Our other sites:

How to separate a socket that is stuck to a ratchet?

How to separate a socket that is stuck to a ratchet?

From time to time, it is possible for a socket to become stuck to the head of a ratchet or other turning tool.


This is often as a result of poor maintenance, as the most common causes are rust inside the socket’s drive square and dirt preventing the ball bearing on the turning tool’s square drive from depressing.

Tools Needed to Separate a Socket and Ratchet:

Old cloth or rag:This is used to clean the surface of the socket and ratchet.

Large flat head screwdriver: This may be needed to prise the socket from the ratchet

Penetrating oil: This is to help loosen any rust that may have formed in the socket’s drive socket.

Vice: This will be needed to provide a strong, firm grip on the socket as you try to remove it

Insulation tape: You may need this to protect the socket from being scratched by the vice

Guide to Removing a Socket Stuck in a Ratchet

Step 1 - Spray with Penetrating Oil

Spray the socket and ratchet tool with penetrating oil

Place the turning tool upside down so that the socket head is pointing vertically upwards. Spray the penetrating oil into the socket and let it run down through the drive socket.


Leave the socket for a few minutes for the penetrating oil to take effect.

Step 2 - Clean socket and turning tool

clean your socket and turning tool with a cloth

Using an old cloth, clean the surface of the socket and turning tool of any remaining penetrating oil, so that a firm grip on both can be achieved.

Step 3 - Place Socket in Vice

Place socket in a vice and secure

Turn the turning tool and socket around so that the socket head is now pointing vertically down. If your vice does not have a rubber grip, place a few wraps of insulation tape around the outside of the socket to protect it from being scratched.


Place the socket in the vice and tighten the vice so that it has a firm grip of the socket.

Step 4 - Remove Socket

With the socket secured in the vice firmly pull on the head of the ratchet

With the socket firmly held in the vice, depress the release button on the ratchet head, if it has one, and pull the turning tool.


If the socket is still not separating, try using a wide blade flat head screwdriver, with insulation tape covering the screwdriver tip, to lever between the socket drive end and turning tool head.

Wonkee Donkee Tools