How to Repair Damaged ATV Threads

Damaged threads will happen to any DIYer now and then. You’re set to get a job done and this completely unnecessary frustration standing in your way. Don’t let it get you down and don’t just ignore it. With this post, we’ll tell you how to fix damaged ATV threads so you can do the job you came to do and do it right.

repair atv threads.jpg

What Causes Damaged Threads?

On an ATV, there are three most likely reasons for damaged threads:

  • Overdoing it with the torque

  • Underdoing it with the torque, such as on a spark plug thread. The plug is loose will vibrate in that thread while you’re riding your ATV, gradually wearing down the threads.

  • Corrosion that causes the bolt or screw that was in the thread to come apart or damage the threads while you’re removing it.

The Don’t of Damaged Thread Repair

You may be tempted to try to fix your ATV threads will a self-tapping metal screw, making the hole larger, gluing the hole, or applying silicone to the hole. Some of these tricks may damage your vehicle or a necessary part. They may provide you with a seeming solution, if you’re lucky, but they aren’t a secure method and could cause serious problems in the future (whatever you closed or attached probably isn’t really closed or attached).

Some people choose to do nothing to the hole. There doesn’t need to be a screw or bolt there. Nope. There does. A screw or bolt-shaped hole isn’t there for no reason. The question is not whether you should fix it, but how to fix damaged threads.

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How to Repair Damaged Threads

Take note

Notice the screw or bolt size, length, and thread type. You’ll need to preserve this match to avoid damage, weakness, or screw/bolt failure.

Fixing oil drain plugs

Oil drain plugs are common locations to find damaged ATV threads. You can sometimes use a self-tapping oil drain plug to cut the thread back into the hold while you screw it in. The problem is that if you have a thin oil pan, you could damage it. For these situations, you can purchase an ATV oil drain plug repair kit.

Time-Sert thread Inserts

Time-Sert thread inserts can be an excellent way to repair your ATV threads. They are solid, made of either carbon or stainless steel, so you can make the hole nearly as strong as it was before. They come with a kit that includes a few inserts, a drill bit, a reamer, a tap, an installation tool, and a thread locking compound. The main drawback is that you can’t install them in all situations. If your threads are located under a dowel pin, you won’t be able to get in there to work with the included tools without damaging the cavity.

HeliCoil thread inserts

HeliCoil threads are the ideal way to fix ATV threads. They match both the diameter and the pitch of the screw or bolt so you can recreate as much as possible the original setup for the strongest fix. It works with both aluminum and steel holes as well. You purchase these in a kit that includes a bunch of HeliCoil threads, a drill bit, tap, a removal tool, and an installation tool.

How to Use a Time-Sert Kit

You’ll need:

  • A Time-Sert kit
  • A power tool
  • Cutting oil or WD-40
  • Degreaser
  • Compressed air
  • Square

First, purchase a kit with threads that match your screw or bolt.

Make sure that you do one step and then clean the hole with compressed air, do another step, and then clean the hole again.

Begin by drilling the hole to remove what’s left of the old thread. While you do this, you’ll have to use a square to periodically make sure you are drilling the hole perpendicular, and don’t make the hole bigger or deeper.

Take the reamer in the kit and use it to create a chamfer for the Time-Sert shoulder.

Apply the cutting oil to the tap and tap the hole. Screw one turn, unscrew half a turn, and repeat until the entire hole has been done.

Remove oil from the hole degreaser.

Put the Time-Sert thread on the installation tool and apply one drop of thread locking compound to the thread. Then screw the thread into the hole, making sure it fits into the tapped threads, until the shoulder is housed in the chamfer.

How To Use a HeliCoil Kit

You’ll need:

  • A HeliCoil kit
  • A power tool
  • Cutting oil or WD-40
  • Compressed air
  • Square

Purchase a HeliCoil kit with threads that match your screw or bolt.

Clean the hole with the compressed air. Be prepared to do this again between each step.

Take the drill bit and drill into the hole to get rid the remainder of the old thread out. Make sure not to make the hole bigger or deeper than it was and use a square to be sure you’re staying perpendicular.

Put the cutting oil on the tap and tap the hole. Do this by screwing a full turn, unscrewing only half a turn, and doing this until you’ve done the entire hole.

You don’t need thread locking compound for these.

Attach the HeliCoil to the installation tool, begin screwing and notice if it fits into the tapped threads.

HeliCoil for Engine Oil Drain Hole

Purchase a HeliCoil kit that is specifically for aluminum because it will be simpler to use. It won’t contain a drill bit because the tap will serve the same purpose.

Put lots of grease on the tap to keep metal shavings from ending up in your oil. You can take the tap out and regrease it if you feel it is getting too dirty.

Don’t screw the tap further than you have to because it can damage the engine.

Once you’re through tapping, you can install the thread.

How to Prove the Repair is Strong Enough

You will be able to tell if your repair is strong by simply tightening the screw or bolt to the expected torque. If it tightens, it’s secure.

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