How to Use a Breaker Bar (Easy To Use Tips)

You might know what a breaker bar is, but if you are unsure how it can be used safely and effectively, this article is for you.

Breaker bars are a common tool in our homes and businesses. If you can use a torque or socket wrench, you can easily use a breaker bar. But you might be surprised to learn how useful a breaker bar can be. This guide covers different ways to use a breaker bar safely and effectively, like a professional.

For example, you can use a breaker bar to open a stubborn nut or bolt or turn a crankshaft. Breaker bars are commonly used to loosen extremely tight nuts and bolts or if they are rusted or stuck. However, you will need several other things to do so safely and effectively.

I will give you some safety measures, tips for being effective, and a way of gaining extra leverage.

Continue reading to know exactly what to do to ensure safety and effectiveness. We also tell you how you can gain extra leverage if you need more power.

Situations in which to Use a Breaker Bar

Here are a few typical situations where you might want to use a breaker bar.

Opening a Stubborn Nut or Bolt

a stubborn (highly rusted) nut

You can use a breaker bar if you come across a stubborn nut that is too difficult to remove because it is extremely tight or perhaps because it is damaged. If it is corroded or rusty, apply WD40 before using the breaker bar.

Turning a Crankshaft

turning a crankshaft
Video | ZX2Fast

If an engine is seized and you need to turn the crankshaft, you can use a breaker bar with a long handle. Wedge the bar in the control arm, put the socket on the bolt, then exert effort to turn the bar and free the engine.

Use the Breaker Bar Effectively

Having taken the above safety measures, while you are using the breaker bar, proceed carefully. Here is how to do so effectively to ensure you achieve what you want:

  • Position your hands – Put one hand on the handle and the other on the drive.
  • Position your feet – Your feet should be firmly on the ground, roughly shoulder-width apart.
  • Position the handle – Position the handle so that it will allow you to press down on it because it is easier to do this than to pull it upwards.
  • Turn the handle – To loosen a nut or bolt, turn the bar’s handle anti-clockwise.
  • Start gently – Start by pushing the handle down gently. Then increase the pressure as needed. This will minimize the risk of shearing.

Giving a Breaker Bar Greater Leverage

If you need even greater leverage than a breaker bar alone can provide, there is a way to do that.

By adding a long pipe to the handle of a breaker bar, the bar can be used in yet more useful ways. If you struggle with any of the uses mentioned above of a breaker bar while using one, add a pipe to it. The pipe adds extra length to the bar, which gives you greater leverage.

Be careful, however, as the greater leverage will give greater power that could potentially damage the thing you’re trying to open or other things around it. Do it properly by following these steps:

Step 1: Put a Long Pipe Over the Breaker Bar

Get a pipe that can fit over the breaker bar’s handle and has a longer length. Put that pipe over the handle.

Step 2: Push the Pipe All the Way Down

Make sure you push the pipe down over the breaker bar’s handle. If you don’t do this, you will either break the pipe or risk bending the breaker bar’s handle.

Step 3: Try It Again

Now you can re-attempt the task you were trying to do using the breaker bar without the pipe. You should find that it will be easier than before. However, start gently to prevent possible damage, as mentioned above.

Using a Breaker Bar Safely and Effectively

A torque or socket wrench can often be used in most situations, where a breaker bar is an alternative.

However, sometimes you will encounter a situation when a torque wrench is inadequate for getting the job done. In this case, it might be better to use a breaker bar instead. A breaker bar, usually longer and non-ratcheting can generate even greater torque.

Take the Right Safety Measures

Here are some safety tips before you start using a breaker:

  • Wear gloves – If your palms feel rough or hurt when using tools, wear gloves when using a breaker bar. The greater force you need to apply will hurt even more unless you wear gloves.
  • Wear safety glasses – Wearing glasses is a safety measure in case the nut or bolt shears off or splinters fly in your direction. It is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Inspect the nut or bolt – Inspect the nut or bolt you want to be loosened before using the breaker bar. If it’s damaged, clean off as much debris as you can. This will minimize the risk of slipping.
  • Use the right socket – Use the right socket with the correct size. Please don’t use a slightly larger one, as it might slip.
  • Place the handle at 90 degrees – Before turning the breaker bar, keep the handle at a safe 90 degrees from the drive.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

Video Reference

Black Swan Real Estate

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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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