What’s the Big Deal about Shear Bolts?
You may be wondering why shear bolts have any value. Sure, you’ve seen them around when you’re walking down the aisles of your supermarket. But when you look at them, maybe you just think they’re a scam. At a glance, they’re just, well… bolts. So what’s so special about them, you wonder. You’ve seen bolts, and you can buy them in bulk instead of packs of two or four as is typical of packages of shear bolts. Really it seems as though you may just as well buy a regular pack of bolts at a hardware store.
You may have even heard stories of men and women doing just that, either because they can’t find a shear bolt to fit their product or because they’re hoping that cutting this corner will save them money. You probably haven’t heard of anyone having a problem for having done so. And since shear bolts aren’t *that* expensive, you may as well buy the alternative you can find in your hardware store. Right?
Shear bolts are found in a wide variety of household appliances. Whether you need a snow blower or a lawn mower, chances are you have at least one object that requires them. At times you may even be able to use the same type of shear bolt between two very different items, making it seem even stranger that you need to buy them. But whether you realize it or not, these shear bolts are specifically calibrated for their usage in your products. They are meant to allow only a certain amount of torque to be applied before they snap. This is a cautionary measure in order to save your products from long-lasting, expensive, and maybe even permanent damages.
Regular bolts that you can find at a hardware store have not been designed to break at the application of too much shock or pressure. They are designed slightly differently. If you compare the two, you may see grooves on a shear pin that a regular bolt of the same size will not have. This is the difference between no potential damage to your product and the possibility of hundreds of dollars worth of damages.
Bite the Bullet, Buy the Bolt
If a bolt is the same size as the shear bolt you are using, it can have the same technical usage. That is to say, it will fit and it will not immediately break your product. But don’t be fooled by this. Even if you get a bolt to fit, it does not have the same advantages that a shear bolt does and it is not guaranteed to protect the inner workings of your tractor, lawn mower, or snow blower in the same way. A shear pin will break if too much torque is applied. A bolt may break, but it also may not. And if it doesn’t, you will be in for a world of hurt. Your property will be destroyed and you will be out hundreds of dollars as well as your valuable free time because you were trying to pay a few dollars less for a tiny bolt.