fastening bolts and damaging paint


The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
I'm using polished stainless steel bolts on my entire 53 Chevy pickup.It was brought up to me that I should put some kind of plastic washer behind the bolts to avoid chipping the paint? It seems that this would cause the bolts to work loose? What is the best way to handle this. It will be show paint but I'm going to drive the wheels off of it.

I will point out that several companies sell decorative counter sunk chrome or anodized aluminum fender washers, if your going through the trouble to polish bolt heads rather than paint over the installed fasteners they may be an option.

use of a larger diameter stainless fender washer under the bolt heads and nuts on a fastener.,

in contact with the painted surface, under a standard washer ,
in contact with the bolt head ,allows the clamping and rotational forces to be spread over a larger area, this generally reduces the surface damage.
a thin plastic washer under the fender washer to reduce the clamping force damage may help, but many guys just put a dab of matching wet body paint under the washer to seal any micro damage that might result as the bolts are installed, and tightened.
use of thread lockers on the threads reduces the tendency for bolts to come loose.
many guys will use clear polyurethane spray or wax, applied over an installed fastener to reduce the tendency of exposed bolts and washers to corrode


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