Automotive Socket Sets
Socket sets are useful tools for mechanics of any skill level. The types of sets, numbers of sockets included, and the measurements of the sockets can vary greatly. Knowing the kinds of repairs and fixes that certain socket sets are suited for can help narrow down your choices.What are socket sets used for?
A socket set includes a round open tool that attaches to a ratchet or wrench to remove, tighten, and secure nuts and bolts. Nuts and bolts hold tires, posts, planes, and much more together. From a kitchen table to an 18-wheeler, sockets help connect almost everything around you. Both casual fixer-uppers and experienced mechanics should have a socket set suited to their needs.What are the differences in socket sets?
There are two main differences among socket sets. The first is the number of sockets you get within the set. The second is the type of measurement each socket set uses. Measurements are divided into either imperial measurements, which use inches, or metric measurements, which use millimeters. You'll usually find sets with imperial measurements, also known as SAE. This is because most socket sets are manufactured in the United States. Socket sets manufactured elsewhere tend to use the metric system. Which kind you'll need depends largely on the items you'll most frequently be using them on. For example, if you plan to work on a foreign car, you'll likely need a metric set. You can also find sets that include both SAE and metric sockets.How do you choose a socket set?
Depending on your planned usage, your options range from a small socket set of 9 or 12 sockets all the way up to a large set of 150 pieces, including driving tools and impact sockets. A larger set is more likely to meet your needs. The following are a few more things to consider before selecting a new socket set.
- Reverse mechanism: This allows for easier tightening or release of nuts and bolts.
- Smooth finish: A smooth finish to the metal of the socket set allows for easier tool handling.
- Quick-release button: Look for a quick-release button on your set if you'll need to work quickly. It releases the socket without having to pull it off.
Note that it's rare for a socket set to wear out. If socket sets aren't cleaned on a regular basis or stored in a protective case, it is possible that dirt and oil can impact their efficiency.