How To Install And Remove A Torx Screw

Many of us are guilty of thinking that all screws are the same, but the truth is, there is an extensive range of screws with different defining features, and it's essential to understand them all.

Torx screws are a type of screw with different characteristics that separate them from their counterparts. To help you understand what Torx screws are and how to use them, we've compiled this complete guide.

In this blog, we'll discuss the definition of Torx screws and explain where we use them. We'll also explain the difference between a Torx screw head and a star screw head before explaining how to install and remove these types of screws.

What are Torx screws?

Before we explain the specifics of this screw head, it's essential to explain what a Torx screw is. A Torx screw such as a Torx tap and Torx paralobe are six-lobed countersunk and button-head self-tapping screws that have a six-point star shape on the head. While many of us simply refer to this as a star head, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) refers to this as a hexalobular shape.

Both countersunk and button-head screw types require special tools such as Torx bits or a driver with the same shape as the head, as standard Phillips screwdrivers won't work with this head shape.

Torx screws originated in the 1960s and were designed by Camcar Textron. They were introduced as an improvement to the traditional screw head as they handle high torque and are much more resistant to wear and tear and stripping than other screw types. These screws were designed to prevent cam-out more than traditional fastenings. This is especially useful when trying to remove a Torx fastening, as other screw types tend to lose their shape after installation.

Due to their ability to handle high torque, we tend to see Torx fastening used in the consumer electronics industries in products such as computer systems. Alternatively, we can commonly find Torx fixings in the automotive or construction industry as their strength and tamper resistance increase their lifespan significantly.

There are a few Torx screws you can commonly find in different sizes for different applications. Here's a quick guide to these types:

  • External Torx: External Torx screws can be used as machine screw alternatives and are labelled with the letter E.
  • Internal Torx: Internal Torx screws are labelled with the letter T.
  • Security Torx: The Security Torx is also known as the Torx tr, tamper-proof Torx, pin in Torx, or tamper-resistant Torx. This screw type has an extra security pin in the centre of the screw head.
  • Torx plus: The Torx Plus is a relatively new range that CamCar brought out to offer greater security and torque transfer. The screw can offer more security due to its five-lobe recess with a security pin in the centre.

Where do you use Torx screws?

As mentioned, we can use Torx fasteners that require tamper-resistant screws or areas of higher torque (force). These are typically applications that experience high amounts of movement and exceed heat or pressure from vibration.

You can use a Torx fastener for vehicles, bicycle repairs, computer systems, and other electronics. You can rely on the Torx head to be tightened more securely than traditional flat-head or cross-head screws due to their components, such as the star-shaped head.

What is the difference between a Torx screw and a star screw?

Despite the difference in name, Torx and star screws refer to the same thing. Torx is simply the trademark that the screw is registered. That means that the two can be used interchangeably, with the main difference being the price and patent associated with the CamCar brand.

CamCar Textron's patent protection meant that only licensed developers could create a Trox screw; however, this patent expired a while ago, so many other brands can develop a star shape head. There's no identifiable difference between the branded screw and any other available six-pointed screw on the market, so you can buy with confidence.

How to install a Torx screw

Installing a Torx fastener isn't dissimilar to installing a standard screw with a Phillips screwdriver; it's just a case of having the correct equipment. When installing a Torx fastener, you'll need a Torx drive.

A Torx drive is the drill shape that fits the five or six points star shape. A standard Phillips driver will not be suitable for this. You can either use a magnetic handriver with a five or six-headed bit or a detachable drill bit for your electric drill.

The fastener is self-tapping, so you won't need to drill a pilot hole into your material. You also won't need additional nuts or washers, as the sharp ridges on Torx fixing grips onto the material. For example, if you're drilling into a solid post, you won't need to secure a nut on the other side.

How to remove a Torx screw

Removing a Torx screw is quite simple if you have the correct handrill or drill bit and the face of the screw isn't stripped. If you don't have the correct drill bit, you can still remove the star-shaped screw.

Using a flat-blade driver, you can place the head in-between two opposing edges and turn as normal. If you require more force or need more bite due to a stripped face, you can use an Allen key and turn this counter-clockwise.

Final thoughts

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Frequently asked questions

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions associated with installing and removing Torx screws:

Why are Torx screws better?

Torx is a high-quality type of screw that provides higher torque and tamper resistance. They're very versatile and useful for several industries, including the construction, automotive, and consumer electronics industries. These screws are also preventative against cam out, decreasing the likelihood of the driver slipping out of the screw while in use.

Are Torx and star screws the same?

Yes! Torx and star screws are the same. Torx simply refers to the trademark owned and developed by CamCar. Both screws have the same tamper-resistant and torque-resistant advantage while providing a secure hold at all times.

How do you remove a Torx screw without a Torx screwdriver?

While it's not advisable to use anything other than a Torx driver to remove a Torx screw, you can sometimes use a standard flat-tip screwdriver if you cannot find a suitable driver.

To remove a security Torx socket screw, you can use a flathead driver in one of the grooves of the screw. Ensure you're inserting the driver between two opposite edges of the head. You should then turn the driver counterclockwise.