Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

The Best Tool for Mechanics Working on Cars With Limited Clearance Areas

The Best Tool for Limited Clearance Areas Craftsman Ratchet and Socket Set
Image: Craftsman

Some of the most common mechanic stories begin with the quote "so, I was trying to reach this bolt when all of the sudden" – and ends with them visiting the hospital getting stitches. Every mechanic understands that the engineers who design today's modern cars, trucks, and SUVs often don’t consider ergonomics or the sanity of mechanics when they make bolts virtually impossible to remove with a standard ratchet or socket set.

Fortunately, there are engineers at tool companies who have been mechanics themselves and develop low clearance ratchet and socket sets, which allow mechanics to get those hard to reach bolts and nuts without too much struggle.

What is a low profile ratchet and socket set?

One of the first tools that young mechanics learn to really appreciate is having a complete socket and ratchet set that includes ¼", ⅜”, and ½" drives, with both metric and standard sizes at their disposal. However, there are times when they'll look at the placement of a nut or bolt and wonder how they are supposed to remove it without banging up their knuckles or burning themselves on hot engine pieces.

This is where a low profile ratchet and socket set comes in really handy. A low profile socket set is different than a standard ratchet and socket set in the fact that the ratchet head is extremely thin. Combine this with a low-depth socket and you can save as much as 2" trying to attach the socket to that hard to reach bolt or nut. Even though the ratchet might appear to be "lean," it's actually incredibly stable; especially when it's a high quality tool made out of alloy steel.

How is a low profile ratchet and socket set beneficial to a mobile mechanic?

When a mechanic works on the road, at customers' homes or on job sites, they truly respect the concept of time being money. Although being paid by the hour is sometimes considered a luxury in the automotive world, professional mechanics realize that the more jobs they take on, the better income they will receive; especially when those first time customers become repeat customers. Having access to low-profile ratchet and socket sets gives the mobile mechanic another critical tool to remove those hard to get to bolts and nuts without scrambling for the right method or tool that will most likely cause more time and injuries.

Most of the companies that manufacturer these types of socket sets understand that due to the low clearance issue they need to be made from high-quality steel for strength. They also offer mechanics multiple benefits including:

  • Being made out of alloy steel but have a chrome finish to resist rusting and chipping

  • The ultra-thin socket design allows easy fitting over long bolts in tight clearance areas They adapt to all standard size sockets

  • Believe it or not, these low clearance ratchets are up to 45% stronger than standard ratchets

  • Many of them, like the ones offered by Craftsman, have lifetime guarantees.

All mechanics, especially those who work on the road, understand the value of having the right tools in their toolbox. When a mechanic invests in a low-clearance ratchet and socket set, those hard-to-reach bolts and nuts become much easier to access. If you’re already a certified mechanic and you’re interested in working with YourMechanic, submit an online application for an opportunity to become a mobile mechanic.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

P2296 OBD-II Trouble Code: Fuel Press Regulator 2 Control Circuit High
P2296 code definition Fuel Press Regulator 2 Control Circuit High What the P2296 code means P2296 is an OBD-II code for the engine control module (ECM) detecting the number 2 fuel...
P0291OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Injector Circuit Low
P0291 code definition When your vehicle’s PCM registers the P0291 code, it means that a voltage reading came from the fuel injector circuit – for cylinder number 11’s fuel injector –...
P0359 OBD-II Trouble Code: Ignition Coil I Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction
P0359 code definition The P0359 code indicates that a fault has been detected in one of the vehicle’s ignition coils, generally the number 9 coil. This code can also be associated...

Related questions

Q: What Specialty Tools Are Needed for Servicing Engine Hoses?

You need a minimal number of tools to service the hoses on your vehicle. The very first thing you need is a container to hold all of the coolant that you will drain from the cooling system of your car....

Q: Advice on working as a mechanic

I'm kind of unique because I learned from my grandfather, who was a mechanic at the corner of Texaco gas station in New York when I was a kid. So I learned hands-on from my grandfather. He wouldn't teach me...

Q: Repair Policy

I'm sorry about the issues you are having. It does sound like your power steering. However, I don't believe this is the mechanics fault. Power steering pumps are a wear and tear item and if not maintained properly they will...