How Tight is TOO Tight ?



Notice that part of the bolt is still in one of the axle flange holes

When it comes to cars, strength can be a negative instead of a plus.  Many individuals tighten up a bolt or screw, they get it to that perfect spot……and then turn it “just a littttle bit more, to make sure it’s extra tight and on there.”  How much did that just cost you…or in a mechanic’s shop, how much did it just cost the customer  ?

We had a 2007 VW GTI in the shop last week that was in for service and for an overall vehicle inspection before he took his car to the racetrack.  One of the items noted on his inspection was that his axle bolts were not installed properly by the previous shop / dealership.  Since the axle slides into & bolts onto the transmission, it is obviously very important for the axle and subsequent bolts, plates, etc to be in their proper place and torqued to correct spec.  Unfortunately for our customer, his bolts were cross-threaded and it took quite a bit to get them out of the axle flange, which had to be replaced entirely, to the tune of over $300.  (The accompanying pictures show that once we got the axle flange out of the Volkswagen, all attempts were made to remove the bolts, which broke off in the axle flange.)  Had the previous mechanic taken his time, not cranked down on the power tool so much and visually inspected his work, he would have realized that they were not installed correctly.  Likewise, we see stripped oil pans more often than not…..where someone has installed the oil drain plug into an aluminum oil pan and stripped it due to over-tightening.  That creates an oil leak and could cause major engine damage if left unattended for an extended period of time. 

KNOW your vehicle and when something is not right …. whether it is the way it drives, the way it sounds or the way it smells.  All can be tell-tale signs of problems that may not have reared their heads yet.   Consistent visits to your mechanic is KEY.  That way, they can know when something is “off” and can monitor wear or leaking items before they become problems….and Save You Money in the long run.