What Is Breaker Bar Used for and How To Use It? Explained

The question “What is breaker bar used for?” have crossed many people’s minds, especially new car owners. A breaker bar is generally helpful in breaking loose stubborn bolts and nuts; to use it, insert the socket into the bolt you want to loosen, and utilize its long lever to gain leverage and unscrew the bolt out.

Use Your Breaker Bar Safely and Effectively


We have a detailed guide on everything you need to know about a breaker bar. We will also give you tips on buying the right one for your needs.

How To Use Your Breaker Bar Safely and Effectively?

To use your breaker bar safely and effectively, attach the correct sized socket to the bar. Next, position the bar so the socket gets hooked into the lug nuts. Now apply the pressure to the handle downwards to loosen the stubborn nuts or bolts.

1. Understand What a Breaker Bar Is

As mentioned, a breaker bar is a modified wrench. People also call it a power bar or torque wrench. It’s generally a long non-ratcheting metal bar usually used with socket-wrench-style sockets. Sometimes, a breaker bar can be anything from an extra-long ratchet driver to a simple length of metal pipe.

Generally, the breaker bars’ design is quite simple. On one end, you’ll find a male attachment point for the socket on a swivel. In contrast, the handle sits on the other end. Sometimes, the handle has a rubberized grip.

As the name suggests, this unique tool helps break loose stubborn fasteners with minimal effort.

Other applications include:

  • Unscrewing lug nuts on car wheels and freeing different bolts during car repair and maintenance
  • Turning a crankshaft in case an engine is seized
  • Loosening suspension attachments
  • A breaker bar also comes in handy in places on a vehicle where an impact wrench won’t fit.

Its extended handle provides more leverage than a typical wrench. That makes it easier to unscrew stuck or stubborn nuts and bolts without applying too much force.

Besides, using a torque wrench avoids damaging a socket wrench’s ratcheting mechanism. When you make the first half-turn, the fastener will be loose enough to turn it using a socket wrench. Simple breaker bar models are generally inexpensive. However, expect to pay more for the significantly more sophisticated ratcheting models.

Here are the simple steps to use a breaker bar.

2. Get Ready

First, put on gloves. That’s essential, especially if your palms get hurt while using tools. You’ll need to exert a greater force on the breaker bar, so the gloves will prevent your hands from getting hurt more.

Next, you also need to wear safety glasses. This safety measure will be crucial as the nuts or bolts could shear off or splinter, flying in your direction. Lastly, inspect the bolt or nut you want to break. You should clean it off to remove as much debris as possible to minimize the probability of slipping.

3. Look for the Right Size Socket and Position the Handle

Use the right-sized socket (do not impact sockets) for the fasteners you’re about to loosen. Even a slightly larger one might slip.

Look for the Right Size Socket and Position the Handle

Once you’ve got the correct socket, attach it to your torque wrench. Now position the bar so the socket gets lined up with the fastener. The handle should be set at 90 degrees to let you press down on it.

4. Apply Pressure To Turn the Handle

With the socket locked into the lug nut, put one hand on the handle and the other on the drive. Your feet ought to be firmly on the ground and about shoulder-width apart to stabilize you. Now apply pressure to the handle to break your stubborn nuts or bolts.

Begin by gently pushing the handle down (anti-clockwise) and increase the pressure as the fastener requires. That will help reduce the risk of shearing.

If you need more leverage than the breaker bar alone can offer, find a cheater bar or add a long pipe to the handle. The extended leverage breaker will loosen even more stubborn fasteners with ease. However, be careful as the more powerful product you get could damage the fastener you’re working on.

How To Buy the Appropriate Breaker Bar for Your Needs?

To buy the appropriate breaker bar for your needs, look for a durable one. Choose a bar that can provide the necessary leverage to complete the job. You must also pay attention to its head rotation and other basic features, such as the grip.

Are you planning to buy a breaker bar soon and for the first time? You must get the right one for your needs.

Let’s get into the in-depth details of how to go about it:

1. Choose a Durable Breaker Bar

Breaker bars are generally durable. However, the durability varies depending on the metal used in the shaft construction. The materials can range from standard steel to heavy-duty alloy. High-quality steel includes alloy, forged, and chrome.

Choose a Durable Breaker Bar

Many bars will also consist of chrome-plated vanadium steel. The alloy is hard enough to resist snapping off or bending under pressure. High-end breaker bars use chrome molybdenum, which is a tougher steel alloy. A chrome coating is necessary to protect your bar from rusting and keep it perpetually shiny.

2. Consider the Amount of Leverage

Your new breaker bar tool will require appropriate leverage to deal with those tight fasteners seamlessly. A long handle offers more power and, subsequently, a higher torque. That doesn’t mean you should go for the longest bar on the market, though. An 18-24-inch is ideally a suitable size breaker bar for handling general tasks.

You’ll find power bars in different drive sizes for the standard socket sets. These are 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, 1/2 inch, and 3/4 inch drive. Choose a 1/2-inch or 3/8-inch extendable breaker bar for lug nuts. Alternatively, you can buy a breaker bar set, including all or most drive sizes.

3. Pay Attention to the Head Rotation

A breaker bar’s head rotation is essentially the part that loosens stubborn fasteners. It’s the part that is affixed to the bolts or nuts. The head has a hinge that enables it to rotate back and forth. That makes it easier to operate the bar as you’ll only need to turn the lead in the optimal position for leverage.

Pay Attention to the Head Rotation
The best head rotation is 180 degrees. It gives you better accessibility to reach hard-to-reach spaces without compromising durability.

4. Take Note of Other Basic Features

Choose a breaker bar with a good grip. The best breaker bar grips are textured or knurled so your hands won’t slide off during operation. Another feature you need to consider is weight. The ideal bar’s weight should range from 1.5 to 3 pounds, depending on the size.

It would help if you also chose a more comfortable bar. Some have ergonomically molded handles that fit the contours of your hand. That enhances grip while keeping the palm of your hand comfortable.

How Can I Use a Breaker Bar with Meguiars or Chemical Guys Products?

Using a breaker bar with Meguiars or Chemical Guys products can make your detailing process more efficient. The meguiars chemical guys comparison guide will help you determine which brand suits your needs better. With a breaker bar, you can effortlessly remove stubborn nuts and bolts, ensuring a smooth experience while using these high-quality products.


The article above was our guide on what a breaker bar is used for and how to use it.

Before ending this piece, let’s summarize it:

  • A breaker bar is an advanced wrench used for loosening stubborn fasteners.
  • Its extended handle offers more leverage to unscrew stuck bolts and nuts easily.
  • To use it effectively, you must attach the correct size socket to the fastener you’re about to break loose.
  • While looking for the best breaker bars, consider its durability, leverage amount, head rotation, and other basic features.

Now you’ve got the information you need. Find the best 18-24 inch breaker bar with the socket wrench and take those tight fasteners out!

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