One of the most common questions we hear is, “how do I remove a stripped screw?” The answer, obviously, is with VAMPLIERS screw removal pliers, but the question remains, what causes a screw to become stripped in the first place?

First things first: what is a stripped screw? They are certainly a common problem. A stripped screw is a screw whose head is damaged so much that it is impossible to remove with a screwdriver.

Stripped screws are caused by using the incorrect tools in the first place, and also by user error. Some things that will cause a screw to become stripped include:

  • Using poor quality tools
  • Working too fast and without enough care
  • Turning screws with screwdrivers (or a drill) at an angle to the screw
  • Using the incorrect sized screwdriver (particularly one that is too small)
  • Using the incorrect sized drill bit with a power drill
  • Using an old and worn drill bit
  • Over-tightening a screw
  • Continuing to use a screw after it has begun to strip

Tips for Success

The screwdriver (or drill bit) you use should fit snug into the screw head recess, without any room at all to “wobble”. Note that most electrical tools aren’t really suitable for driving in screws. Drills, which are created for drilling holes, don’t provide the torque required at a low enough speed to adequately drive screws.  If you do use a drill, use a slow speed and beware of the bit running out of the slot and damaging the screw head – this will happen if you run the drill too fast or don’t apply the right amount of pressure. Ideally, screws will be screwed in manually. You need to apply the right amount of pressure to the screw and not work too quickly.

Never mismatch the screw driver head for the screw you are using. If you’re working with a Phillips Head Screw, use a Phillips Head screwdriver in the correct size for the screw you’re using. Note that Phillips head screws and drivers allow for greater torque and less slippage.

Always make sure that you work directly in line with the axis of the screw. And be sure to create pilot holes that are of an adequate size for the screw to be used. The pilot hole needs to be the same size as the inside diameter of the screw thread.

No matter how careful you are, at some point you’ll need to deal with a stripped screw. This is when you need to have the best screw removal pliers on hand – so choose Vampire Tools to get the tough jobs done right!