How to Get the Head Off a Socket Wrench

by Hans Fredrick

Over time, many things happen that cause old tools to work not quite as well as they once did. In the case of socket wrenches, this can easily happen. Frequently, something will happen to a wrench or socket that makes the handle and the socket stick together. This can be caused by bent or dented tools, temperature expansion or by grease, dirt or other substances getting into the tool. To keep your tools useful even as they age, you may need to know how to get a stuck socket and handle apart.

1

Apply some WD-40 or other lubricant to the joint where the socket connects to the wrench.

2

Wrap a rag around the head and the shaft of the wrench so that you can get a good grip on both parts of the tool without your hand slipping. Pull the two pieces apart if you can.

3

Clamp the handle of the socket wrench carefully in a vise. Wrap the tool with several wraps with a rag if you're worried about scoring the tool in the jaws of the vise.

4

Tighten a crescent wrench or monkey wrench around the socket or use a pair of pliers to get a strong grip on it. Again, wrap it in fabric if you're worried about biting into the tool. Pull as hard as you can until you separate the tools.

5

Insert a thin-bladed flat head screwdriver in between the socket and the wrench and try to pry it off if nothing else has worked.

Tips

  • check If the wrench still won't release the socket, you might want to try actually soaking the tool in some penetrating oil for a few minutes. This helps the oil reach places it doesn't when you just try to drop some on.
  • check Maintain your tools regularly by cleaning and oiling them, and problems with stuck sockets will be less likely to occur. After soaking the tool in penetrating oil, scrub any rust or debris away with a wire brush to make sure the tool is clean.

Items you will need

About the Author

Hans Fredrick has been busy in the online writing world since 2005. He has written on diverse topics ranging from career advice for actors to tips for motorcycle maintenance. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan.

Photo Credits

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