Whether it’s for a holiday or birthday, this Tools Under 30 Dollars Gift Guide Series shows you important, yet somewhat uncommon, tools that any gearhead would want.

Today, let’s talk about Socket Wrench Extensions, Wobbles, and U-Joints.


intake manifold on a Jeep Cherokee xj 4.0L engine
As our pal Chris Campbell found out, a few socket extensions and a U-joint come in really handy for removing the manifold bolts on a Jeep 4.0L. (Image/Christopher Campbell)

Have you come across a bolt that’s so difficult to reach, you’d need octopus arms to get at it?

Well, there is a solution—and it doesn’t involve training a cephalopod.

We’re alluding to socket extensions. And they come in a few key variations.

For starters, simple extensions can give you a few extra, precious inches on your socket wrench to reach that pesky bolt head.

Then there are wobble extensions, AKA wobble bars. These give the socket head a few degrees of play in any direction, so you don’t have to be dead-on center to turn a stubborn nut.

a socket extension being used to remove an oil fitler behind mototcycle headers
Want to remove the oil filter on an inline four motorcycle? A socket extension keeps you from burning your wrists. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

For extreme jobs (ahem, Subaru spark plugs, we’re looking at you), there are U-joints. These allow for several degrees of movement to attack bolts and nuts from more dramatic angles.

In short, these adapters and extensions can save the day on a frustrating job—and they’re just as handy on dishwashers and lawn furniture as they are on engines.

A lot of folks don’t know about all the different types of socket extensions and adapters out there, so they’re often a smart gift to give and receive. Better still, there’s a good chance you can find some handy extensions or versatile U-joints for under 30 bucks.

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.