Removing stuck Phillips screws: The easiest techniques
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Photo 1: Fill the screw head
Squirt a dollop of valve grinding compound into the
head of the screw. Then jam in the screwdriver and turn.
No matter how simple the repair, it seems like there’s always one
stuck screw. You try to muscle your way out of the jam, but all
that does is cam out the screw head slots. It doesn’t have to be
that way. Here are a few tricks to coax out a stubborn Phillips
At the first sign of trouble, spray the screw with rust penetrant
(Liquid Wrench and PB Blaster are two really good brands). Let
the penetrant work for at least 15 minutes. Then spray it again
and tap the screw head dead-on several times with a hammer.
Then try the screwdriver again.
Next, apply valve grinding compound (photo 1). The compound
(about $4 at any auto parts store) contains a fine grit that
helps the screwdriver bite into the head.
Still stuck? Try stronger techniques
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Photo 2: Hammer the impact driver
Hold the body of the impact driver to prevent it from
turning. Then hit the end with a serious blow.
If the screw still won't budge and the surrounding surfaces can
tolerate some heat, aim a lighter flame directly onto the screw
head. Then douse it with cold water before trying it again.
Still stuck? Invest in an impact screwdriver (photo 2). Pick one
up for about $20 at a home center or an auto parts store.