Removing stuck windshield hinges can definitely be a pain in the neck. As such, many vehicle owners have devised their own methods of prying these hard-to-remove hinges off of the windshield frame. If you're having problems with these hinges, take a look at our tips and see which one will work best for you and your vehicle.
Use torx sockets.
One technique to uninstall windshield hinges is to get a couple of torx sockets. Hammer them into those stuck bolts until they break loose. Then grab a large breaker bar (preferably a 3/8 bar), put it in position, grip it tight, and just keep on turning and pulling until the bolt pops off. The breaker bar's extra long handle will allow you to exert the same amount of force as you would a regular socket wrench but release more torque, making it the perfect tool for those stubborn hinge bolts.
Apply some heat.
Although this technique is frowned upon by some motorists, it can be an effective technique when done correctly. The problem with using heat to remove bolts is that it can ruin or warp nearby components, causing more trouble in the first place. To avoid botching up your vehicle's paint job, use a soldering iron instead of a torch. A soldering iron will allow you to direct heat solely on the problematic bolt, keeping nearby components intact. With just the right amount of heat, you'll be able to (hopefully) soften the super tough automotive adhesive used by the manufacturer during hinge installation.
Drill them out.
In some cases (especially when the bolts are hopelessly stripped and are stuck spinning inside the holes), you may have to drill them out to remove the windshield hinges. Using a drill and the right size of bit, drill out each bolt until it comes off loose. Be extra careful since you can easily damage the holes if this is not done properly.
Weld a screw on top of the bolts.
Another tip worth trying out is to weld a screw on top of each bolt. After welding, use a heavy-duty impact socket wrench to unscrew the tough bolts. This technique can be time- and energy-consuming, so better arm yourself with lots of patience and elbow grease.
Other techniques worth trying out
If none of the techniques listed above worked for you, you can always try a combination of one or more methods. You can also lube up and hammer out the bolts before applying heat or drilling them out. Because the bolts used to install windshield hinges are usually attached using some type of automotive adhesive, applying generous amounts of penetrating oil can work wonders. After applying some lubricant, hammer the bolts out to loosen some rust and other contaminants that might be holding the bolts down tight. In between drills, wrench twists, and hammer whacks, you can apply a bit of oil to make the process a little bit easier. Having a variety of tools such as an air hammer, breaker bar, and an interchangeable screwdriver can also be helpful, especially if you're willing to try a combination of techniques. With enough patience and elbow grease, you should be able to remove those windshield hinges and attach the new ones.