How to Remove a Plastic Lock Nut

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Lock nuts prevent vibration from loosening connections between fasteners. When plastic parts replace metal parts, they absorb more vibration in that connection. Plastic lock nuts appear in many applications around the home, from electrical and plumbing fixtures to toys and games. But, because they are softer than metal, remove them without breaking them in half. Using the right tools and process, safely remove plastic lock nuts, while keeping them intact for future use.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Pliers or wrench
  • Unscrew any fasteners from the bolt on top of the lock nut. With your hands, pliers or a wrench, twist these counter-clockwise until they release.

  • Grip the lock nut in the jaws of pliers or a wrench, and gently turn it counter-clockwise at least one-eighth of a turn. Apply gentle pressure and gradually increase it if the lock nut sticks.

  • Grip the loosened lock nut between your thumb and forefinger, and unscrew it all the way. Spin the nut counter-clockwise until it leaves the threads of the bolt.

  • Keep the lock nut in a labeled, organized container. To re-install the nut, reverse the steps.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be as gentle as possible. Metal pliers or wrenches may deform the plastic so you can't use the lock nut again once it is removed.
  • Keep loose hardware from the same project together, so you can find it again when you need it.
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