Cross Threading: How it Happens and How to Avoid it

Cross Threading: How it Happens and How to Avoid it

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Cross threading can happen on any bolts or screw at any time. Whether you’re rehanging a door and you’re putting your screw back on into the hinge holes or reattaching a wheel on a vehicle. 

So how does Cross Threading happen?

Cross threading happens when you put a fastener of some kind, be it a bolt, a nut, or a screw into a pre-drilled hole which is supposed to receive the thread perfectly. But because you were in a rush or you weren’t doing it carefully, you put the fastener in an angle that leads to a common failure called Angular cross threading. This happens because you start turning the tip of the bolts/screw before they are aligned with the threads in the hole. Since they are misaligned angularly, the other end of the hole and the bolt engage incorrectly as the bolt is tightened and then the damaged thread fails by shearing. On the other hand, Parallel cross threading is a more toned down form of cross threading and this comes-up when the alignment of the two parts is twisted together in the initial mating. The patterns don’t harmonize perfectly. Commonly, it occurs when power tools get “over-torqued” that results in the alignment of the bolts/screws to be uneven.

Basically, you’re grinding in a new direction where there were patterns already. You end up getting your bolt or screw stuck and end up destroying the pre-drilled hole. You don’t wouldn’t want to have a hard time fixing a cross threaded nut or bolt.  That can be a real problem if you’re trying to put two things together and you’re relying on that fastener.

So here’s a couple of tips to avoid this…

  1. Make sure that the fastener is clean. If your fastener isn’t clean and there’s some dirt on it, then there’s a very good chance that it can sabotage the process of meshing the directions of the hole with the threads of the fastener.
  1. Start with your fingers. When using your fingers, it can let you know quickly if the movement of the hole and the fastener are aligned properly at the start. Using a tool immediately can fool you that all things are matched up properly when they really aren’t. So start with your fingers, make sure you’ve got it all lined up properly.
  1. Start by turning the screw the wrong way. I know this sounds kind of confusing but if it’s a critical screw and a critical hole, and you don’t want to mess it up, this is a good idea. Put the screw in the hole, turn it counter clockwise the opposite direction that you want to until you tighten the screw, keep turning until you hear a little click. The little click is the indicator that the start of the hole and the tip of the fastener are lined up. Then you change direction, turn your tool or your screw in a clockwise direction and so the other tip will go into hole properly pretty much every time if you turn it clockwise first.

But in cases where you think that it’s the end of the road and no other method works to repair a thread, try the only thread repair kit that can fix any thread, Rotary Thread! This tool has a patented tool profile that has the same angle on any thread. This allows the tool to quickly work on any project and fix a thread, whether inside or outside.

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