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Flare Nut Wrenches

I am finally just going to buy a set.

The real and practical question is whether or not I will ever really have any use at all for standard sizes. I own noting older than a '95 and I have to imagine that all I will find from here on out are metric sizes. But I don’t know. If there’s a good chance I might run across SAE I’d obviously rather have a mixed set (and if close was close enough I wouldn’t need the flare nut set).

This is connected to another, more general, question. What is up with the 16mm & 18mm sizes? I have both a socket set and wrench set that both skip 16 & 18 (they each go 15-17-19). I was just looking at a flare nut wrench set that did exactly the same thing. Yet another set advertised a “bonus” 16mm/18mm wrench. Is there some reason that this makes sense?

Either way I need to end up with a 16/18 b/c the last straw for this purchase is my power steering lines which seem to need exactly those sizes. 2 Hoses, 3 flare nuts, 3 different sizes (16/18/19) - I’m trying to make sense of that too, but I hold out no hope for that.

I’m planning to just get Craftsman, but I could be talked out of that if there is some reason I’d regret it.

11mm, 16mm, and 18mm are not common sizes. But, I’ve wound up with them and used them on occasion. Seems like the car makers like to switch things up to frustrate the independent mechanic and DIYer.

Craftsman are good tools for most home users. Sears stands behind their tools and provide free replacement for tool breakage. I’ve had to use that service a couple of times. Matco and Snap-on are the tools of the professionals. But you will pay more for them.

I have had a lot more use for the 16 and 18mm wrenches that they don’t give you in sets than I have the 9 and 17mm wrenches that they do. I find the best places to buy them is at the flea markets that accompany old car shows, just buy craftsman or better.

Pawn shops are also good places to find tools. Unfortunately, they do know what Snap-On and Matco are, and will charge accordingly. I really don’t understand why tool sets tend to skip 16mm and 18mm. They are becoming very common sizes in automotive applications. Some of the larger Craftsman sets I have purchased have included oddball sizes not found in smaller sets, like 16, 18, 20, 22, and 23mm.

Another source you may check out is the Craftsman catalog, print or online. They may have a Craftsman Professional line wrench set with all the sizes included in it. If not that, try the Snap-On truck and ask if they have line wrenches in their Blue Point tool line. They are almost as good as Snap-On and half the price. I have a complete set of Blue Point ratcheting wrenches and am very happy with them. I prefer them over a coworker’s Matco set.

Thanks folks. I hadn’t thought of the pawn shop - I may hit a couple to see what’s around & then just go w/ Craftsman if I get nothing.

I’m still wondering about the likelihood of running across the need for standard sizes rather than metric these days. I’m just thinking I’ll be standing in the store w/ a choice of either buying a bigger all metric set to end up w/ the oddball sizes, or buying a mixed set and then having to buy one extra wrench to get the 16/18.

I would get standard sizes also. Domestics still use standard thread sizes on some applications. Some use a standard nut on one end and a metric on the other (Ford does this a lot). Standard is still common enough to justify having them around. I used them regularly when I was still working on cars for a living.

‘garunteed’, you’ll need both types/sizes… eventually. My only comment is to stick with at least craftsmen, or better. buying the cheapo crud will only cause headaches, and rounded fittings, which by the time they need replacing have lost a couple thousands by rust, and they need every bit of close tolerance to break them free with no further trouble.

Excellent - that pretty much seals it. Thanks much.