8 Mechanic’s Tool Tips for DIYers
It’s not only about having the right tools. These tool tips can show you when, where and how to use them. Sometimes that means using them for tasks they weren’t designed for. Check out this collection of mechanics’ tool tips—you’re bound to find a couple to help you.
Proper way to torque lug nuts
Adjust the torque on your wrench
Listen to your vehicle
Save your back with a 20-in. extension bar
Great Way to Store Used Oil
Six-point vs. 12-point sockets Q and A
A: 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. (2) A 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 on a six-point socket is less 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. How-ever, 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.
Free Up a Stuck Trailer Hitch
Spray the opening to the hitch receiver. This newest style of penetrating fluid chills the metal, causing it to contract to help break the rust seal. Then use an air chisel fitted with a hammer bit to knock everything loose. The air hammer will break up the rust, spread the penetrant and free up the ball mount. Once it’s free, just tap out the rusted ball mount with a regular hammer. If you plan to reuse the rusty mount, coat it with a rust converter or waterproof marine grease. Check out these great trailer upgrades!