How to Use a Socket Wrench?

Working with nuts and bolts is part of most DIY jobs. Whether it is working as a mechanic or doing woodwork, you will be working with nuts and bolts. These are used in most things these days. So you need the right tools to work with them whenever possible. Usually, people use a wrench for the job. But most people know that a socket wrench is the best tool for this purpose. That is why it is part of every mechanic’s arsenal. It is the handiest tool when it comes to loosening nuts and bolts.

When you are doing DIY projects, having all the tools is very important. But most importantly, you need to have the knowledge of how to use tools too. Without the proper knowledge, you won’t be able to finish your DIY projects properly. You will have to make simple things much more difficult and work around them if you don’t know how to use a certain tool. If you have knowledge of all the tools, you can get the right tool for the right job and save your time.

A great example of that is if you know how to use a miter saw, making miter cuts is as easy as one two three. However, if you didn’t know how to do this, you would have to work with a handsaw. It would take way more time than using a miter saw and also use up your energy. In the same sense, if you knew how to use a socket wrench, loosening or tightening nuts and bolts becomes easy. If you don’t,  you have to waste strength with a normal wrench. Which in all honesty is very difficult to use compared to a socket wrench.

Why Is a Socket Wrench Such an Important Tool?

A socket wrench is very useful in a garage because it can cut down energy and time waste by almost half. You can open nuts and bolts in an instant. The same goes for tightening them. Not only that, you are able to work around in short spaces which is not possible for a regular wrench.

Save Time and Energy

Now when you are tightening a bolt or nut, you usually put a wrench around it. Then you have to turn it in a direction then pull the wrench out and then place it in the angle easy to turn it in and repeat. This can take a lot of time and strength depending on where you are working. If the nut and bolt are in a narrow area, this just makes it all the more worst. But with a socket wrench, you just put it over the bolt and nut and just turn it and not pull it off. You just turn it back up and keep turning it back down or vice versa.

Basically, a socket wrench allows you to keep moving the nut and bolt without having to pull the wrench off of it. This can cut down your energy and time waste by almost half. Because with a regular wrench you would be wasting both of these to reposition the wrench. You do this again and again till the bolt or nut loosens which is an awfully difficult task.

Working in Tight Spaces

When working in tight spaces, movement is very constricted. This is where a socket wrench is most useful. Because you don’t have to reposition your wrench, you can work in tight spaces easily. There are even extenders that allow you to tighten bolts and nuts or loosen them in hard-to-reach places. A car is one such place where you might not have a lot of working space. But with an extender and a socket wrench, you can work with nuts and bolts without worries.

How to Use a Socket Wrench

Using a socket wrench is very easy. It consists of two components, a socket, an adapter, and a wrench. You don’t need to know a lot to use a socket wrench in all honesty. But in this guide, we will tell you how to use a socket wrench in detailed steps.

Step 1 – Choosing the Right Socket

First of all, a socket wrench comes with many sockets. These sockets have measurements written on them so they are all labeled. If you are not sure what size of the socket will fit on the nut, you can try them on it. Once you are sure that you have the right socket, you can put the others aside. You should always ensure that the socket fits the bolt or nut properly. If the socket is too big you can actually destroy the grip on it. If you end up doing so, no matter what you do, you won’t be able to pull the nut apart with a wrench again.

Step 2 – Attaching the Socket to the Adapter

The next step is to attach the socket to the adapter of the wrench. This is fairly easy as you just slide the socket onto the adapter and it fits right away. The adapter or the square hole slides right behind the socket and it fits in without twisting or turning.

Step 3 – Setting the Wrench to Loosening or Tightening

There are two settings in a socket wrench that you can use. One is for tightening and the other is for loosening. The setting can be adjusted behind the adapter or the square head. There will be a knob that you can turn in the direction of loosening or tightening. Once you are done with it, the socket will only turn in the direction you have set it on.

For instance, if you have set the direction of the wrench to that where it tightens, it will only let the socket turn in the direction where the bolt or nut tightens. When you turn the other way, only the wrench turns. The socket stays in place.

Step 4 – Placing the Socket on the Nut or Bolt

This one is as easy as it seems. You just place the socket on the bolt or nut. Once you do, just adjust the setting behind the square head or adapter. You don’t need to take the wrench off the nut or bolt until it is tightened or loosened up all the way. You don’t need to reposition the whole wrench. Just reposition the handle in a way it is more convenient for you.


And with that, you know how to use a socket wrench. Now there are extenders that allow you to reach narrow spaces where your hand cannot reach. For those spaces these extenders are perfect. The extenders are attached to the square head and the socket is then attached at the end of the extender. Just turn the wrench and hold the extender in a steady position. You can remove nuts and bolts in faraway places that are hard to reach without problems. But if you have read this article you can pretty much figure out how to use an extender with a socket wrench too.

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