How to Drill Out Rotor Screws

If you’ve ever had to deal with stripped rotor screws when replacing brake rotors, then you know the frustration of having it seem like there’s no solution for getting those stubborn screws undone.

How to Drill Out Rotor Screws

Trying different screwdrivers, cursing at them, and shaking them around can feel fruitless as they remain firmly stuck in place. The good news is that removing these screws does not have to be an impossible task – all you need are the right tools and techniques.

In this article, we’ll walk through how to drill out rotor screws so that you no longer have to worry about damaging your new set of brake rotors!

Tools and Materials You Will Need to Drill Out Rotor Screws

  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Hammer
  • Heat gun (optional)
  • safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Sandpaper or file (optional)
  • Penetrating oil (optional)

Step by Step Guidelines on How to Drill Out Rotor Screws

Step 1: Apply Heat to the Rotor Screws (Optional)

If you know the rotor screws are made of steel, it can be helpful to heat them up before beginning. This will help break down rust and make the screw easier to drill out. To do this, use a heat gun and place it near the screw for a few minutes. Don’t get too close as you don’t want to burn the rotor.

Step 2: Apply Penetrating Oil (Optional)

If these screws have been exposed to moisture or are especially rusty, applying penetrating oil can help them become easier to remove. Use a brush or cloth to apply some oil around the screw and allow it time to soak in before attempting any drilling. Applying oil is an optional step, but it may help if you are having difficulty removing the screws.

Screws Have Been Exposed to Moisture

Step 3: Use a Hammer to Tap Around the Screw

This will help loosen any rust that may be holding the screw in place and also make it easier to drill out. Make sure you are wearing gloves and safety glasses for this step. This step is optional, but it can be helpful if the screw is especially stubborn. Carefully use a hammer to tap around the edges of the screw.

Step 4: Use an Appropriate Drill Bit

Make sure you’re using a drill bit that is appropriate for the size and material of your rotor screws. If there are multiple screws, it’s best to use one drill bit for each screw so they all come out evenly. This will help prevent any damage done to the rotor. Using the wrong size or type of drill bit can cause damage to both the rotor and screw.

Step 5: Carefully Drill Out the Screws

Start by drilling a small hole in the center of each screw with your drill bit. It’s important to go slow and be gentle as you don’t want to ruin your rotor while trying to remove the screws. Once there is a visible hole, continue drilling until the screw is completely removed. Sometimes this may take multiple attempts, so be patient and use caution.

Step 6: Clean Up the Hole (Optional)

Once the screw is removed, you may want to clean up the hole with a file or sandpaper. This will help make sure that your new set of brake rotors fit snugly into place without any issues. Make sure not to apply too much pressure, as this could damage the rotor.

Following these steps will help make sure you can get those stubborn screws out without damaging your brake rotors. With the right tools and techniques, removing rotor screws doesn’t have to be an impossible task! Just remember to wear safety glasses and gloves when drilling and use caution when applying heat or tapping around the screws. Good luck!

Additional Tips and Tricks to Drill to Rotor Screws

1. Always wear safety goggles when using a drill to prevent dust and metal particles from reaching your eyes.

2. Use a sharp bit for drilling out rotor screws because it will cut through the screws more quickly and efficiently, resulting in cleaner holes.

3. Hold the drill firmly against the screw head while applying pressure to ensure that the bit is able to bite into the screw properly.

4. Start with a smaller bit and work up to a larger one if necessary. This technique is safer than starting off with a larger bit which will cause more damage to the drilled material.

Start With a Smaller Bit

5. Use slow, steady strokes when drilling out rotor screws to ensure accuracy and minimize the risk of damaging the screw or surrounding material.

6. Move the drill in short back-and-forth motions as this will help to break up the material more effectively.

7. Lubricate the drill bit with cutting oil or similar lubricant to prevent excess heat buildup and friction that may cause damage or breakage of the drill bit.

8. Use a countersink if necessary for a smoother finish around the drilled hole.

9. Take your time and be patient when drilling out rotor screws. This will help to ensure that the screw is removed safely without damaging any surrounding material or components.

