Wondering what tools to use on nuts, bolts, and other common fasteners when doing some auto repair? You have different types of wrench to handle these bits and pieces of hardware. The right type should be used to make sure you'll have a good grip and to be certaub that using the tool won't cause any damage to the bolts, nuts, and other metal pieces. More often than not, it's safer to use wrenches than pliers.
Adding a set of wrenches to your tool box is a must. To help you pick the right tools, here's a quick guide to the different types of wrench.
Socket wrenches can be so flexible that they fit into differently sized nuts and bolts. This is because numerous detachable sockets can be used. The set also comes with extensions for the length and the reach. The handle can also be adjusted for your convenience.
The socket set is available in different measurements or sizes: 1/2-inch, 3/8-inch, and 3/4-inch drive sockets. Half-inch sockets are best for small- and medium-size jobs. They're more flexible than other drive sockets and can usually provide the needed torque without any incident of breaking, unlike the 3/8-inch type. For large fasteners, 3/4-inch drive sockets are best used.
Flat open-end wrenches
Socket wrenches may not reach into tight spaces. In cases like this, you may use flat open-end types for turning the nut or bolt. The U-shape of this type of wrench lets it easily slip onto the fastener.
Combination wrenches are designed with open and enclosed ends. Either end is slid over the top of the fastener. The enclosed end, also known as the box end, has a stronger grip on the head of the bolt. Therefore, this end can provide better torque.
Adjustable wrenches, also called Crescent wrenches, are good alternatives to using properly sized sockets and wrenches. The tool can easily be adjusted through a spiral-shanked worm gear. The gear can be turned to open and close the jaws. This lets you have a good grip of differently sized nuts and bolts. Though very flexible and convenient, this type of wrench also has its limits. Adjustable wrenches can't be used on fasteners that need more torque than usual and should only be used as long as the jaws remain straight and flat.
Allen wrenches are otherwise known as Allen keys. These are used on small- and medium-size fasteners, specifically those with hexagonal-shape recesses.
Pipe wrenches are designed with large adjustable jaws. Their heavily grooved jaws are angled at 90 degrees to the handle. They have adjustable heads that can pivot slightly. When your turn these wrenches, expect the grip to tighten. With their design, these wrenches are used for applying more torque to large nuts and pipes. These are much like adjustable wrenches, only they are used for heavy-duty work.
Be sure to use a properly matched socket and wrench. Tighten bolts and other fasteners according to torque specs and exert just the right amount of force.