How to Loosen a Nut With a Socket Wrench


Nuts and bolts that are used to secure objects, such as wood and metal, are tightened and removed with a wrench. You can use standard wrenches to loosen nuts, but a socket wrench will make the job easier. Socket wrenches have a ratcheting action that increases the efficiency of the wrench. Unlike the motion of a standard wrench, a socket wrench does not need to be removed and repositioned on the nut after each turn.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket wrench
  • Lubricating spray
  • Determine the size of socket that you will need by fitting a small socket over the nut and increasing the size until you find one that fits snug.

  • Press the socket onto the handle of the socket wrench. Match the opening on the socket with the drive on the wrench. These openings are typically 3/8 inch or 1/2 inch.

  • Set the lever on the handle to "Loosen" by positioning it to the left. Place the socket over the nut that you want to loosen.

  • Pull the handle counterclockwise to loosen the nut.

  • If the nut fails to move, remove the socket from the nut and spray the top and bottom of the nut with lubricating spray. Allow a minute or two for the spray to penetrate to the bolt threads.

  • Place the socket wrench back on the nut and attempt to loosen it again.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can extend the length of the socket with an attachable adapter for those hard-to-reach nuts.


  • Ace Hardware: Wrenches
  • "Tools: A Tool-by-Tool Guide to Choosing and Using 150 Home Essentials"; Steve Dodds; 2005
  • Photo Credit Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • The Parts of a Socket Wrench

    The socket wrench is a wonderfully useful tool for tightening and loosening all sizes of nuts and bolts. Its ease of use...

  • How to Use a Socket Wrench

    A socket wrench is a simple tool that allows you to turn nuts and some bolts with more ease than a regular...

  • How to Use a Ratchet

    Ratchet wrenches are a staple of all mechanics. With a good set of sockets, you can handle any bolt or nut on...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Build and Grow a Salad Garden On Your Balcony

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!