A drive socket is an indispensible automotive hand tool when doing DIY projects. Without it, finishing a repair project won't be an easy task. Drive sockets were designed to work hand in hand with a socket wrench. It's attached to the wrench's head to provide the grip needed to loosen a bolt and the wrench receives the force needed to turn the drive socket.
If you're planning to build a good set of tools, you have to look into the different types of drive socket sets and its functions. It will be the most versatile tool in your toolbox, and it will help you in more ways than one.
Invest in High-Quality Forged Steel
A good set of drive sockets will go a long way, and save you money in the long run. Always consider the materials used because low-quality sockets tend to bend, warp, and twist while in use. The ratchet can also break, and it may lead to serious injuries. Here are some of the popular materials and finishes used on drive sockets:
Magnetic -- This drive socket is designed with magnetized materials which attract metal objects. The socket's materials create a magnetic field to assist in holding metal parts in place during the removal and assembly process.
Galvanized -- These steel sockets are coated with oxidation-resistant material and zinc to protect it against corrosion. Drive sockets forged from galvanized steel are designed to resist corrosion.
Heat-Treated -- Heat-treated metals undergo a controlled heating and cooling process which alters its physical and mechanical properties. Drive sockets made from heat-treated metals are stronger and more durable.
Anti-corrosion Finishes -- These metals are treated and coated with zinc, aluminum, or a zinc/aluminum alloy through a thermal or metal-spraying process. Sockets treated with these alloys last longer and are corrosion-resistant.
Drive Bits for Different Fits
Drive sockets are selected based on their intended application and sizes. Listed below are some of the different socket styles and bits to suite your needs:
Shallow Length or Standard Socket -- It's a socket of standard length and this is commonly used to access nuts in narrow spaces.
Insulated -- These rubber-coated sockets are designed to protect you from electrical shock.
Spark Plug Socket -- A special drive socket designed to install and remove a vehicle's spark plug.
Swivel Socket -- This socket has a swivel between the socket opening and drive. It was designed to allow angular movement for the wrench for different reach applications.
Deep Length -- It's a socket used to turn a nut into a bolt when the bolt extends beyond the nut. Deep length sockets are longer than the standard drive socket.
Impact Socket -- It's the drive socket of choice when a higher tightening torque is required. Impact sockets are made from weaker but stronger malleable steel for strength.
Drive Sizes and Points:
With greater torque comes more socket points. A drive socket's twisting action applies most of the torque near the corners of the head. Four, six,eight, and 12-point sockets are basically used to loosen or torque square and hexagon-shaped bolt heads and nuts. Six-point sockets can be used on stronger and thicker sockets, while 12-point sockets are faster and much more versatile. The least popular is the eight-point socket.
Size also matters when choosing the right drive socket for your tool set. Metric sockets are available in 8, 10, and 12-millimeter sizes while SAE inch-based sockets are available in 3/8, ?, and ?-inch sizes.
Drive sockets make repairing our cars much easier. It performs a lot of functions and it gives you a wider range of reach during DIY projects. A set of good quality sockets will save you a lot of time and money.