One-way screws are different because they can be turned in only one direction. Also known as security screws, they received their name because they are difficult to remove and are commonly used to prevent vandalism. They are installed in the standard way with a screwdriver but can't be removed with a screwdriver because their sloped slots will make the screwdriver slip out. Several methods are recommended to remove a one-way screw, ranging from the fairly simple to drilling it out.

Easiest Approach

Step 1

Place locking pliers on the head of the one-way screw, and turn the screw counterclockwise until it comes out.

Step 2

If you can't initially get a strong (or firm) enough grip on the one-way screw with the pliers, use a file to flatten the opposite edges of the head. This should improve the grip.

Step 3

Turn the pliers counterclockwise, and remove the screw.

First Alternative

Step 4

Buy a one-way screw extractor, which is a tool designed for you to place into the head of the screw. A screw extractor functions in the same way as a regular screwdriver but has two pins instead of a regular full-width head. These pins provide grip and won't ride up the the sloped slots of the screw's head.

Step 5

Place the one-way screw remover into the the head of the screw.

Step 6

Turn the one-way screw counter-clockwise until it comes out. The one-way screw extractor reverses the screw out of its frozen position.

Third Choice

Step 7

Drill a hole into the head of the one-way screw with a power drill. Start with the smallest bit, and work your way up.

Step 8

Use pliers to place the bit of a regular screw extractor into the head of the one-way screw.

Step 9

Tap the head of the screw remover with a hammer.

Step 10

Turn the bit counterclockwise to release the screw.

Step 11

Tap the bit more firmly into the screw if it does not initially come out. If it still won't come out, enlarge the hole and try again.

Last Resort

Step 12

Cut off the head of the one-way screw off with a hacksaw, or remove the head with a drill.

Step 13

Grip the remaining shank of the screw with pliers.

Step 14

Turn the pliers counterclockwise, and remove the screw.