A high-quality assortment of ratchets, sockets and accessories is essential for many different jobs, from the complex to the light maintenance work. They come in several different sizes with wrench heads to match the individual sized bolts. Here a a few of the most important things to consider when buying socket sets:
The different socket sizes are likely to include SAE, metric and Whitworth. The SAE (standard-sized socket) has its measurements in inches, which is practical for those mechanics working on older vehicle models. The metric tools are necessary for working on the latest domestic and import vehicles with the sizes in millimeters.
A garage should be stocked to match the type of vehicles serviced. However, a combination of SAE and metric is the most practical option to make sure a tool is available for the most wide-ranging jobs.
The third type is the Whitworth sockets which are only likely to feature on the British vehicles like a classic Jaguar or MG.
The SAE and metric sockets are available in a range of sizes, including ½-inch, 3/8-inch and ¼-inch. The range of sizes is intended to work with the different ratchets and may even require an extension unit to work. For those that are limited to buying a single drive size, it is best to go with the 3/8-inch drive because this has the ability to work with the most sockets.
The ¼-inch drive sockets are the preferred choice for reaching bolts or nuts in tight spaces, while the large, ½-inch drive socket is practical for the largest fasteners and have the ability to accept more torque. This type of socket may need a breaker bar or ratchet to fully tighten or loosen.
The shape of the sockets can range from a 12-pointed star to a six-pointed hexagon. The six-point socket is the more reliable option because its walls are more able to sit flush to the sides of the nuts. They are more practical for applications that need serious torque or rely on large hardware. But, the 12-point socket is the most convenient to use because it is a lot easier to get in position and line up, and a useful option for lighter work.
The strength and durability of the sockets can vary significantly. One of the most durable choices is alloy steel which is heat forged with several other materials. It is essential to have a reliable material that has the ability to provide long-term service and stands up to the most difficult jobs.