How To Use A Breaker Bar? [Complete Guide]

Some people don’t know how to use a breaker bar, and it would be a problem if that turns out to be the solution to your car repair.

Using a breaker bar will help you remove frozen nuts by attaching its head to the socket before rotating it in the right direction. Usually, oil is added to the bolt to make the procedure easier.

In this article, you’ll learn about the different uses of a breaker bar and how it differs from using a torque wrench. You’ll also know what features to look for when buying this tool to avoid confusion.

What Is A Breaker Bar?

A breaker bar or a power bar is a tool that you will find helpful when dealing with frozen nuts. It’s a non-ratcheting bar with a long handle equipped with a socket on its head part.

They’re the best tool to use when you need to remove rusted bolts or frozen nuts from your car. You can use it as an initial tool to loosen up tight fasteners before removing it completely with a socket wrench.

Thanks to the breaker bar’s longer handle, more torque is applied with the same amount of force you would exert to a standard ratchet wrench. You won’t need to bang any bolts with a hammer to loosen it up.

Breaker bars are generally made from polished chrome steel, making them durable and easier to clean. Having this tool in different lengths will help you remove stubborn bolts, whether from a tire or other projects.

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Is Breaker Bar The Same With Torque Wrench?

A torque wrench can sometimes be confused with a breaker bar, but these two tools work differently. You’ll be able to apply more torque with a breaker bar since its long handle serves as leverage to remove frozen nuts.

Although they almost have similar features, a torque wrench will allow you to adjust its handle depending on the amount of torque you want. That makes it more effective with fastening bolts than removing them.

What To Check When Buying A Breaker Bar?

Durability And Material

Breaker bars are not only efficient, but they’re also durable because of the material used to make them. Please pay attention to this since there’s a range of materials used to manufacture them in the market.

High-quality breaker bars will be made from top-grade steels such as alloy, forged steel, or chrome steel. The better tool will also have a chrome coating that will protect the power bar from rusting, making it last longer.

To better care for your tool, opt to cover them with a leather pouch.

Length Of Leverage

Now, this feature will determine the capacity of your breaker bar to handle frozen nuts. If you want to prepare for loosening up the tightest bolts, aim to buy the one with a longer handle.

A longer length will mean higher leverage for the breaker bar, which is an important factor when more torque is needed. The recommended length is around 16 to 24 inches, so there is no need to go out of your way to buy the longest one.

For people uncertain about their needs, you may want to look into an extendable breaker bar. At least with this, you’d have the option to add extra leverage.

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When using breaker bars, you attach its head to the bolt before rotating it. Opt to buy a tool that’s capable of rotating 180 degrees.

In this way, you won’t have a hard time using it on frozen nuts in small spaces. It’s a flexible solution for removing or tightening fasteners, no matter the angle.


You can decide on the size of the breaker bar that fits your needs or tools storage since this won’t affect the function. Some of the sizes available include 10-inch, 15-inch, and 18-inch.

The standard size can be seen as a shortcoming since you can’t adjust it and could lead you to buy the same tool in varying lengths. If you don’t like to buy a lot, look for a breaker bar that has an extendable feature instead.

Textured Or Anti-Slip Grip

For more comfortable use, you can look into breaker bars with a textured soft-grip handle. It’ll ensure that you’ll have a firm hold on the handle when removing any bolts.


Check out the store’s conditions from where you’re buying if they’ll provide you with a warranty over the product. Having this will ensure that you’ll receive support if the product breaks because the company will be handling your concerns.

Steps In Using A Breaker Bar

YouTube video

In this video, you’ll see an insightful demonstration of how to use an 18-inch breaker bar equipped with a 1/2-inch socket to readjust uneven and tight lug nuts. With greater leverage, rotating the overtightened lug nuts was more doable.

Before going for the wheels, you should park the car on a flat surface with the engine off and the parking brake. Some vehicles would have a hubcap, so have this removed to expose the lug nuts.

