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Can You Reuse Head Bolts – 4 Alternative Uses

Head bolts are an essential part of any engine, which can withstand a lot of heat and pressure. It means they are made from high-quality hardware that can withstand these conditions. However, head bolts are also quite expensive, and most people ask: can you reuse head bolts?

Continue reading, as this article contains everything you should know!

Head bolts are bolts used to secure the cylinder head to the engine block in an internal combustion engine. They are tightened to a specific torque using a torque wrench. In some engines, head bolts help secure the intake and exhaust manifolds. They are usually from steel or titanium for high-performance engines.

Can You Reuse Head Bolts?

We all know that one of the most important aspects of any project is to ensure you have all the right tools. When it comes to something as critical as a car, you should be careful. So, when you’re ready to work on your vehicle, you might wonder if you can reuse head bolts. Yes, you can reuse head bolts, but it is not always advisable.

Head bolts are designed to use at once and then discarded. However, if you’re careful, you may be able to reuse them. They are made of high-strength steel and are essential for ensuring your car engine is well-secured. If you reuse head bolts, there’s a risk that they may not be as tight as they need to be, which could lead to engine damage.

If you decide to reuse them, carefully check them for any mark of damage or crack. And if you are not sure, it is best to replace or buy new bolts.

How To Tell If Head Bolts Are Reusable For Your Engine

Before you think or decide on reusing head bolts, you should check if they are reusable because if they are not, they can cause severe damage to your engine. Below are a few things to check:

  • Check the bolt threads: If they are stripped or damaged in any way, the bolt is not reusable.
  • The head of the bolt for any cracks or damage: This indicates that the bolt has been over-torqued and is not reusable.
  • The washer under the bolt head: If it is damaged or deformed, it is another sign that the bolt is not reusable.
  • Next, the torque specs for the bolts. If the bolts have been torqued to the manufacturer’s specifications, you can likely reuse them.
  • Finally, consult your engine’s service manual to see if the bolts are designed to use more than once. If the manual doesn’t state that the bolts are reusable, you should buy new head bolts.

Top 4 Alternative Ways to Repurpose Head Bolts

Building furniture: Head bolts can be used in place of regular screws or bolts to build furniture, particularly for industrial or rustic-style pieces. They can provide a unique look and can also be more durable than other types of fasteners.

  1. Art projects: Head bolts can be used as a decorative element in art projects, such as sculptures or mixed media pieces. They can add texture and visual interest to the finished work.
  2. Construction: In construction, head bolts can be used to secure large beams or other heavy materials. They can provide a secure and sturdy connection that can withstand significant weight and stress.
  3. Home repairs: Head bolts can be used in home repairs, such as fixing a loose railing or reinforcing a sagging shelf. They can be particularly useful for repairs that require a strong, secure connection.
  4. Gardening: In gardening, head bolts can be used to create a trellis or other support structure for climbing plants. They can be secured into the ground and provide a sturdy anchor for the plants to grow on.

Safety Tips For Reusing Head Bolts

Although automakers do not advise it, you can reuse old head bolts if they are in good condition. However, you must follow some safety precautions to get the best outcomes. They are:

  • Inspect head bolts: Before reusing head bolts, ensure you inspect them. Look for any crack sign that could potentially bring problems.
  • Clean the bolts: Clean the head bolts before reuse. It helps ensure they are in good condition and would not lead to issues.
  • Clean the thread holes: You should clean the thread holes before you install head bolts. It will help the bolts to go in smoothly. To clean the thread holes, use a wire brush or a tap to remove debris or build-up that may be present. Once the thread holes are clean, you can use the head bolts.
  • Soak them in oil: It will keep them from rusting and enable them last longer.
  • Use a torque wrench: Always use a torque wrench when tightening or loosening head bolts. This will help ensure that the bolts are tightened or loosened to the correct specification.


Wrapping up, you can reuse head bolts only if they are in good condition. Although, it is not a good idea because head bolts can become stretched and weakened, causing problems such as leaks and engine damage. If you want to reuse head bolts, it is best to confirm with a professional mechanic to know if it is safe for your vehicle or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many times can I reuse head bolts?

You can reuse head bolts three to four times. But it depends on the type of head bolt and the application.

What happens if I don’t torque head bolts?

If you don’t torque head bolts, the head may become loose and eventually fall off the engine. Hence, you should be careful and check the bolts properly.

How tight should bolts be on a car?

It depends on the type of vehicle, rim size, material (steel or aluminum), and bolt number. It typically ranges from 110 Nm to 120 Nm. You can also check the bolt manual to avoid overtightening.


  • Jen Wheeler

    Jen Wheeler, co-founder of Recycling-Revolution.com, holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford. A renowned environmentalist, she's championed sustainable practices at global events and leads EcoBright Solutions, focusing on recycling education and eco-friendly products.

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