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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

That Phillips-head screw isn't what you think it is | Hagerty Media

The unsung hero of the automotive world is the threaded fastener. Most people only think about the bolts and screws of their machines when they have to, when the components are stripped, seized, or broken off. That dismissive attitude, however, may cause these components to strip, seize, or break in the first place.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/that-phillips-head-screw-isnt-what-you-think-it-i...
70 REPLIES 70
gli48
Pit Crew

What about Reed & Prince screws? Are they the same as JIS? Or do they predate them? Saw one of them many (many!) years ago and it seemed that one screwdriver fit all size screws.
Kyle
Moderator

The Reed & Prince (also goes by Frearson) is a second take on the same idea as JIS. The Frearson is slightly deeper and the angle on the tip of the driver is steeper. From what I can tell, the Frearson is an older design than the JIS, but I am not 100% sure since I was unable to find patent information on both (JIS isn't really in the US patent system and I haven't found a source for when the JIS screwdriver standard was introduced.)

Richard
Pit Crew

The Reed& Prince (Frearson) was commonly used on boats and airplanes. The slots are thinner and the blades of the screwdriver are straight not beveled.
5869Corvette
Pit Crew

Kyle
Moderator

The only screw I'll use for woodworking! I don't do much woodworking though...

 

RobertLLR
Intermediate Driver

Star drive wood screws are even better. The only thing I use now.
Aaron
Pit Crew

I have been tinkering with motorcycles for decades, and I only learned about this a few years ago. This is information that should be far better known!
Tinkerah
Technician

Hear Here! Four decades plus for me; I've often seen the dot but assumed it simply indicated a metric thread, which in a way it does. Today I'm going through my box of driver bits to see if I have any JIS!
CFH
Intermediate Driver

I learned something today. Thank you.
6t9gt0
New Driver

Philips screws are one of my pet peeves, IMO worst design ever.
I won't purchase anything that comes with Philips screws and if the wife does I tell her go back and get Robertson screws or put it together yourself.
Bokeoyaji
Intermediate Driver

Actually, the worst design should go to the slotted screw design. I used to complain all the time about how the driver bit would simply slip off of the screw head. Hardware stores didn't carry much of the Phillips heads(wood screws)--they were all slotted. Now it's the opposite. I'd have hard time finding slotted wood screws.
mgbfastback
Pit Crew

Don't forget the Pozi drive screws used on older British Cars. They look like a regular Phillips and a Phillips fits but they strip out easily if torqued.
Mogowner
Intermediate Driver

As the owner of a number of aging British cars, I can't think of one where Pozi-drive fasteners are utilised. The only application I am familiar with that used Pozi's was in certain aircraft manufactured in North America. They are seemingly designed to install easily in production, but disfigure their heads when the time comes to remove them during maintenance. Their head pattern although similar to a Phillips has a "staggered" crucifix form as opposed to a direct simple cross. .
1xsnrg
New Driver

Pozi screws are used in the door hinges of Land Rover Defenders. A regular Phillips screwdriver will not remove a stuck Pozi screw. Having the correct tool helps.
Mogowner
Intermediate Driver

Thanks for that, I find myself somewhat embarrassed as a recent Defender owner (who has, as yet, had no need to remove the doors) and clearly not yet fully knowledgeable about it. Fortunately, my range of tools includes Pozi-drive bits.
denali94
Intermediate Driver

Well, the wife's TR6 has eight "Posidriv" screws, four each on the Zenith Stromberg dashpot covers. They were stock from the factory as such. If you have any Zenith carbs, perhaps the screws have been replaced with regular Phillips heads . . .

If the proper driver is employed, the heads do not 'disfigure' when removed. I have rebuilt these carbs several times and they still have the original screws.
trymes
Intermediate Driver

PoziDriv was introduced in ~1962, I think, so the MGB would be one of the first British cars to have them, and MGBs are, indeed, littered with them.
Bokeoyaji
Intermediate Driver

I've have a Pozi drive from car days, but I don't remember where they were being used. This was over 30 years ago. Now, I find them in IKEA products, so I have some use again for the one Pozi drive that I own.
denali94
Intermediate Driver

"Older"? ? ? I resemble that compliment. My MGA had them on the SU's had them as does my wife's TR6 (on the Zeniths). I believe many of the original screws for the interior trim on many MG's into the 80's used these screws. Use the proper driver and there are no issues.
MotorManMark
Intermediate Driver

hmm ... I've wondered what was going on, been seeing more and more products with poor fitting screw drivers and was blaming it on bad "Chinese" screws.
Thanks for this, I too learnt something today, now to buy more tools =O
1rarecat
Pit Crew

Amen to the robertson. Should be the only screw on the market. Lucky to live in Canada.
trymes
Intermediate Driver

I don't have any bad things to say about the Robertson design, they're perfectly fine. Having said that, the near religious zeal that Canadians show toward Robertson screws is generally amusing.
RJMatt
Intermediate Driver

I stripped many screws on my old Japanese motorcycles as a kid. I've replaced most of the JIS with hex drive, or "allen head" Stainless steel fasteners on bikes. I like the look and ease of removal after they have been in for a year or six. As stated in the article, the cross head screw was designed to be used with powered guns on an assembly line. They are still used a LOT in electronics and other manufacturing both here and China.
BillyD
New Driver

