the length of the bolt should be appropriate according to the measurement of the hole. Even if you opt for a shorter bolt than the hole, you will still be forced to deal with the spinning issue. In addition, the excellent procedure for tightening will not be effective in stopping the rotation.


Stuck nuts

This problem can also arise if either the bolt or the nut is flawed in its form due to damage or misuse. This is also the case if the nut on the bolt does not have the appropriate threading. This can result in the nut becoming permanently lodged on the bolt.

As a result, you won’t be able to tighten it to its maximum potential, which will cause the spinning to occur.


Incorrect tools

In most cases, when you need to tighten a bolt, you can use a wrench because this is the most effective method. But you’ll get into trouble if your wrench isn’t the right size for the nut or bolt head. You can’t get a good grip on the nut or the bolt when you use the wrong instrument.

Make sure the wrench is in good shape to work and can retain the bolt head so it can be tightened properly.


Debris in the hole

When your bolt keeps spinning, there is another thing to think about in this situation: whether or not there is debris in the hole. It could be small materials such as flecks of dust. This is an important consideration. Inside the hole, dust and debris can serve as lubricants, which may sound counterintuitive at first.

Even if you tighten the nut as tight as possible, the bolt may continue to spin if there is a so-called lubricant in the bolt hole. This is because the lubricant helps the bolt slide more efficiently, and debris can serve as a lubricant.


Stripped threads

If the threads on the bolt are stripped, the bolt can continue to spin continuously. Now, this is a problem that has two sides to it. Remember that the bolt and the nut have threads on their respective surfaces.

Both of them require threads that are in good shape. If the thread on the nut or the bolt becomes stripped, the two components will no longer be able to grasp onto one another securely. The reason for this problem is because a nut or bolt that has become stripped.


How to tighten a bolt that keeps spinning?

You can tighten a bolt that keeps spinning by using a wider bolt, removing the spinning bolt, and removing the stuck nut. Another way you can tighten a bolt that keeps spinning is by using a thread locker.

Before you use any of these methods, give the bolt one final attempt to see if you can tighten it the usual way. A tool, such as a wrench or a screwdriver, can be inserted between the bolt and nut. Sometimes all you need to do is try to tighten it again. However, if that isn’t the case, you can try one of the options below.


Using a wider bolt

Your bolt can keep spinning because you use a smaller bolt for the hole. In this case, you need to use a wider bolt that fits well. Here are steps you can follow;

  1. Locate bolt holes
  2. Get the proper diameter for the hole
  3. Use the diameter to measure your new bolt
  4. Insert the new bolt and tighten it with a screw

The bolt will continue to spin if it is too small for the hole and has some wiggle room. If this is the case, you’ll need a bolt with a diameter that matches the hole. Of course, in the same vein, you should also check that the nut you’re using is the right size for the bolt.


Removing the stuck nut

You need to remove the nut from the bolt if it is the cause of the problem. A nutbreaker will be required if a wrench cannot loosen the nut. Here is how you can remove it;

  1. Tighten the nut.
  2. To make the nut larger, heat it using a hair dryer.
  3. Finagle the nut with a wrench while it is still warm.
  4. Try to loosen the nut.
  5. The nut will contract as the metal cools.
  6. Once you remove the nut, inspect the bolt to see if it’s in excellent shape.
  7. If the nut is damaged or stripped, replace the nut with a new one and try again.


Removing the spinning bolt

If your bolt keeps spinning, you need to remove it and replace it with a new one to stop it from spinning. In most cases, you can remove the spinning bolt with a wrench. However, when the bolt is rusty or stuck, you need an alternative method to remove it. Here are steps you can follow;

  1. Loosening a Bolt with a Wrench or Pliers
  • Spray penetrating oil around the nut and under the bolt head.
  • Slide a hollow piece of metal over the box-end wrench’s handle.
  • Use the long wrench to try to loosen the bolt that is stuck.
  • If the bolt or nut is stripped, use a pair of vice-grip pliers.
  1. Heating the Bolt to Loosen It
  • If the bolt is still stuck, heat it with a propane torch.
  • Put 15 seconds of flame from the propane torch on the nut.
  • Then, use a long wrench to loosen the bolt.
  1. Removing a Rusted Bolt
  • Get rid of as much rust as possible by using a wire brush.
  • Soak the threads with a rust-penetrating in liquid thread loosener.
  • Hit the bolt’s head with a hammer six to twelve times.
  • Use a long-handled socket wrench to unscrew the rusted bolt.

Note: The following methods should not be tried together. You can only use one method that fits the condition of your bolt. After taking out the bolt, you should inspect the hole to ensure there isn’t anything else wrong with it before trying a new bolt. However, you can also use a nut splitter to get the job done. You can purchase a nut splitter at any hardware store or on the internet.


Use a thread locker

You can use thread locker adhesive to prevent the bolt from spinning if it is just being used to hold light objects in place, and it doesn’t need to be 100 percent structurally sound.

  1. Start with a clean set of threads.
  2. Add enough thread locker to the joint to wet the threads
  3. Then tighten normally
  4. Clean and reapply every time the parts are assembled.


How to tighten a carriage bolt that keeps spinning?

You can tighten a carriage bolt that keeps spinning by utilizing locks washer, countersinking the holes, using penetrating oil. Another way you can tighten your carriage bolt is by using a hex nut.


Utilize locks washers

Applying the lock washer will prevent the nut from spinning, tightening the carriage bolt. How to apply;

  1. Insert thread into the holes of carriage bolts
  2. Hand-tighten them using a wrench or socket set
  3. Apply lock washers

Lock washers include an interlocking design that applies pressure to the nut, preventing the nut from spinning in any direction.


Fill up the Holes with Countersink

Countersinking the holes is a time-saving and effective way to eliminate spinning when working with softer wood than the bolt, such as pine or basswood. How to apply;

  1. Drill a deeper hole
  2. The length should be deeper than the length of the bolt
  3. Then screw in the countersink
  4. You will need to ream the hole so that it is slightly larger than the diameter of the head of your carriage bolt.
  5. This will prevent your carriage bolt from spinning

Note: Bolt manufacturers can propose a countersink bit with a diameter of 1/16 of an inch larger than your fastener; however, this recommendation can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.


Use of Penetrating Oil

If you are having trouble removing your carriage bolt because it is spinning, you can do the following.

  1. Try spraying penetrating oil around the diameter of the bolt. The removal process ought to be simplified as a result.
  2. After allowing it to soak for some time, you can attempt to remove it using a wrench or socket set.

Penetrating oil can be sprayed on the area around the threads and in the space between the sheaves after the bolt has been heated with a torch. This is an alternative method.


Make use of a hex nut

Using a hex nut will ensure your carriage bolt is well-tightened and prevents it from spinning if you are working with metal. Follow the steps below:

  1. Get some hex nuts with a head slightly larger than the head of the carriage bolt.
  2. Then place the hex nuts over the exposed threads of the carriage bolts

This will keep them from spinning while still allowing a wrench or socket set to be used to tighten them down. Since you are working with metal, you need to obtain some hex nuts with a head somewhat larger than the carriage bolt you are using.