Check Your Tool, Not Your Bike

Spend more time riding and less time fiddling with your bike with this quick maintenance tip. If you are having trouble loosening or tightening hex screws (socket head screws), it could be the screw is made from inferior, softer metal or slightly out of spec, but more likely your hex wrench is worn. It’s important to reduce the risk of camming out a button head screw in an awkward location like on this rack.

Hex Wrenches

Hex wrenches, or keys, are limited life tools.

The Solution

If your key is made from a softer metal, throw it out. If it’s made from a harder steel, grind or file the tip back to where you can feel more solid engagement. And for difficult screws, Wera hex wrenches, with a special shape for a larger corner contact area, work well.

Your pocket multi-tool should have hardened hex wrenches as well. I carry fabric’s CHAMBER ratchet head. Other suggestions are listed below.

Tips & Tricks

For really difficult to remove screws, Kano Kroil penetrating oil works wonders. To release a LocTite bond, try touching a soldering iron to the screw head for a minute. Beeswax make for an effective thread retaining compound plus it is environmentally friendly.