Cut Off Rusty Bolts

Updated: Mar. 22, 2024

Inexpensive cutoff tool saves the day.

cut off tool

Every time I hit a bump in my Honda van, I heard clattering metal parts in the front. The problem was easy to diagnose by simply looking behind the wheels. Both sway bar linkage ends were completely separated and dangling.

After rounding up the new sway bar linkage parts, I jacked up the van and tried to remove the nuts holding the linkage arms. But it was clear that no amount of penetrating oil was going to loosen those 13-year-old nuts. The space was too tight for a regular angle grinder, and difficult to reach with a reciprocating saw, so I pulled out my 3-in. cutoff tool and proceeded to cut through the nuts and bolts.

There may be more robust versions of it, but this $25 tool is fine for occasional use. I was able to cut through the bolts in three or four minutes. But I found you have to use very light pressure or the motor will overheat, causing the thermal overload switch to trip. I guess this is a good thing, because otherwise the motor would fry. You can buy this cutoff tool from Harbor Freight. Even though the tool isn’t very powerful, considering the relatively low cost I think it’s worth having around for situations just like this.