How to Reverse Ratcheting Wrenches

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Things You'll Need

  • Ratcheting wrench with directional control

  • Socket set


Some ratcheting wrench's direction control are reversed. If you run into this, experiment by twisting the ratchet in both directions to discern which direction the direction control is pointing before assuming it is broken. You may run into some worn areas on your bolt or not. If removing the nut becomes tedious or hand injury becomes inevitable: use bolt cutters. Some ratcheting wrenches don't have a direction control as a switch but as a button on both sides of the wrench. The principles are the same: push the left button to reverse the ratchet and push the right button to tighten the nut.

A ratcheting wrench is a handy tool for working in tight spaces where a standard wrench would not be able to maneuver. You turn a standard wrench to the right when fastening a bolt and left if removing it. With a ratcheting wrench the old adage "rightie-tightie, leftie-loosie" still applies, but works a little differently.

Step 1

Grip the ratcheting wrench and put the socket on the ratchet head. The wrench size you use will be the diameter of the nut you are removing; therefore, if you are removing a 1/2-inch nut, use a 1/2-inch socket.

Step 2

Position the ratchet wrench with the wrench head on the bolt; the hexagonal shapes should compliment each other and have a snug fit—the wrench around the nut.

Step 3

Slide the direction control to the left.

Step 4

Twist the ratcheting wrench to the right. When your run out of space. Remove the wrench and slide it over the nut again from where you started. Twist the ratcheting wrench again until you run out of space. Repeat this process until the the nut has come off.

references & resources

Heath Wright

Heath Wright has been writing since 2000. He was first published in the eighth grade for his poetry. Since then, he has written journalism for his high school. He was also a contributing writer and editorial assistant for "The Quill," the newsletter of the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. He has a Bachelor of Arts in theater and a minor in marketing.