wikiHow to Fix Bent Pins on a CPU

Three Methods:Using a Credit Card to Straighten PinsRealigning Pins with a Mechanical PencilUsing a Sewing Needle as a Lever

A CPU is both a critical and fragile piece of hardware. A drop to the floor or a failed attempt at mounting can easily result in bent pins. Bent pins will prevent the CPU from seating normally and likely cause hardware errors in your computer. Luckily, there are some easy household remedies you can try before dropping money on a new unit.

Choose a Method

  1. Credit card: Good general approach.
  2. Mechanical pencil: Best when there are only a few bent pins.
  3. Sewing needle: Necessary for severely bent pins.

Method 1
Using a Credit Card to Straighten Pins

  1. Image titled Fix Bent Pins on a CPU Step 1
    Find a proper workspace. You want to place the CPU on a hard, flat surface with the pins facing straight into the air. Be sure you have discharged any static electricity by touching a grounded metal object.
  2. Image titled Fix Bent Pins on a CPU Step 2
    Find the right card for the job. Typically a standard plastic credit card or gift card will do. Find a row on your CPU that has no bent pins in it. Take one of your cards, stand it on edge and gently run it through the row of pins. If the card is the right thickness it should slide between the pins with slight resistance and no bending of the pins.
    • If there is no contact with the pins or no resistance, then the card is too thin.
    • If the card is too thick you will not be able to slide the card through the pins without bowing out or bending pins. Err on the side of caution and never force the card through.
  3. Image titled Fix Bent Pins on a CPU Step 5
    Run the card through the rows with bent pins in all 4 directions. For example, if there is one bent pin, run the card in the rows surrounding it, much like the “#” symbol. This will bend the pin straight in each direction.
  4. Image titled Fix Bent Pins on a CPU Step 6
    Attempt to mount the CPU. If it doesn't slide right in the socket, it is possible that there is still a bent pin. Sometimes pins in the middle can be difficult to detect.
    • Important: do not attempt to shove or jam the CPU in.

Method 2
Realigning Pins with a Mechanical Pencil

  1. 1
    Find a properly-sized pencil. This method is best used when there are a few individual bent pins. You will want a mechanical pencil with a .5 or .7 millimeter opening. These sizes should fit comfortably around a CPU pin.
  2. 2
    Remove any pencil lead from the pencil. You need the opening to be free of obstructions.
  3. 3
    Place the empty tip of the pencil over the pin. Carefully maneuver the tip to bend the pin back into place. You can use the angle of the pencil as a guide to track how straight the pin is.

Method 3
Using a Sewing Needle as a Lever

  1. 1
    Get a properly sized needle. If the needle does not fit between two pins comfortably then it is too large. The advantage of a needle is its thin size, which allows you to unbend pins that other tools cannot get under.
    • A toothpick or small tweezers are similar options that can work.
  2. 2
    Slide the needle underneath the bent pin. Take care not to scratch the surface of the CPU.
  3. 3
    Pull the needle up at one end. This will leverage the bent pin back to a straighter position.
  4. 4
    Assess the situation for how to move forward. If the pin seems reasonably straight, you can attempt to remount the CPU. If the pin still needs straightening, try the credit card or mechanical pencil now that you can get underneath it. You can also continue to manipulate the pins with needle to try to get them straighter.
    • Always be careful when re-bending the pins a lot, as there is the risk of breakage


  • Best Buy gift cards seem to fit perfectly for some odd reason.
  • If the CPU isn't mounting, feel where it is sticking. If it is mounting in every corner but one, find the bent pin(s) in that corner.
  • Hold the CPU up to some light and look through it to try to find all the bent pins. If it isn't mounting, look especially for single bent pins towards the center, as they are hard to spot and you may have missed one.


  • Having improperly installed or handled the CPU (unless it arrived with bent pins) will void your warranty on the CPU.
  • Do not forget to apply the thermal goo on top of the CPU if you had to take the heat-sink off.
  • In most modern processors, the CPU pins are made from very thin wire plated with gold, and as such, are very soft, pliable, and break very easily. There is no way to replace broken pins on a CPU, unless you have special equipment and skill.
  • Do not bend the pins too much. They do not have to be perfect; as long as they are mostly aligned the action of closing the CPU socket will push them straight. However, repeated back and forth bending can cause pins to break off.

Things You'll Need

  • A CPU
  • A gift card, credit card, or ID (the plastic card that comes with some thermal paste should be the right thickness)
  • A 0.5mm or .07mm mechanical pencil
  • A sewing needle of appropriate diameter
  • A magnifying glass will help you to periodically assess your progress. Some free-standing models or a loupe may allow you to perform the entire task with its aid

Article Info

Categories: Hardware Maintenance and Repair