Often times it is not the bell but the hardware associated with it that has deteriorated. A cracked yoke, rusted clapper pin, or rusted bolts that hold the bell to the yoke impair ringing and pose serious safety hazards. Rusty bolts are usually the greatest hazard because the untrained eye does not easily see this condition.
One major place for wear that is especially difficult to assess is the head bolt that supports the weight of the bell. The head bolt passes through the bell head, where it can’t be seen unless the bell is taken down. Should this problem go unnoticed and unresolved, the bell could swing off its yoke while ringing, causing structural damage to the bell and tower, and injury to anyone nearby.