Are 12-point sockets as good as six-point sockets? Find out the answer—and why—before you buy that expensive set of socket wrenches at the auto supply store.
By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine:June 2007
Six-point sockets are better for heavy work than 12-point sockets, which can slip and round corners.
A 12-point socket is fine for
most lightweight repairs, but
heavy wrenching calls for a six-point
socket. A six-point socket is much less
likely to slip off a stubborn fastener or
round over the corners. Here's why: (1) Six-point sockets have thicker
walls, so they're less likely to flex.
six-point socket is designed to contact
the head of a fastener well away from
the corners so contact is made on the
thickest part of the socket and the flattest
part of the fastener. This dramatically
reduces the likelihood of slippage
and rounding over the corners. And
(3), the edges of a socket are angled
back a few degrees to allow the socket
to slide easily over a fastener. The angle
is less on a six-point socket than on its
12-point counterpart, again providing
more contact area inside the socket.
One last point. Most high-quality
sockets are chrome plated to prevent
rusting and make cleanup easy. However,
after years of use, the chrome finish
can flake off. Don't use a socket if
the chrome is peeling. The chrome
will be as sharp as a razor blade. Any
reputable tool company will replace a
tool that has peeling chrome.
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.
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