You can probably tell from the name, but a socket is a tool that’s used to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts. They are usually made of steel, which is a metal that is resistant to corrosion, rust and other forms of wear-and-tear.
Sockets vary in size depending on what types of nuts and bolts need to be tightened or loosened. Over time, it’s normal for sockets to become corroded and dirty from years of use. When this happens, it’s important to clean them so they continue working properly.
Universal sockets are universal for a reason: they fit on most cars. The size of these sockets is variable, as they come in multiple different types. They are also made of varying materials and have been used on most cars since their invention in the 1970s. Universal sockets are great if you don’t have a lot of space or you want to be able to work on different types of cars later down the line, but there are some downsides to using them, especially if you’re working with the wrong ones.
Ratchets and Sockets
A ratchet is a wrench that’s used for turning or tightening nuts, bolts and screws. It allows you to apply torque—or rotational force—to an object by creating continuous movement in one direction, while preventing the backward movement of the wrench. This means you don’t have to repeatedly remove and replace the ratchet on a nut or bolt after every turn.
Ratchets are highly useful tools that come in all kinds of sizes, types and lengths. And if there’s anything that’s absolutely essential when using ratchets, it’s sockets. Sockets are necessary because they connect themselves to nuts and bolts—and then allow you to use your ratchet on them without any issues.
There are many different types of sockets available these days, including deep-well sockets, 7/16-inch hex bit sockets, impact sockets and more. They also come in different sizes (the most common size being 3/8 inch) as well as lengths (including short or standard). You can opt for whichever type of socket suits your specific needs best!
You’re not likely to find a single wheel socket that works well in every situation. That’s not just how car maintenance tools are made—it’s also a safety precaution, especially if you’re working with very large or heavy wheels. A socket that’s too small for the lug nut can easily slip off, while one that is too big will be impossible to use and can damage the lug nut permanently.
While car wheel sockets are not universal, they do come in standard sizes. To avoid potential damage to your vehicle and yourself, always check your manual before buying or using any new tool on your car. If you don’t have access to a manual, always try the tool out on one of the lug nuts first before taking it for a spin on all four tires.
Impact sockets are typically made of chrome molybdenum steel, which is heat-treated for strength. They’re also thicker than standard socket sets and designed to absorb the higher impact of the impact wrench. However, you should never use a standard socket in an impact wrench or vice versa because this will cause damage to the tool, especially if it’s a cordless model.
Most mechanics prefer 3/8″ drive sockets for passenger cars with lug nuts between 13mm and 19mm. 1/4″ drive sockets are usually reserved for smaller tasks such as brake calipers and suspension components, while most small trucks and SUVs require 1/2″ drive sockets from 21mm all the way up to 33mm. Bigger vehicles like light-duty trucks and some SUVs can have lug nuts as large as 36mm (1 7/16 inches), so you’ll need a large enough socket that can fit over your lug nut without touching the rim of your wheel.
How Many Do You Need?
So, you’re shopping for a socket wrench set. There are so many different kinds of sockets (and socket sets), it can be difficult to figure out which one you need. To help you out, we’ll explain the different types of sockets and what differentiates them.
In general, sockets come in both inch and metric sizes. Standard metric sizes come in 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 10mm, 11mm, 12mm, 13mm and 14mm. Standard inch sizes include 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch drives but can range from 1/4-inch to 3/4-inch. Your car’s manual should tell you which kind of socket your car uses if you’re not sure which size is right for your lug nuts or wheel bolts.
What Size Are Car Wheel Sockets?
There are three main components that make up a socket. The first is the round part that fits over the bolt or nut. This is called the drive size, and it has two sets of numbers associated with it: metric, which is measured in millimeters, and standard, which is measured in inches. The drive size is usually attached to a square-shaped piece of metal with a hole in its middle (into which the ratchet will fit). Some sockets are designed to be universal—that is, they can fit several different size bolts or nuts. Other sockets are designed for specific sizes of bolts and nuts, typically either metric or standard.
The second component of a socket is the ratchet handle that’s used to rotate the socket. Ratchets come in several different sizes for different sockets and are often referred to by their length (a 6-inch ratchet will have an overall length of 6 inches). You can buy long extension bars if you need more room to operate your socket than what’s provided by your ratchet handle.
The third component is one that comes included with some car wheel sockets (but not all): an adapter that allows you to use your socket on both metric bolts/nuts and standard bolts/nuts. This adapter fits into one end of your socket so that you don’t need two separate tools in order to complete any job involving both types of fasteners (just keep in mind that these adapters aren’t meant for heavy-duty applications).