How many of you use helical split lock washers in bolted joints?

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Anyone want to weigh in on their pros and cons?


Helical lock washers have such a low spring rate that before they start to return you will have lost about 90% of the clamp load in the joint and if that happens, you have a failure going on. If they are fully flattened, then all you have is a hardened flat washer- so use one of those instead.
I would never recommend one at work and I take them off things around the house.
A waste of time and money and one more component that can be left out of the assembly.

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Don’t rely on them… proper torque and/or locktite red… the way to go for essential holding power.


Agree with Dik!

They seem to be unavoidable in all sorts of commercial equipment (lawn tractors, stoves, bench grinders, etc.)

I reuse them when doing so allows the same bolt length to continue working. I never use them when doing work I am being paid for. Except… some electrical standard practice manuals require them on electrical bonding terminals.

Can you use Belleville washers? I often see them spec’d on electrical work.


Oh indeed I can, and the star-lock washers come in a variety of military specifications (points on the outside / points on the inside) that I prefer to use when I can. But for doing work on old airplanes, the maintenance book says what the maintenance book says, and there ain’t no more Fokker, Lockheed, or Swearengen to rewrite them to a more modern standard.