I am not sure whether it is the correct term. Let me explain. I have a laptop that looks like this.

Laptop back

The bolt inside looks like this.

screw

During repair, I tried to manually remove the screw using the exact size screw driver. To my dismay, the screw is tightly pressed inside, and as I turned it more, the "teeth" of the screw started to loose shape. Now, my screw driver slips through the teeth of the screw.

As for my plan, I will try to lubricate the screw with oil or WD-40.

Is it safe? Are there any alternatives to remove the screw?

  • 2
    As Maneesh Mohan, mentioned in his answer, if you do get this screw out, do NOT screw it back in. You should replace it with another screw of the same diameter, length, and threads per inch. – BrettFromLA Dec 7 '17 at 17:33
  • Noted with thanks, @BrettFromLA – Jem Eripol Dec 8 '17 at 1:16
  • 1
    Honestly, probably wrong size bit caused the head to strip. It may have been close, but not not just right. – GisMofx Dec 16 '17 at 3:54
  • Might have been that way @GisMofx. Totally my fault. – Jem Eripol Dec 16 '17 at 6:42
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I suggest you the following:

  1. Use a thick rubber band between the screw and screwdriver This provides friction enough to let it start to move.
  2. Try pressing the square drive a bit into the screw and then turn but take care that it should not break the board. This can sometimes help because of luck. Of course, after applying a lubricant, you can surely try this out.
  3. Select an extremely small drill bit and try it in the middle of the screw, also take care to apply low power and pressure. Use pliers for your help. Of course, you would not be using this screw again as it can cause you similar harm when you unscrew. So opting this solution is also advisable.
  • Can I use balloon rubber for this? This is significantly thinner, but I have this in our house. – Jem Eripol Dec 8 '17 at 1:20
  • @JemEripol I suggest you, give it a try since I am not sure about it. – MANEESH MOHAN Dec 8 '17 at 9:30
  • I will try and give you the feedback tomorrow. Thank you. – Jem Eripol Dec 8 '17 at 10:46

Not a lifehack strictly, but this is a common problem for which there exists a proper tool. Try searching for "Screw Extractor" on Amazon (other online retailers are available). The smallest ones seem to go down to 2.5mm. If that's too big, or doesn't work, I would just try bonding something like a hex nut to the head of the screw with epoxy, which should easily be strong enough to withstand the forces involved. You will need to replace the screw afterwards though.

Maneesh Mohan suggested putting a wide rubber band over the head of the screw, between the screw head and the screwdriver tip. That would provide extra friction that may help you unscrew the screw.

Duct tape is another option. (Because duct tape can fix anything!) You should be able to cut a small piece of duct tape that is slightly larger than the head of the screw. Use tweezers to place it on the head of the screw, with the adhesive side down, so it sticks. Then press the tip of the screwdriver into it and try to unscrew it. The adhesive of the tape will add extra "grip".

With this method, WD-40 may work against you, because the tape may not stick to the screw head very well.

  • +1, I have never thought of using duct tape for this! BTW, i thought of using WD-40 to loosen the screw, but I am too afraid of putting too much liquid in that bolt because it is near my motherboard. :) Will try also this one! Thanks for helping. – Jem Eripol Dec 8 '17 at 1:18

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.