How Effective Is Locking Wire?

Locking wire is a type of mechanical bolt locking method.

Locking wire, also known as safety wire, is a mechanical locking method. This method works by threading a wire through a hole in a bolt head/nut, twisting it to lock that bolt in place and then replicating the process through one or more bolt heads/nuts – essentially locking all the bolted connections together. Any excess wire is removed once the process is complete. It is imperative that the wire is installed so that tension in the wire only allows the bolt head/nut to turn in the direction of tightening. The tension of each section of the wire must also be locked in place so as not to be affected by the accidental loosening of another bolt head/nut in the series. 

Although this method provides reasonable loosening resistance, it is time-consuming to assemble and the bolt head/nut must be drilled to create the holes for the locking wire - increasing the cost again. The only way to remove the locking wire is to cut it away – meaning that it cannot be reused and a new piece must be installed every time the bolted joint is maintained.

Tab Washers vs Wedge-Locking Washers

How do tab washers compare to wedge-locking washers? Find out in the video below.

Which bolt locking product should I use?

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What you will find in the eBook:

  • Pros and cons of the different bolt locking methods
  • Evaluation of different products
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