Stripped allen/hex screw

Posting for two reasons . . . to share a trick that worked for removing a stripped allen/hex screw and looking for advice about finding a replacement. The car’s a 2005 Mazda 6 - the same from my earlier post about power steering issues. Before I could do any further work in figuring out that problem, I had to replace the neutral safety switch.

I had the whole thing off except for one screw, a 5 mm allen/hex head, that was stripped. I tried a variety of wrenches, a gator grip socket, jamming a similar sized torx socket in there, and a lot of cursing. After two hours, what finally worked? A tiny piece of electrical tape wrapped around my 5 mm allen socket and a whole lot of pressure applied toward the screw head as I was turning the wrench.

I haven’t put the new switch on yet, as I don’t want to reuse the stripped screw. Should I just look for the closest thing I can find at a hardware or auto parts store? Or, maybe a Mazda dealer would have the exact part? Anything I can do to the screw head to make it reusable? Notching the head and using a flathead screwdriver might be an option, but a socket wrench is really the best tool for accessing the screw. It’s a pretty tight space to get into, between the front of the transmission and the frame of the car.

Any thoughts on this one? Thanks.


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If there’s an ACE hardware nearby, take the screw there and show one their helpful folks.

I’m sure they’ll find something that will work.


5 mm Allen-head bolts are not a rare thing. Inquiring at Mazda dealership or an auto parts store will probably turn up what you need. Local hardware stores might even stock it. National chain hardware stores aren’t so good at this sort of thing in my experience. You might not can find the exact length you need locally, but you can just buy a longer one and cut it to size. Cutting a slot in the head to fit a flat blade screwdriver is another idea, I’ve used this method before, if you can’t find a new one locally.

If all else fails you can always order the exact fastener you need by mail

Also, I’ve had good luck with Fastenal if you have one near you. I needed a small hex screw for my faucet and Ace didn’t carry it. Fastenal had to order it but I had it the next day for 50 cents total including shipping.

There’s nothing special about that bolt. Mazda buys them from some commercial hardware company. Get a new one at a good hardware store.

Along with all the other suggested places, Home Depot carries some also.