Reusing head bolts on your engine is not usually recommended by dealerships and car manufacturers. However, when you change your head gasket, or do other mechanical work to the head assembly, you can reuse your head bolts if they are in good condition and you follow a few tips. If you are working on your vehicle and need to remove the head bolts, here are some tips that can help make sure you can reuse them.
Clean and Inspect
Because of the intense heat that the head is in, the bolts will occasionally fail when torque is applied to remove them. Once you have removed them, clean them and inspect for cracks in the threads of the shaft.
Soak in Oil
After you have determined the bolts are still usable, soak them in motor oil for at least 24 hours. This will let the oil penetrate and coat every part of the bolt.
Clean Thread Holes
Use a tap and die set to clean out the threads of the bolt holes on the head itself. Make sure the tap is the correct size and does not tamper with the threads themselves.
Use Torque Wrench
When reassembling the head of your engine, set the head bolts in place and tighten with a socket wrench. Once the bolt starts to get a little snug you should then use a torque wrench set to the manufacturers specifications. Do not use any type of Loc Tite or other bolt adhesive.