It’s almost impossible to damage a motherboard by overtightening the screws that hold it in place.
The joints of modern PCBs are designed with steel reinforcement, and the holes are not drilled all the way through. In other words, when you try to overtighten a screw, you’ll only succeed in stripping off some of the threads.
How To Check for Motherboard Damage
A damaged motherboard isn’t as simple to diagnose as other parts of a computer. Generally speaking, it’s apparent when your computer has a hardware error, like not booting up. But you can’t narrow it down to the motherboard immediately. That said, there are a series of steps you can take to figure out motherboard damage.
- Switch on the PSU and check for a green light on the motherboard. If there is no green light, the problem is with either the power supply or the motherboard. Check with a different PSU, and if the motherboard still doesn’t light up, it’s probably damaged.
- If the green light is coming on, check the bare basics of your PC components, i.e., the CPU and RAM. Connect only these two components and see if the motherboard is booting into the BIOS or UEFI.
- If it is still not booting, check the CMOS battery on your motherboard. If your computer is more than a few years old, chances are the battery may need to be replaced.
You won’t even crack or warp the board itself unless you apply an enormous amount of force. I’ve never seen anyone strip off any of the actual copper traces from any motherboard—even after trying very hard to do so.
This is because most cases have a thin metal sheet (aluminum or tin) between Motherboard and Case. This prevents pressure from damaging boards inside your case as they are squeezed together.
In fact, you’ll probably do more damage to the case—and perhaps even crack it in half—than you will damage to the motherboard by overtightening. (Cases are much thinner and weaker than motherboards).