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Thread: Basic tool question..Difference between 6 point and 12 point sockets?

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    Basic tool question..Difference between 6 point and 12 point sockets?

    What is the difference and when is one used over the other? Which design is better and when buying sockets, which one should I get? Thanks!!

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    Registered User autobody tech's Avatar
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    if your referring to light duty sockets the answer is grip. The 12 point can strip the bolt or nut easier due to surface contact inside the chamber. Less points more contact ,but there is more than one answer depending on the job your tackeling. If your using a breaker bar that does not ratchet,you would use a 12 point to save room in areas with limited space to swing the bar left and right for a new bite on the bolt.If your removing a rusty old bolt your going to need a 6 point for grip.Since you need the right tools for any job,you should evaluate your uses for the tools.Or buy both!
    95 NSX-T GRN/TAN

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    Charter Patron coolnsx's Avatar
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    My general rule of thumb is 6 point for impact wrench and breaker bar with cheater, all else 12 point
    1997 NSX-T
    1994 Legend LS Coupe
    1983 El Camino-Daily Driver
    1972 VW Bug

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    Thanks for the responses!! It makes sense now about the contact points. So for general mechanic work (installing exhaust systems, coil over, etc.) and using hand tools, (no impacts) would you guys suggest 6 point? Do I have it right when I am say that 6 point is always better except in a situation where you are limited on space to get the next "grap" on the bolt?

    I am starting my collection of Snap-on tools and trying to decide what tools to get.

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    At sizes above 10mm, I don't think a 12-point socket is more likely to damage a nut than a 6-point. Because of the slightly loose fit that any socket has on a nut by design, 6- and 12-pointers end up contacting the nut pretty much the same way.

    I wouldn't be surprised if impact sockets are 6-point not so much for the sake of being kinder to the nut, but rather to make the socket itself stronger.

    And to state the obvious: a 6-point socket won't cut it for square nuts or 12-point nuts (which I've encountered exactly once in my travels--connecting rod cap nuts in a 1960s GM V8).

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    Suspended Yellow Rose's Avatar
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    Incorrect

    My general rule of thumb is 6 point for impact wrench and breaker bar with cheater, all else 12 point

    six-point sockets are for six-sided cap screws

    twelve-point sockets are for twelve-sided cap screws

    regardless if using impact / cheater / breaker

    truth be known, twelves are the default fastener in the aerospace industry, and they often far exceed our bolt torques

    did you know that the wings of the Dassault Falcon 20 business jet is secured by only seven bolts per side

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    Charter Champion Larry Bastanza's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Tom239
    At sizes above 10mm, I don't think a 12-point socket is more likely to damage a nut than a 6-point. Because of the slightly loose fit that any socket has on a nut by design, 6- and 12-pointers end up contacting the nut pretty much the same way.

    I wouldn't be surprised if impact sockets are 6-point not so much for the sake of being kinder to the nut, but rather to make the socket itself stronger.

    And to state the obvious: a 6-point socket won't cut it for square nuts or 12-point nuts (which I've encountered exactly once in my travels--connecting rod cap nuts in a 1960s GM V8).
    Dude,

    Sorry, but I cannot agree with this at all:

    1. 12 point socket on a 14mm exhaust nut (common for NSX) = DISASTER ---6 POINT ONLY (if not, get the torch out)

    2. Impact sockets are 6 sided due to dynamic torque levels being high, to avoid stripping of nuts, as well as strength of the tool.

    3. Obviously you have not done a clutch on an NSX, 12 point bolts (9 of them)

    My rule is 6 point, unless you MUST use a 12.

    Hey Andy,

    One of my customers is Dassault Falcon Jet. I will have to bust them about that "fastener count"

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    I stand corrected.

    I have never had trouble using a 12-point wrench on a hex nut or bolt, but I can see how that's because I haven't worked on enough gnarly bolts (as one encounters in, say, exhaust work).

    Larry, thanks for the information.

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