How to... get seized fasteners off

Five essential tips

THERE are two main problems with bikes when it comes to fasteners. Everything is exposed to the elements – and, too often, cost-cutting means nuts, bolts and screws aren't up to the job. Firms saving a few quid here and there use cheaper, less corrosion-proof materials. Add in production lines not using enough grease or lube when assembling parts, and you end up with seized fasteners. Then, when you try to loosen them, the heads chew up, and you're snookered.

So - here's five top tips on loosening the tight 'uns.

1. Basics first

Trouble often starts when you don’t use the proper tools. Poor-fitting screwdrivers, spanners and Allen keys round off the fastener heads, and if the threads are a bit stuck to start, you'll be in all sorts of bother.

So, make sure you're using the right tool – especially with cross-headed screws. Japanese bikes use JIS – Japanese Industrial Standard – heads, which are subtly different from normal cross-head screws. You'll generally get away with a Phillips driver, but consider investing in some JIS bits or screwdrivers. Never use Pozi-drive bits or drivers – these are for DIY around the house only – wood screws and putting up shelves.

For Allen bits, Torx heads and hex nuts, make sure you have really good quality tooling. If cash is tight, just buy single bits in the most common sizes as you go along – 10, 12, 14, 17, 19mm sockets, plus 4, 5, 6, 8mm Allen bits. A tool kit with basic bits in all sizes, plus high-quality tools in the main sizes is A Good Thing.



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