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How to Clean Weld Nuts for the Installation of a Trailer Hitch


Are you experiencing any of the following problems while installing a hitch on your vehicle?
  • The supplied hardware seems too big for your weld nuts
  • The threads of the supplied hardware do not correspond to your weld nuts
  • The bolt will not start in the threads of your weld nuts

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Underneath your vehicle, the frame is constantly exposed to dirt, grime, moisture and salt. This gunk can find its way into the open weld nuts, or bolt holes, in your vehicle frame and harden over time, causing rust and corrosion in the weld nuts on your vehicle.


With help from a wire brush and some spray lubricant, a few simple steps can be taken to make your weld nuts clean and grime free, ensuring an easier installation of your trailer hitch.

Watch a Quick Video

Or Follow Step-By-Step Instructions:

Step 1: Spray bolt hole with a lubricant like Blaster Lubricant or WD-40. Let the lubricant sit for a minute, allowing it to penetrate and soften the grime and corrosion.
Using a penetrating lubricant to lubricate a weld nut
Step 2: Scrub the lubricant-coated bolt hole with a wire brush to loosen corrosion and grime. Rigorously run the brush in and out of the bolt hole.
Nylon tube brush
Battery terminal brush
Using a wire brush to scrub a weld nut © etrailer
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 multiple times or until the bolt can be twisted in a few threads deep.
Threading a bolt into the weld nut a few threads deep © etrailer
Step 4: Use a ratcheting socket wrench to run the bolt in and out of the bolt hole.
  • This lets you use the bolt's threads to loosen the remaining corrosion embedded deeper within the weld nut
  • Ensure that the bolt hole remains lubricated while ratcheting the bolt in and out
  • Slowly, you will be able to work the bolt until you can thread it completely in and out of the weld nut
Threading a Bolt In and Out of the Weld Nut
Once a bolt can be threaded into each of the weld nuts on your vehicle's frame, you can begin your hitch installation knowing that you will not encounter any resistance when bolting up the hitch.Updated By: Steven D.
Last updated: 3/12/2021

Questions and Comments about this Article

Doug C.

This suggestion worked perfectly on my 2013 Kia Soul. Took a while, but I got it done. Thanks for the instructions.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Les D.

@DougC Thanks for letting us know.

Harry H.

My trucks weld nuts are completely no more. Need to clean scrap remove them if possible.



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