10. Once the screw has been successfully drilled out, remove any debris from the hole using a vacuum cleaner or brush.

11. Check to make sure that all of the pieces have been removed before continuing with your project.

12. If necessary, use a tap to create threads in the drilled hole so that it can receive a new screw.

13. Finally, apply lubricant to the new screw before installing it into the rotor. This will help to ensure that the screw is properly secured and will not come loose over time.

Follow these tips and tricks for successful drilling out of rotor screws, and you’ll be able to work more efficiently and safely. With a little practice, you’ll be an experienced professional in no time. Good luck!

Things You Should Consider to Drill Out Rotor Screws

1. Use the right type of drill bit for the job- there are different types of drill bits and choosing the wrong one can cause damage to the rotor or surrounding components.

2. Make sure all safety precautions are taken- always wear safety goggles, ear protection, gloves, and a mask when using a drill.

3. Be patient and take your time- drilling out rotor screws is a process that requires patience and precision.

4. Use lubrication- cutting oil or similar lubricant will help to reduce friction, heat buildup, and breakage of the drill bit.

5. Check for debris- after removing the screw, make sure all pieces have been removed before continuing with your project.

6. Create threads if necessary- use a tap to create threads in the drilled hole if you are going to replace the screw.

Use a Tap to Create Threads

7. Apply lubricant to the new screw- this will help ensure that it is properly secured and will not come loose over time.

By following these considerations, you will be able to drill out rotor screws more safely and efficiently. With a bit of practice and patience, you’ll become an experienced professional in no time. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type of Drill Bit Should I Use?

The type of drill bit depends on the material your rotor screws are made from. Generally, an HSS (high-speed steel) twist drill bit is used for softer materials like aluminum or plastic. For harder metals like stainless steel and titanium, you’ll need a carbide-tipped drill bit.

How Do I Know How Deep to Drill?

Your drill bit should be no more than two times the diameter of the screw. For example, if you’re drilling out a 1/4” screw, your drill should not exceed a 1/2” depth. To ensure accuracy and safety, use a depth stop gauge with your drill. This will help you set and maintain a consistent depth when drilling out your screws.

What is the Best Way to Remove Broken Bits?

When a drill bit breaks off inside the rotor screw, it can be difficult to remove. The safest way to do this is with an extraction kit that has specialized tools for extracting broken bits from metal surfaces. Other methods include using a sharpened nail set to hammer out the broken bit or using a Dremel tool with a diamond burr.

Whichever method you choose, be sure to wear safety goggles and take all necessary precautions when attempting to remove the broken bit.

What Do I Need To Know About Safety?

Safety is always paramount when working with power tools like drills. Be sure to wear safety glasses and gloves at all times while drilling out rotor screws, and keep your fingers well away from spinning drill bits. Also, make sure the area is free of flammables as sparks can be created when drilling metal surfaces. Finally, always ensure that you properly secure your workpiece so it does not spin or move while drilling.

Wear Safety Glasses and Gloves


Now that you are aware of the step-by-step process for how to drill out rotor screws, it is important to practice the procedure until it becomes natural. When a rotor needs to be replaced in the future, you will be prepared and ready to tackle the challenge without feeling overwhelmed! Always make sure to follow safety precautions while working on the vehicle, as the delicate pieces can easily be damaged or cause an injury.

It is advised to obtain written instructions or watch tutorial videos from trustworthy sources and refer back to them in order to ensure accuracy.

Drilling out rotor screws requires skill and precision, but with effort and persistence, you can accomplish your goal! Take your time while performing this challenging task – experiment and try different techniques if one approach does not seem to work; eventually, your efforts will pay off. Keep on practicing so you can master how to work on rotors successfully – good luck!

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Enrique Howard

Hi, I am Enrique. I started my professional life as a handyman and did a lot of external and internal repair of home and office with a little bit of electric and plumbing support. I have extensive experience in tools testing such as drilling, turning, milling, and non-conventional machining like EDM. So let me help you on your journey towards becoming an enlightened DIYer with amazing tools that you can use on your project.

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