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Whether you work in manufacturing, heavy industry or maintenance and repair, threaded fasteners are likely to be an important part of your role. 

Locking these fasteners in place and achieving a strong, reliable assembly comes down to having the right tool for the job. In many cases, that will be a threadlocker

But achieving successful, long-lasting assembly is about more than simply choosing the right threadlocker

The effectiveness of a threadlocking adhesive depends on it being applied properly and knowing how to use the threadlocker. Not following the correct procedure for applying your threadlocker can impact its ability to effectively lock the fastener in place, leading to failure in the long-term. 

To make sure you’re getting it right every time, we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help you understand everything from how much LOCTITE® threadlocker you need, to how to use a threadlocker effectively.

How to Use LOCTITE® Threadlockers

One of the major benefits of LOCTITE® threadlockers is that they’re relatively simple to use once you know how.

The majority of our threadlockers come in a small bottle, with a thin nozzle that allows you to apply the adhesive directly onto your fastener before you thread the bolt. 

To apply a threadlocker correctly, you should:

1. Prepare the Surface

Preparation is the easiest step to forget when applying a threadlocker, but it’s arguably the most important for longevity and performance. 

In manufacturing, fasteners may come coated with a corrosion inhibitor. These should always be removed using an appropriate aqueous or solvent-based cleaner before application. 

If they’re not removed, corrosion inhibitors can impede the chemical reaction that causes threadlockers to turn from a liquid to a solid during the curing process.

In maintenance and repairs, grease, dust and other contaminants can easily get into threads, inhibiting the threadlocker. These should always be cleaned off before applying the adhesive.

Cleaning and prepping effectively allows the threadlocker to achieve optimal mechanical, thermal, and chemical performance.

2. Allow the Threads to Dry

After cleaning, give the threads enough time to dry fully, ensuring there’s no trace of the cleaners you’ve used on surfaces that are going to be bonded. 

Once both surfaces are completely dry, you can apply the threadlocker for the strongest possible bond.

3. Apply a Few Dots of Threadlocker

A little threadlocker goes a long way. The most important rule to remember is that you only need to focus on the area where the two threads will join when bonded to ensure maximum performance. 

But one of the most common mistakes people make is to use too much. This can overfill the thread, leading to messy applications and overflowing assemblies.

How much threadlocker do I need?

When deciding how much threadlocker to apply, focus on where the thread and nut will be seated (locked in place) when assembled. Apply a few dots of your chosen threadlocker across this area. 

As your bolt turns, this will spread across the desired area, leaving you with a strong bond. Make sure there’s an even spread across the surface you’re applying the adhesive to.

4. Attach the Nut to the Bolt

Once you have applied your threadlocker, slowly turn the nut to allow the adhesive to spread evenly across the two threads until everything is locked in place.

5. Cure in Place

The final stage of using threadlockers, curing, is also vital. Most LOCTITE® threadlockers take 24 hours to fully cure in place. During this time, they go through an anaerobic chemical reaction that turns them from a liquid to a solid polymer.

To get the best possible performance from your threadlockers, give them time to cure fully. Using the assembly before this can interrupt the chemical reaction, meaning the adhesive never obtains its full mechanical and physical properties. 

However, in some maintenance applications, where it’s important to have machinery back up and running quickly, you may be able to use equipment after the threadlocker’s fixture time has passed. This is the point at which the assembly will have achieved a degree of handling strength. Using an accelerator can help reduce fixture time when speed is a priority.

How long does LOCTITE® take to dry?

The technical data sheet (TDS) for the threadlocker outlines the cure time you should adhere to. Some additional factors can impact cure time, including: 

  • Temperature
  • Gap
  • Activity of metals
  • Use of activators

Can You Remove a Threadlocker?

LOCTITE® threadlockers are primarily designed to hold things in place. But from time to time, you might need to take threaded assemblies apart. This can include applications where there are maintenance and repair requirements. 

Thankfully, many LOCTITE® threadlockers are removable to allow for easier disassembly. 

How simple it is to remove a bolt with threadlocker will depend on the product you use. Low and medium-strength threadlocking adhesives can be removed with the torque applied by hand tools alone. Simply reach for your wrench as you would a standard nut and bolt. 

Meanwhile, some high-strength red threadlockers may require heat or additional power to remove without damaging the threads. These can be removed, but it might just take a little more work.

Don’t let a small fastener become a big problem. Learn more about the benefits and uses of threadlockers in our insights blog

Or explore the full threadlocker range to find the right product for every job.

Contact us

Please fill out the form below and we'll respond as soon as we can. For immediate assistance with a technical request please call 1-800-LOCTITE.

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