When you attach the socket to the head of the breaker bar, make sure that it would also fits the size of the bolt. After that, have the socket lock onto the lug nut before rotating it counterclockwise.

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If these aren’t enough to loosen or remove frozen nuts, opt to spray a small amount of oil for lubrication. But make sure that the quantity won’t be too much to prevent it from reaching the brake discs.

Supplementary Steps And Tools When Using A Breaker Bar

When the standard breaker bar isn’t sufficient to work on that bolt, there are still other ways how you can use a breaker bar to its optimal performance.

Cheater Bar For Extra Leverage

You can still increase the torque of your breaker bar by attaching a pipe to its end. If possible, choose the pipe that almost has the same thickness as the bar.

Since the torque will be higher, please don’t use excessive before to avoid damaging the nut or other components around it. You have to be very careful if you’re using a ratchet because the added bar can damage it.

Rachet Breaking Bar Combination

If you want to have a breaking bar that can adjust to different projects, the ratchet type will be a better choice for you. Various customizations apply to it to combine the ratchet with different sockets.

The ratchet breaker bar is helpful when you’re mostly working with nuts in tight spaces. Unlike your standard breaker bar, this one can rotate either clockwise or counterclockwise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What Is A Breaker Bar Good For?

A breaker bar is good for dealing with some of the most stubborn bolts that have been stuck, possibly due to rust or overtightening. Its main use is to loosen or remove frozen lug nuts and bolts that an impact wrench can’t handle.

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We don’t recommend using it to tighten a bolt or nut, even though that’s possible because the amount of torque might be too much for it.

How Long Of A Breaker Bar Do I Need For Lug Nuts?

Even though a longer breaker bar will mean more torque, it won’t always be the best choice for some situations. There will be a downside with longer ones, such as not being useful when adjusting bolts in tight spaces.

Many sizes are available, with lengths ranging from 18 inches to 40 inches. If it’s only a breaker bar that you’d need to use for lug nuts, the 18-inch breaker bar will work efficiently for it.

It’s the most common size and can even work well with smaller nuts in the engine aside from removing lug nuts from your wheels.

Can You Tighten With A Breaker Bar?

You can tighten lug nuts with a breaker bar, but we wouldn’t recommend doing this because it might cause damage and overtighten the bolts with it. Unlike a torque wrench, breaker bars don’t produce a sound that will let you know if you’ve tightened to the ideal pounds.

Moreover, there would be a risk of exerting too much torque when using a breaker bar to tighten lug nuts. Most would be long enough to serve that function.

How Much Force Does It Take To Break A Breaker Bar?

There won’t be a standard force that can answer for all breaker bars, given that the materials and manufacturers will vary. On average, a 1/2 drive might break when dealing with a 300 ft-lbs, while a 150 ft-lbs will break a 3/8 drive.

Breaker bars’ durability can greatly vary since some have a maximum torque of 1,855 lb-ft. The rust on your tool is also another element to consider when using additional force on it.

What Size Breaker Bar Is Best?

The size ranges from two to six feet long for the standard measurement of breaker bars. No size is considered the best one because it won’t affect the bar’s performance.

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However, more conventional ones, such as the extendable breaker bar, can fit in your toolbox better. Aside from that, you’ll have a single tool that you can adjust depending on your need.

You can use the breaker bar in its maximum length with an extendable feature and shorten it for convenient storage.

Loosen Up Stubborn Lug Nuts With A Breaker Bar

A breaker bar is a useful tool for loosening stubborn bolts and nuts. But, knowing how to use a breaker bar in the right way will let you handle even the narrowest of spaces.

Pay attention to the material, size, leverage length, rotation, and grip to get the most reliable product. Having a warranty will also help you maintain your product more easily.

If the standard breaker bar doesn’t work, remember that there are additional steps you can use, such as adding extra leverage or buying a ratchet one instead.

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