How to Remove Head Bolts from an Engine

What You'll Need
Socket wrench
Pry bar

There’s an art to removing head bolts from an engine. The actual act is quite simple, but it’s vital to take them off in the right order so you don’t break the head gasket or end up warping the head.

Step 1 - How To Loosen

Once you have access to the cylinder head, fit a socket onto the bolt at the rear of the head on the passenger side of the vehicle. Make sure the socket is a perfect fit for the head bolts. Start to loosen it. If you don’t have the strength, use a pry bar to force the wrench to turn. Don’t loosen the bolt all the way.

Step 2 - The Rest Of the Bolts

Move to the front of the head bolts on the driver’s side and loosen it. With that done, move to the next to the rear bolt on the passenger side then alternate back to the driver’s side until all the bolts are a little loose. Once they’ve all been loosened, you can go around and remove them all.

It can’t be stressed enough that you need to remove the head bolts in this pattern to avoid possible damage to the head itself, which could prove extremely costly.