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How to Safety Wire Your Bolts - Tight Wire

Follow along as we show you the right way to safety wire your bolts

Jun 17, 2014
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There are some things done in the racing world that translate well to our street cars and many of these involve safety. After all, it's just as bad to have something go wrong when cutting though a mountain road as it is on the back straight of some racetrack. While our weekend warrior Corvettes don't require the same level of preparedness as a full tilt race car they can still benefit from borrowing some tricks that have been staples of the race scene for decades.

One of these is the use of safety wire. Much as the name implies, this is where wire is used to prevent bolts and other fasteners from backing out of where they are supposed to be. It's a practice that's especially useful for critical areas such as suspension and brakes, but it's also effective at more mundane duties such as keeping header bolts from loosening up.

Much like tying shoe laces, the process for wiring up bolts seems complicated, but once you do it a few times it's ridiculously simple. To show us the right way to twist up safety wire we hit up David Pozzi, of Pozzi Racing, for some tips. After all, the phrase “safety first” was coined for a reason.

Drilling Holes Made Easy

If you're lucky, the fasteners that you want to safety wire will be pre-drilled, but if not then it can be a bit tricky ventilating hardened steel. Enter the Nut Saf-T-block by MTE Industries. This incredibly simple, yet effective widget lets you drill safety wire holes through the head of bolts or nuts, across the diagonal. It's designed to accept up to ¾-inch bolt heads or nuts. Just place the fastener in the “V” grove, tighten down the set screw, drill, and deburr. At around 30 bucks we can't think of a reason not to have one in your tool arsenal.

Nut Saf T Block 2/15

Arp Bolts Wilwood Rotors 3/15

01. The ARP bolts that came with these Wilwood rotors were already pre-drilled for safety wire, so it seemed like a shame not to wire them up. If you’re dealing with non drilled bolts then it’s fairly easy to drill them if you have the right equipment. The first step here is to feed some of the 0.032 inch stainless wire through the hole. The wire can be picked up at almost any speed shop for less than $20 a spool.

Passing Wire Bolt 4/15

02. The goal of this job is to make it so the bolt can’t turn counter-clockwise since it’s held by another bolt or wired to a part of the car. After passing the wire through the bolt it’s wrapped around and hand twisted as shown.

Allstar Products Pliers 5/15

03. Now it’s time to use the specialized pliers that we bought from Allstar products (PN ALL10120, $39.99). This can be done by hand but it’s far more labor intensive. We gripped both wires with the pliers at a point where the end twisted pair would reach our target. In this case, the bolt to the immediate left.

Pull Knob Allstar Pliers 6/15

04. With the pliers locked down David Pozzi, of Pozzi Racing, grabbed the pull knob at the back of the Allstar pliers and started slowly pulling back.

Twisting Wires 7/15

05. He pulled back until the two wires twisted together.

Wire Length 8/15

06. David confirmed that the twist was the right length. If it was too short he would have twisted it a bit more and if too long then he would have untwisted it a bit. As luck, and a bit of skill, would have it the length was perfect.

Fastener Exit Hole 9/15

07. Next we pulled one end of the wire though the hole that was as close as possible to the opposite of the exit hole of the first fastener. This way if one bolt tries to loosen it will try to tighten the bolt paired up to it.

Wires Twisted Hand 10/15

08. Again, like the other side, the wire, other than the one going through the hole, is run around the outside of the bolt and the wires are lightly twisted together by hand.

Allstar Pliers Screwdriver 11/15

09. David then clamped down on the wires with the Allstar pliers. Since these pliers only twist in one direction he used a screwdriver to hold the outside wire in place so it wouldn’t rotate to the top of the bolt.

Wilwood Rotor Wires Teisted 12/15

10. The two wires were then firmly twisted together.

Excess Wire Trim 13/15

11. Lastly, the excess was trimmed off and the end was twisted back on itself so that it won’t catch on anything.

Brake Rotor 14/15

12. This same procedure was repeated around the entire brake rotor.

Key Fasteners Shock Collar 15/15

13. We also took a moment to secure a few other key fasteners, such as this one holding the lower shock mount in place. In this case, David drilled out the bolt and secured it to the shock collar. vette


Allstar Performance
Watervliet, MI
MTE Industries
Goleta, CA
Pozzi Racing



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