Just curious but when did the Torx bitt come into play... seems like that has been coming on strong for the past few years?
jaysalserVW
Detailer

Excellent, Kyle!
ermadear55
New Driver

This is magnificently helpful stuff.
Got to dig my wife’s old Bridgestone 50 out of the shed. Gave up on a couple screws on that thing over 3 decades ago 🙂
Thanks, Gary
MATTMERICA
Technician

Fascinating, thank you
cyclemikey
Intermediate Driver

Correct bit or not, you're still gonna need the trusty old impact driver to get those case screws off without damage on vintage Japanese bikes.
GRD
New Driver

Cyclemikey, you are soooooo correct. One of the first things I did on my 1968 Yamaha DT1 was install the "git-kit" and remove and replace all of the JIS case bolts with hex "Allen" head screws. I raced that bike for over 10 years through-out the So-Cal desert and some Grant Prix's at Lake Elsinore (1969-70???) and the "Big Bear" Grand Prix held at the old Riverside raceway. It was a very common practice for many of us racers to rebuild the clutch pac and replace the rings on the "tail gate" of my pickup. Having the hex head screws and an "impact driver" was considered an absolute necessity.
F360Spider
Detailer

My favorite fasteners are Torx. They never strip.

Geok86
Advanced Driver

You must be really lucky....I’ve stripped many torx, and ruined a few drivers too.
Debx2
Intermediate Driver

Kyle, I’m confused.
One of your picture captions states “on the left is a #2 Phillips.....the left is a JIS 2...”
They can’t both be on the left in the same pic.
Kyle
Moderator

Good catch. I've corrected the caption.
JimRasmussen
New Driver

Too bad P. L. Robertson couldn't trust Henry Ford; the annoying Phillips screw would not be used. https://www.robertsonscrew.com/history
davidjames
New Driver

Hats off to Kyle!
wentwest
Intermediate Driver

I also reach for the Vessel Megadora when I have a tough JIS screw to loosen, and so far I've been lucky. I do need to pick up some JIS bits for my Milwaukee impact tool.
N8KFE
Pit Crew

For stuck JIS screws try a Vessel Megadora 980 Impacta P2x100 #2 Cross Point Impact Screwdriver.
Best thing since sliced bread. Fits places a large impact driver won't. Just set it in the screw and whack it. The screw will loosen up. Of course a day or two of your favorite penetrating oil doesn't hurt.
Kyle
Moderator

I love my pair of Vessel Impacta screwdrivers. However, they are a blend of JIS and Phillips--a compromise that is marketed to work well in both. You and I both know that a tool designed to do it all, rarely does it all well. I grab them for things I know aren't truly stuck in place, but tend to lean on my true JIS bits for the heavy lifting. 

Studenorton
Instructor

Electric-start Commandos should have had one in the issued toolkit. The lovely single-bolt Norton primary cover, only English cover that did not leak, gave way to thirteen filistered "cheese head" screws. We simply presumed the name came from the material. After the first removal, at least half would be permanently "disfigured" (in the shop, there were several ruder terms for this condition). Impact driver was time-consuming, but got them right every time.
mkvi30
Pit Crew

You identified how to tell a Phillips from a JIS screw, but how do you tell the drivers apart?
Kyle
Moderator

that one's easy, they are all marked! All the replaceable screwdriver bits I have ever purchased are stamped from the factory, and most all of my screwdrivers are labeled on the shaft. Also, if it's cross point and not labeled, it quite safe to assume it is a Phillips since that is the most popular. 

highmiles
Pit Crew

Almost got in trouble rebuilding a set of brake calipers off a 1974 BMW 2002 tii, sure looked like torx... are in fact Ribe.
Kyle
Moderator

Interesting, the Ribe is a new one for me!

TrustyRusty
Intermediate Driver

Early 911s used a 12-point "star drive" on their CV joints.
VADanno
Pit Crew

I have one of those tools in my box from my first pro job as a mechanic. I used it regularly on my '73 911. Since that car was sold to a collector in Florida, the tool sits in the unused 911 section of my toolbox.
jello67
Intermediate Driver

I always heard of these as a 'bristol bolt,' but that's aparently not the official name. They are officially known as XZN head bolts. The thing you learn working with them is that they are a 12-point triple square - NOT a 12 point double hexagon. You might be able to use an allen wrench and hammer it in, but sooner or later you will strip it doing that.
PRScott
Detailer

The Robertson screw has always been the gold standard. Everything else is just an inferior substitute. The best thing you can say about the phillips screw is that it makes a good centre for the drill required to remove it once the head strips !
hearsedriver
Intermediate Driver

amen to the Robertson! invented by a Canadian in 1908, and superior to the p o s Phillips. i hate those things. when i do need to remove one i always either lean full body weight against the screwdriver or use an impact driver. it is unfortunate our good neighbours to the south have only recently learned of them, but unfortunately refer to them as "square drive" instead of the proper name Robertson. it is only a Robertson or a torx screw that will stay on a driver held horizontally or even vertically.
ScottC
Intermediate Driver

Well, that explains a lot. Where were you 45 years ago with this information?