Ratchet Basics

Ratchet Basics

The tool that pivots its head back and forth to turn a fastener is indispensable to most vehicle repair procedures.

In the U.S. we call them wrenches – in England they’re spanners. Yet regardless of their name, the tool that uses a closed socket format, rather than a typical open head to turn a nut or bolt is indispensable to most vehicle repair procedures.

A ratchet incorporates a reversible ratcheting mechanism which allows the user to pivot the tool back and forth to turn its socket instead of removing and repositioning a wrench to do so.

Although there’s evidence of earlier claims, the invention of the ratchet is credited to J.J. Richardson in 1863. It was one of the most significant tool advancements of all time with the speed and efficiency it added to a mechanics job.

Other common methods of driving sockets include pneumatic impact wrenches, hydraulic torque wrenches, torque multipliers and breaker bars.

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