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How to Safety Wire

By Rob Robinette

Safety wire is used to secure fasteners to prevent them from coming lose. It's used a lot in aviation and racing. To safety wire fasteners you will need safety wire, safety wire pliers, wire cutters (dykes) and needle nose pliers.
The hardest part of safety wiring is drilling the holes in the hardened fasteners. There are jigs available from Summit Racing and Jeg's to hold nuts and bolts so they can be drilled easier. You may be able to purchase pre-drilled fasteners and save yourself some time.
I used .025 safety wire on my brake rotors below. There's one basic rule in safety wiring, always wire your fasteners so the wire is pulling the fasteners tighter, not loser--note in the pictures below both bolts are being pulled clockwise (tighter) by the safety wire.
safety_wire1.jpg (19108 bytes)

Start by looping the wire through the fastener, use a little extra wire, you don't want to be short

safety_wire2.jpg (20854 bytes)

Loop the wire coming out of the bottom hole around the bolt head clockwise and pull the wire tight with needle nose pliers in the direction of the second bolt

safety_wire3.jpg (20933 bytes)

Start the twist by hand (two to three turns) then bring the two wires together and clip the safety wire pliers on the wires next to the hole it will go in on the second bolt, keep the two wires next to each other in the pliers jaws (no gap between them)

safety_wire4.jpg (14944 bytes)

Pull the safety wire pliers twist-knob to twist the wire, hold the pliers to keep it from twisting backwards and let the knob retract, then repeat until the desired twist is reached

safety_wire5.jpg (16414 bytes)

Unclip the safety wire pliers, put one wire through the second bolt (using needle nose pliers helps), loop the other wire around the bolt head, start the twist by hand, clip on the safety wire pliers and twist

safety_wire6.jpg (15447 bytes)

Ready to cut the wire--leave about 1/4 inch of a tail

safety_wire7.jpg (12970 bytes)


Rob Robinette

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