Swivel Socket Tips
Swivel sockets are a type of socket wrench accessory where the socket head is mounted on a universal joint that allows the socket to be positioned at odd angles. As such, they can be used where a regular socket wrench might not fit or allow for enough movement to turn the fastener. Using swivel sockets is not as simple as using a regular socket wrench, because there is a certain art to the use of swivel sockets that must be followed to avoid rounding of fasteners, loss of torque when tightening the fasteners, and other problems.
Increase the Torque
One tip for using swivel sockets is that you may need to increase the torque when using a swivel socket and a torque wrench to try to tighten a torque sensitive fastener. Because torque wrenches are measured by direct turning force, you may need to increase the torque wrench setting by 10 to 15 percent when tightening a fastener with a swivel socket. This may be required to ensure that the proper amount of torque is being placed on the fastener. The angles and flexibility of the swivel socket can make torquing fasteners difficult, so it is best to try to use straight sockets when using a torque wrench if possible.
Rounding of Fasteners
Because swivel sockets can be turned from a number of different angles, unlike traditional sockets, there is a better chance of slipping off of the fastener while tightening it than exists with traditional sockets. Making sure that you are turning the socket with it tightly gripping the head of the fastener, and making sure that you do not allow it to twist off of the fastener while turning, is key to properly using swivel sockets.
Practice Your Angles
The benefit of swivel sockets is that you can use them to reach around into areas where a wrench would not often fit, or might not be able to be turned. Learning how the swivel socket performs is a good way to make sure that the swivel socket is the best way to perform the task you want to perform. The universal joint on a swivel socket will allow almost any type of angle or rotation, so practicing the best possible angle of approach that allows you the maximum swing of the wrench is key to making sure that you are using your swivel sockets safely and effectively.