How to use a ratchet wrench


There are several types of wrenches used for various functions. A ratchet wrench is a tool used in fastening and loosening of bolts and nuts. The ratchet wrench comprises of two main parts, the handle and the socket. The wrench is the handle which turns to loosen or tighten the fastener. The driver is a square-shaped projection located at the end of the handle. This part accommodates the socket.

Ratchet Wrench operation

Sockets are metallic cylinders which you can use to attach to the ratchet wrench. These sockets match various nuts and bolts in sizes. The ratchet wrench has a design that fastens a nut when moved in a particular direction. It loosens the nut when running in the opposite direction. The operation is simple: you first place the socket on the fastener head after attaching it to the ratchet wrench. Then rotate the fastener in the direction of the swing when you move the handle.

This operation is different from the ordinary wrench which after making the full swing, you would have to remove it, place it back again and make another swing. With the ratchet wrench, you swing to the starting point without having to remove the wrench.

This feature enables you to work much conveniently, faster and efficiently since you have an easier time working the bolts and nuts in really tight or cramped spaces.

How to use a ratchet wrench

Step 1 – Select the right socket size for the fastener. Do this by matching the sizes as varying and wrong sizes may damage the bolt and the socket. The sizes may be ¼ inch, 3/8 inch or 1 inch.

Step 2 – Attach the socket to the ratchet wrench while ensuring that the socket sizes are the same as the size of the drive square on the ratchet. This step is achievable by placing the ratchet’s square end into the square hole of the socket.

Step 3 – Check the direction you are supposed to turn the ratchet wrench to either fasten or loosen it. Either to the right to secure the fastener or to the left to loosen it.

Step 4 – Attach the socket to the fastener head or nut by slightly turning it to be firmly attached as it should.

Step 5 – Turn the fastener in the direction you need it to turn to by rotating the handle of the ratchet. Push the handle in the required side for the bolt to turn. The space that you have to do this work will significantly determine how the length of the movements you are going to make. Continue turning rotating the ratchet until the fastener or nut is either tightened or removed.

Step 6 – Finally, separate the socket from the ratchet either by pulling it off from the ratchet or in more sophisticated racket wrenches, remove the socket form the handle by pressing a button on the back of the ratchet head to retract a ball bearing lock.


The ratchet is one of the essential components in your tool-set. When working in very many places, you will occasionally find a nut or bolt that needs to be tightened or loosened. You can always effectively and conveniently use the ratchet wrench in these operations.

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