Understanding Different Types of Socket Sets

Socket Set Advice

Understanding Different Types of Socket Sets

Learning how to repair your own car is not just cost-effective but also fulfilling. Nothing beats the pleasure of saving loads of money and gaining new knowledge.

However, before you reap all the benefits of it, you have to know what the uses arefor each tool you have. This article starts with a socket set comparison, showing you the difference between two socket sets at a time.

This way you will be able to choose which socket sets you need to buy or use in the future automotive projects you’ll be working on.

SAE Sockets vs. Metric Sockets

Knowing the difference between the two is like knowing the difference between yards and meters. The two systems are both used for socket sets and they are almost the same.

Although you will find some SAE that is nearly the same size with Metric, it is still necessary to know how different they are. This prevents you from mistaking one for the other.

SAE or the Society of Automotive Engineers uses inches and fractions of inches in measuring sockets. They are the standard specification for cars and trucks made in the US through the 1970s.

On the other hand, Metric is the fastener measurement primarily used throughout the world. You will find that most imported cars have metric bolts.

The reason for this is that they are more precise than fractions of an inch because they are based on millimeters.

Professional mechanics would prefer to have both SAE and Metric socket sets because these standards are widely used for bolt fasteners distributed throughout the world. Good thing, there are socket sets that include both SAE and Metric socket that you can buy on the market.

6-Point Sockets vs. 12-Point Sockets

The obvious difference between these socket types is the number of points. Though many people use 6-point sockets, both types arguably have their respective benefits.

The 6-point sockets can fit snugly onto the bolt. And since most bolts use a hexagonal shape, they leave no room for error.

In other words, they offer greater torque when used to a particular size of bolt. Aside from this, the 6-point socket also protects the fasteners from wearing or rounding the bolt’s head.

12-point sockets (or double-hex sockets), on the other hand, are easier to fit onto a bolt because there is more wiggle room.

You can fit it in whatever position. This means that you may be able to use a 12-point socket which is not necessarily the exact right size for the bolt. However, if you do this, the risk of rounding the bolt is high.

Regular Sockets vs. Impact Sockets

Another common socket set comparison is regular sockets vs. impact sockets. Contrary to popular belief, impact sockets are not harder than regular sockets.

They are, in fact, softer but tougher than the regular sockets. Both of these types are something that you will need for different applications.

The regular sockets are more diverse in the sense that you can use them for small and large automotive projects. Aside from this, you can also add extensions or universal joints to reach spots with limited space.

The impact sockets are made to withstand high pressure and strong vibration coming from an impact wrench.

That is why they are noticeably a different color (black), with industrial surface finish rather than polished metal. They also have thicker walls to manage the power of the impact wrench and are made to be non-corrosive.

Shallow Sockets vs. Deep Sockets

Sockets can still be classified into yet another distinction: shallow and deep. Most mechanics will need only a shallow socket set but it still good to know when you have to use deep sockets. Shallow sockets are sockets useful for most automotive projects whether or not space is limited.

It is basically any type of socket for general use that you will see on the market today. And since they are a regular in the mechanic’s toolbox, they are inexpensive.

Now, deep sockets are created for specialized work that requires a higher level of automotive maintenance and repair skills. Such work could be replacing the exhaust, loosening clamp bolts, or using bolted joints.

The length of the bolt will go further in this kind of socket, offering greater torque strength. Because they are tools that mechanics rarely use, they tend to cost more than shallow sockets. So instead of buying a full set, you might want to purchase them individually.

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