How to Prevent Seized Screws and Screw Galling

seized screws

We’ve all encountered stubborn screws that refuse to loosen properly or become trapped within the device you’re inserting them into. There’s nothing that can derail a project’s momentum faster than screws that won’t budge, or, worse, these screws could even end up causing lasting damage in the process.

Seized screws and screw galling can certainly cause considerable frustration. That’s why we’re here to help you explore effective techniques to correct the issues and preventative measures to take to ensure a smooth process in your next project.

What Are Seized Screws?

Seized screws are screws that get stuck or become difficult to remove from the space they were placed in. When screws start to seize, it becomes increasingly challenging to turn them. This often requires additional force or unproper techniques to extract the screw, often causing damage to both the screw and the surrounding material.

Seized screws can pose significant problems that lead to reduced functionality, potential damage to your tools and equipment, higher maintenance expenses, and numerous other headache-inducing issues for many industries.

Causes of Seized Screws

Seized screws can occur due to various factors. Common causes include:

  • Incorrect insertion
  • Aging
  • Requirement of tight tolerances

Screw Galling

Another reason why it may be difficult to remove a screw from its inserted material is because of screw galling. This occurs when two metal surfaces such as the screw thread and the hole it is being inserted into weld or cling together, making it almost impossible to remove the screw.

Screw galling can be detrimental for several reasons. Not only does it cause a struggle in removing the screw, but it also causes damage to the component and reduces performance.

Causes of Screw Galling

By addressing the potential causes of screw galling, it’s possible to reduce the risk of it occurring. Some of the most common factors that lead to screw galling include:

  • Material incompatibility
  • Surface roughness
  • High pressure
  • Screw design
  • Different coatings
  • Temperature fluctuation
  • Debris on threads
  • Repetitive use

How to Prevent Seized Screws and Screw Galling

Seized screws often occur alongside screw galling and both issues have similar preventative measures and proper procedures that you should adhere to. Some of the guidelines that you can follow to prevent these two issues include:

  • Using compatible materials – Selecting compatible materials, for both the screws and the corresponding components you are placing the screws in, will reduce the risk of seized screws and screw galling. Certain combinations of metals are more prone to seizing and galling, especially when different metals are being used together, so consult with your engineering team for the best approach.
  • Using quality screwsInvesting in high-quality screws that have good surface finishes will help improve longevity and prevent seized screws and screws from galling.
  • Aligning the screw threads correctly – Ensuring the threads of the screw are aligned with that of the receiving material will reduce the risk of seizing or galling. Be sure to take the extra time needed to line up the screw, because it may be saving you much more time and effort in the long run!
  • Checking for thread damage – Examining the threads of the screw before use is extremely important because screws that are worn or damaged will more frequently lead to seizing or galling. Also, be sure to check the cleanliness of the screw because different forms of dirt and debris can cause unwanted friction.
  • Conducting regular maintenance – Proactively checking on the state of your screws can help prevent seizing or galling before it occurs. Be sure to periodically inspect screws and the surrounding surfaces for signs of wear, damage, or galling, and replace the components as needed!
  • Using lubricated screws – Utilizing screws that have lubrication will help avoid exerting excessive pressure when inserting the screw, and it will make it easier to remove.

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