How to Release a Ratchet

by Sam Jenkins
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Ratchets are used in conjunction with sockets to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts. Ratchets come in four common sizes, 1/4-, 3/8-, 1/2- and 3/4-inch drive. The size refers to the width of the rotating metal square peg at the end of the ratchet that fits into a corresponding square hole in one end of the socket. The square peg on the ratchet has a small, metal ball on one of the side faces of the peg, which fits into a detent in the socket. Sometimes this ball-detent system can become stuck in the out position while a socket is stuck on it, making the socket almost impossible to remove.

Step 1

Look at your ratchet and determine if it is a quick-release model. If your ratchet has a button on the top of the end where the socket attaches, you have a quick-release ratchet. Depress the button to release the socket and pull it off.

Step 2

Pull hard on the socket to remove it, if your ratchet is not the quick-release type.

Step 3

Clamp the socket and wrench in a vise, if your socket is still stuck on -- on either a quick-release or a regular ratchet -- with the socket coming in from the side and the ratchet handle parallel to the floor.

Step 4

Hold the end of the ratchet handle and hit middle of the ratchet handle with a hammer until the ratchet releases.

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