What is a breaker bar and how to use it

How to use a breaker bar like a pro?

What is a breaker bar and how to use a breaker bar

Once in a while, there’ll be a situation that calls you to take off a stubborn nut from your car. Or maybe the nut may get frosty or corroded. And in cases like these, it’s hard to get the removal done with just a torque wrench.

Unless you have a very high output from the wrench that surpasses the required rate for the bolt, things may get very complicated. And that’s how breaker bars come into play. This tool is, infact, easy to use and there’s not really much to learn before using it.

In this guide we’ll talk about breaker bar basics and afterwards we’ll look into the process of using it and some more tips that might be helpful if you decide to use one. Without further ado, let’s talk about the breaker bar.

What Is a Breaker Bar

What Is a Breaker Bar

Kind of similar to a torque wrench, the breaker bar has the ability to generate a surprising amount of torque force in a small form factor. But since this tool is different from the torque wrench, what’s it for?

Generally when you need to take a socket off what do you use? A torque wrench or a socket wrench, right? But there are times when those aren’t enough. The need for a stronger torque generation arises.

Breaker bars, unlike torque wrenches, are long and non-ratcheting. These mechanisms combined helps provide the tool with a great amount of torque generation power as well as power multiplication. With the long handle of a breaker bar, it’s easily possible to generate more power with it than a torque wrench.

As a matter of fact, overall design-wise, the breaker bar is quite simpler than any other torque wrench variation. It’s a simple design that allows it to efficiently channel torque power in the application point. And it’s much more effective in this process than any other wrenches can.

What Does a Breaker Bar Used For and Process Of Using It

how to use a breaker bar

To remove frozen or rusty nuts off of a car is quite complicated and may get you into more trouble if you aren’t clear about the consequences of making a mistake.

Honestly, it’s not that hard. All you gotta do is learn about the correct procedure and have enough patience for this. We’ll see how to do that now.

But before talking about the process, it’s a good idea to learn why frozen nuts happen and what the situation gets inside the nut. Learning about this first will make you understand its cleaning more easily. It’ll sound more sensical too.

Frozen nuts don’t happen in a single day. The rust buildup takes months of slow-rust growth on the bolt. Slowly the threadings on the bolt start to smooth up and in the process of all this, the rust from the nut helps attach itself with the other parts together.

Some people like to bang hard on a rusty bolt with a hammer or a wrench thinking it may loosen it up. They’re not wrong. The banging can help detach the bolt. But the banging will most likely have an impact on other components too. For example, the attached parts may get dented or cracked. And there are more risks.

For reasons like these, it’s better not to put excess pressure on a frozen bolt.

One simple yet effective way is to apply some oil onto the bolt, including the corners and insides of the threadings. The oil will help lubricate the bolt for its easier removal.

Once you’re done lubricating the bolt, take a breaker bar and attach its head to the socket. Start turning slowly. After some degrees of rotation, the bolt should come off easily.

Using a Cheater Bar

As the name sounds, the process involves some kind of cheating here. Basically, there are going to be nuts and bolts that are too rusty to remove by a breaker bar alone. In cases like these, you have to think about a way to increase the torque input into the bar.

The simplest way to do this is by adding an extra pipe with the bar. Connect the bar’s end with the pipe to create a larger handle length and as a result it, the torque generation will get quite high as you turn the pipe.

But there are two major problems with this approach. First is the excess torque application. What it means is that when you use an extender, or cheater bar, with the breaker bar and apply torque on a nut, the force might get excessively high. This can break open the nut or damage the surrounding components.

Another issue is the ratcheting mechanism inside the bar. Too much force applied to the ratchet may damage it permanently. For this reason, you should be extra careful before and while using a cheater extender with your breaker bar. However, if yours is a non-ratcheting bar then you’re much safer from this problem.

Using a Ratchet Breaking Bar

Ratcheting breaker bars come in a variety of shapes and sizes. And thus, their prices differ quite a lot. If you have to use a ratcheting breaker bar, choose the right one that has the right head size as well as the one having the best build quality.

Some ratcheting mechanisms have an option to block the ratchet if a fault happens. The way this is done is by using a longer ratchet handle that covers the smaller ratchet handle. This combination not only helps prevent injuries from slipped ratchets but also protects the ratchet’s condition for a long time.

Also, handle length is important as well. If the torque requirements are high and if you take a bar with a small handle, you’re going to have a hard time generating enough force. By using the right combination of the ratcheting mechanism along with other components you can have the best breaker bar experience.

Here Is a video For You On How To Use A Breaker And Cheater Bar On A Difficult Nut Or Bolt

Final Words

Like torque wrenches, breaker bars have found their place in automotive tools. Check out our article about the difference between torque wrench vs breaker bar. Using them is easy and if the bar being used is of good quality, the rest of the work becomes a breeze.

BTW, sometimes your breaker bar can be jammed with the socket badly. Here we discussed step by step process on how to remove the socket from the breaker bar in the most simple way.

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