Mechanics tools

Old 01-16-02, 06:34 AM
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Mechanics tools

I'm comparing some tool sets. One of the big differences is the availability of 32d inch socket sizes in 1/4" drive. I don't remember ever having run across this size in most auto work and would probably find a MM size socket to work fine. How important are these size sockets?

Is there any real world difference between 6 pt and 12 pt sockets? Do you really need both?

If you have a good set of combination wrenches do you need to also have a set of box end and open end in the same sizes? Or is this just preference?

If you were putting together a new tool set what would be the size and range of sockets and wrenches you would look for that would cover say 90% of mechanic requirements on modern day (60's to present) truck/cars?
Old 01-16-02, 06:48 AM
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The main difference in a 6 vs. 12 pt socket is where the force is applied to the fastener. A 12 pt put the force on the corners of the fastener. The 6 point tends to place the force on the flats of the fastener. If you are putting together a set, you can't go real wrong with one of the Craftsman sets with 150 or better amount of tools. Make sure to get one of the sets with metric in them
Old 01-16-02, 07:23 AM
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What I've Encountered

I try to do as much work on my own vehicles as I can. I can not recall ever having used a 32nd socket for anything. As far back as my old 1979 Trans Am, a great deal of auto fasteners have been metric (especially on the body and interior). My current daily transportation, a 1995 Grand Prix GTP/SE, is almost all metric.

I like having both 6 point and 12 point sockets but if I were going to get just one, I would try to get the 6 point. They are better when you encounter nuts/bolts that have been slightly rounded over on the corners. Same is true for wrenches. I have both 6 point and 12 point in mine but if I were to get one set I would pick the 6 point. Keep in mind that with wrenches, the 6 point can make it difficult to get the wrench on the nut or bolt in tight places because you have to turn the wrench farther before you can get it to set down on the nut. The 12 point gives you more positions that allow you to set the wrench down on the nut/bolt without having to move it as much. That is why I have both 6 point and 12 point in my wrenches. To handle tight spots and to handle round off nuts/bolts when needed.

The wrench selection is mostly preference. I like the combination wrenches because you get both worlds (open end and box end). I like the fact that they are the same size on both ends, unlike box end only or open end only wrenches. I occasionally like to have duplicates in some sizes for some jobs but a good set of standard (SAE) combination wrenches and a good set of metric comination wrenches do the trick almost always.

I rarely encounter a need for anything above 1" in socket or wrench size or above 18mm in socket or wrench size. You can get a little bigger when you get into working on suspension work but for routine maintenance I never have.

You need a good set of Torx bits and Torx screwdrivers (the little star shaped ones). They are used a LOT on our late model vehicles in the interior and other areas. My front disc brake calipers have big Torx bolts on them. I hade to go to Auto Zone to find one that big. I also like to have Phillips, flat-head and hex bits for my ratchets as well. Having that extra torque to losen screws really helps.

You also need a good quality torque wrench in 1/2" drive. This is critical if you are working on aluminum engine components or doing suspension/brake work.

I hope that this helps. Have fun shopping.
Old 01-16-02, 09:07 AM
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thanks george

I'm still using the first Craftsman tools I got for a teenage birthday some 30+ years ago. I really like the Kobalt tools (a snap-on company) at Lowes. When I did a comparison of open stock tool sizes, points, lengths, etc the Craftsman has far more choices but I'm not sure you really need all those choices. Since I wanted my core set of sockets and wrenches to be from one company (just my preference) I wanted to be sure I wasn't shorting myself for some unknown reason. I'm just looking for advice that tells me a good range of SAE and Metric sockets and wrenches will do almost everything you need - beyond that treat it as a special tool. Kobalt is more 6pt than 12 pt and doesn't offer some of the size/pt/length combinations that Craftsman does, but they do cover the size somewhere in one of the drive ranges. My thinking is I'll be ok with the Kobalt set.
Old 01-16-02, 09:12 AM
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I think so

Kobalt looks to be good tools. I use Craftsman mechanics hand tools myself but I typically look elsewhere for power tools.

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