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Tech Article

Can a six-point socket apply more torque?

Last Updated: 03/29/2016
Parts Group: Starter
We needed to apply lots of torque while removing the top starter bolt from our 1991 Volvo 240 with the B230 engine: Starter Removal.

The socket slipped because we were applyng the force at a slight angle, instead of dead-on straight. We were using a 12-point socket, and we had read that a six-point socket would be less likely to slip, but whoever said so hadn't substantiated their opinion, and we couldn't figure out why that'd be better.

Finally, we found a good article on the http://www.familyhandyman.com/ website, in which the author reasons the issue out well. The paragraph below is a direct quote.

"(1) Six-point sockets have thicker walls, so they're less likely to flex. (2) A six-point socket is designed to contact the head of a fastener well away from the corners so contact is made on the thickest part of the socket and the flattest part of the fastener. This dramatically reduces the likelihood of slippage and rounding over the corners. And (3), the edges of a socket are angled back a few degrees to allow the socket to slide easily over a fastener. The angle is less on a six-point socket than on its 12-point counterpart, again providing more contact area inside the socket."
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