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Stripped Threads: Restore or Replace?

Stripped Threads: Restore or Replace?

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Learning how to address stripped threads is one of the most essential skills for doing preventive maintenance for automobiles and equipment. There’s a reason why ‘nuts and bolts’ have become our expression for the practical aspects of any subject matter.

Nuts and bolts make it easy for us to think through the practical limitations of a workpiece. 

Literally, we have to work within the confines of what the state of the nuts and bolts are.

Say your 10-year old car is full of threaded bolts and nuts. Ideally, you should replace them all piece by piece. But, should you? 

Let’s discuss the steps you can take before deciding whether to renew or replace your threads. We’ll also share with you the most efficient way to renew threads using different tools.

Item for Repair

Think about hard to replace items such as an axle and steering head shaft. You might seriously consider repairing them DIY before tossing them out and getting a hefty repair bill. 

For items in need of repairing, you may use the following tools:

  • Thread File
  • Tap and Die
  • Thread Plows
  • Helicoil or Solid coil insert
  • Rotary thread

The tools we have now at our disposal gives plenty of room to consider repairing. If an item is not under high-stress or high load, you may use the tools above to renew the threads. 

Though the tools above give plenty of room for improving the threads, it is possible to make the threads as good as new with Rotary thread. The other tools also give a reliable option but with a strong downside. 

Rotary thread gives you the versatility of fixing any metric, inch, or pipe whether internal or external thread. One Rotary thread will do the work for all corroded, damaged, or crossed threads. 

Item for Replacement

For items that are in need of replacement, you can still go back one step and consider using Rotary thread. We can see in this video that even with the bolt’s threads almost corroded, Rotary thread was able to correct it with one spiral lap from the top to the bottom of the thread. 

Nonetheless, replacing parts means that there is no feasible way to make the thread carry the load even after repairing. Crossed threads that are both rusted and stripped are a good candidate for replacement. This depends on the amount of rust, though. Rotary thread can fix even the most hardened threads.

Restoring Threads

Restoring threads are not equal, and the tools used for the restoration job are not the same. Below are some of the tips to make the use of the tool easier. 

We also assess at the end how Rotary thread measures up with the rest of the traditional tools used for thread repair

5 Thread Repair Tools: Which One Should You Use?
Thread File

Thread file. Thread files are straightforward tools you can use to repair a thread. For as long as you know the measurement of the pitch of the bolt’s threads, you can get the right thread file and carry on with the task. This is like working on a filing job on metal using basic, hardened steel. 

Tip.  You won’t be sure that the threads and the thread file match up together until you have engaged the thread file with the threads. 

Usually, you will need an entire kit with different sizes to make sure you have the right size. However, this will mean it will cost you some dollars. Don’t use it too hard or too light. Start with the good threads going into the bad threads. 

Use penetrating oil to prevent binding the thread file to the bolt. You don’t want to end up with crossed threads!

Tap and Die

Any professional would be able to wield these tools quickly. However, like thread files, you often need to buy an entire kit. You also run the risk of the die digging too much metal into the bolt, affecting the strength of the bolt. 

Tip: Measure the pitch diameter of the damaged thread using a thread gauge before using a tap and die. 

Thread Plows

Fortunately, you don’t need to use a thread gauge for this one. Thread plows are self-adjusting and can work with different bolt thread pitches. However, once the thread diameter exceeds 6 inches, you would need a differently sized plow wrench. 

Tip: Thread plows are not the most ergonomic tools you can have to repair threads. You have to find a good workspace to maneuver while repairing the threads.


Helical thread inserts are reliable tools to replace the damaged threads. Using a coiled wire insert, it will serve as new threads for the bolt after tapping the base metal. Nonetheless, it only works with internal threads. It is also made of stainless steel and will therefore cause galling with an aluminum base metal. 

Tip: Make sure to be perpendicular to the workpiece when installing the coiled wire insert. 

RTK2.1 Master Kit

Rotary Thread

Compared with tap and dies, thread files, and helicoils, no measurement is needed. Rotary Thread works with a drill or a rotary tool, so it is built to work with precision–one thread at a time. Rotary thread works with every inch, metric or pipe, following its patented 60 degree angle design which works with the contours of all threads. 

Tip: Use mineral spirits or a tapping fluid on the bolt to quicken the work. Use rpm until 12,000 only for maximum effect. Start gradually with a low rpm, then move into higher rpm once you get into the groove. Start with good threads and allow it to guide you to the bad threads.


Working with damaged threads can give you the option of repairing or replacing the parts. With the many options you have, repairing DIY is a good alternative to save on cost and time. Furthermore, if you are deciding on how to restore stripped threads efficiently, using Rotary thread is a good investment to avoid more costs and hassle of replacement.

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