How to Fix a Loose Dart Stem

A quick guide on how to fix a loose dart stem. Cheaply and easily.

I just thought I’d create a quick guide on some useful tips on certain issues with darts.

In this guide, I’m going to provide a couple of tips as to how to fix a loose dart stem. Quite a lot of people often ask this question, mentioning that their stems are working loose after regular play. Unfortunately, you’re going to encounter this problem more and more, as your darts age.

You’ll find this mostly occurs when using aluminum dart stems, due to the metal on metal contact. The barrel and shaft will eventually grind away at each other, especially if you’re one to regularly change your shafts, plus there’s nothing for each end to really grip onto.

However, one thing you can use is a little rubber o-ring. Here’s a small pack of them we found on Amazon, they’re tiny little silicon rubber rings.


This can get a little tricky, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

For instance, I wouldn’t recommend trying to apply the ring by forcing the shaft thread through the ring. As it’s like trying to thread a needle and cotton: incredibly frustrating!

Alternatively, there’s easier ways to go about it.

Using an Applicator Tool
Firstly, you could attach the applicator tool to your shaft and roll the o-ring down it onto the thread. Which is quite an easy way.

However, there’s an even easier way; just attach the stem to your barrel, get the rubber o-ring and put it over the end of the stem, be sure to remove your flight before doing so! Then simply roll it down until it gets to where it’s needed. Then simply tighten both ends around the o-ring.

You’ll find that this makes the fitting much tighter now, so shouldn’t come loose.

Tightening Without O-rings
If for whatever reason you don’t have any o-rings, there’s also a cheap alternative method.

You can use a plumber’s tape (PTFE) instead. All you need is a small square to do the trick.

I recommend using scissors to do this, in order to cut it to size. That’s if you want to make sure the tape isn’t visible once the shaft and barrel are screwed back together.

Once it’s cut to size, simply apply the tape to the screw thread of the dart stem, and wrap it around. The good thing about this tape is that it’s very thin, so it’ll mold into the shape of the thread once you screw each end together again. I actually found that this works much better than the o-rings too, providing a tighter fit.

using plastic to fix a loose dart stem

Now, if you haven’t got plumbers tape, an alternative is to use cling film, which I found to be more effective than tape. Alternatively, you can cut out a square of plastic from a plastic bag, like I have here.

It’s a little bit more fiddly to try and get into place, because it’s so thin. With this, you’ll just have to cut a piece to size or cut it roughly to size.

Although as I mentioned, it’s a little more fiddly as it doesn’t stick as the tape does. But do your best to wrap it round the thread, so we did with the tape.

Once you’ve managed to wrap the plastic around the thread, simply screw the barrel onto the end. You’ll likely see some excess hanging over the side, but you can rip that off easily enough.

You’ll find that both the DIY methods are actually more effective than the rubber o-ring was, surprisingly.

So basically all we’re trying to do here is fill in the gap between the barrel and shaft, to prevent that metal on metal contact.

So there you have it, a quick guide on how to fix your loose darts stem.

How did this work for your darts? Or do you have a better alternative? Let us know down in the comments.

Michael Andrew

Michael Andrew

Michael Andrew has been playing Darts for more than 20 years and is passionate about helping others improve their game through his own experiences.