Ratchet spanners are an essential tool in any auto mechanic workshop and are used to loosen and tighten nuts and bolts by use of a ratchet mechanism. These tools come in several configurations either as a combination with an open-ended spanner on one end or a double-ended ratchet spanner.
What are the mechanics behind a ratchet spanner?
Ratchet spanners use roller bearings to operate on a one-way gear system. Depending on the design they can be flipped over to use in the opposite direction or come with a small level which allows reverse movement. Sizes range greatly from 8mm to 30mm and everything in between. Torque is increased in some designs that position the ratchet end of the spanner on a 5 degree angle to increase the tightening ability.
Types of ratchet spanners for the auto workshop
Stubby Gear Wrench
Stubby wrenches have a very shorter shaft. Both the stubby and the simple combination wrenches are simple to use ratchet spanners that are both versatile and affordable. The stubby wrench is useful for getting into smaller places and is a good starter ratchet spanner. It has the advantage of only requiring a 5° arc and will move a fastener along any threaded length rod without the need to remove the wrench from the fastener.
Flat combination ratchet spanners
Combination wrenches are available in a large range of sizes. The straight ratchet spanner has good leverage and torque, and is inexpensive as it only has one pawl, but is easily reversed by flipping over.
Swivel Head Ratchet spanner
For getting increased strength in tight places, a swivel head ratchet spanner is ideal. They can be set at the angle degree to get into the most awkward spots. When working in the engine department a long double ended swivel head ratchet, with a swivel head ratchet spanner on each end, comes into its own. Swivel heads work at any angle, in any location and will get into all those tight places.
Reversing ratchet spanner
Reversing ratchet wrenches have a small switch which reverses the direction. This allows the direction to be changed without having to remove the spanner. The operation is fast and can be performed without having to move from the spot you are working on. Reversible ratchets are a more complex tool and is therefore more expensive than the non-reversible sets. The best quality reversible spanner is easy to operate and will move smoothly in both directions.
Materials and Finish
Ratchet spanners are constructed from hardened, durable steel alloys such as chromium-vanadium steel and come chrome plated. The plating provides protection for the metal, sealing it corrosion and marks. When working on cars, a matt finish is preferred as it offers less glare under lights.
When choosing your ratchet spanner set, decide on what is going to be most convenient, replaceable and affordable for your initial start up budget, and then progress from there. Ask your expert at RS Online for more information on which ratchet spanner set will be best for you.