Is the whole world metric?

A friend has a 2001 Dodge Stratus. The bolts holding the brake caliper are metric. I would think this “made in America” Chrysler would be one of the last holdouts for fractional size bolts. Has the whole automotive industry gone French? Should I hang onto the tool kit from my Rhenault Daulphine and scrap that of my Ford Anglia? Has the Chevy Suburban gone over to the dark side? Are cowboy boots in euro sizes?

You’re way behind the times, Bruce. Metric nuts and bolts have been standard on some “American” vehicles for some time.

Get with it.

I’ve had both metric and non-metric tools for more than 20 years. What’s holding you, and your friend, back?



I wish ALL the cars were metric. When I need a wrench that’s bigger than 10mm, I pick up an 11mm.

In the English system, when I need a wrench bigger than a 9/16, I have to pick up a 11/16. Or do I need a 5/8 or maybe 11/32? It’s just confusing. Kinda like using roman numerals instead of Hindu-Arabic numerals.

I also wish they’d go fully metric. It would require about half as many sockets and wrenches, and make it easier to know the next bigger or smaller size. It would also eliminate the need to experiment to find out if a nut is 5/8 or 15 mm.

My Dad’s 75 Ford Pinto was a mix of metric and English. So it’s been going on for a while.

Ed B.

I’m reminded of that Geico (?) ad of the two guys who were living under a rock.

21/32 is near 5/8 and I didn’t like knowing that there was a 21/32. I have no trouble with metric screwdrivers.

Yes. The whole world is metric, except the U.S.A.

I like miles, inches, feet, and degrees Fahrenheit, but I prefer a metric crescent wrench; those always fits better.

Just be glad you don’t need British Standard Whitworth tools.

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Yep, two sets of sockets and wrenches and short sockets and long sockets and 1/2" and 3/8 drive. I have all mine color coded though which makes it easy. Blue for metric and red for SAE. I wouldn’t mind if they went all metric for bolts since its easier to understand but I draw the line there. Think about the problems now with plywood thickness, and a 4x8 sheet would no longer be, and standard 8 foot ceilings? How about metric wire sizes, and of course how many kilometers are on the odometer, and KPG. And a cup of flower? No more. Sorry, I draw the line at bolts.

America already uses a lot of metric units and the rest of the world is not completely metric. Nautical miles is the preferred navigation unit the world around simply because it is by definition one minute of angle around the earth. I’m pretty sure you can still order a pint of ale in a British pub. Roller chain is sized by inch units, even in Japan, it’s a case of not “reinventing the wheel”. Also, metric sockets come in 1/2 and 3/8 inch drive, another case of not reinventing the wheel.
Astronomers the world around use “light years” to compare distances to stars. Americans use metric units to measure electricity, volts, amps, farads, coulombs, henrys, and watts are all based on kilograms, meters, and seconds. No one ever bothered to invent imperial electical units since perfectly good units already existed.

We are long past the time when we should have adopted the metric system. Frankly it is embarrassing to me to be so far behind the rest of the world.

At work I have four sets of drill bits:
fractional inch, number gauge (1-60), letter gauge (a-z), metric.
Metric wire size wouldn’t make much sense because you’d need fractions of a mm.

Yes, nearly the whole world has gone metric. The Three holdouts are Yemen, Myanmar(formerly Burma), and …the USA.

The British have retained the miles for traffic purposes, why, I don’t know. So there are 4 countries in the world that use miles for distances.

The car industry went metric because its suppliers, many foreign, were metric and it made good sense to do so.

The American Rodeo Cowboy Association fought the metric system as a “communist plot to overthrow the US”. I realize it’s awkward to name a quarterhorse a “401 meter horse”.

What’s wrong with hands, rods, pecks, barleycorns, feet per fortnight?? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
The English system is humorous at best. It should be allowed to die off quietly…

The car industry went metric because its suppliers, many foreign, were metric and it made good sense to do so.

My 84 S-15 was schizophrenic…Some fasteners were metric…some were SAE.


And then there’s tires. It takes three numbers to specify a size: one in millimeters, one in inches, and one a unitless ratio.

How many cubits is your boat?

As others have pointed out, there are a variety of different measurement systems used depending on the idustry. In addition to those already mentioned, oil is traded in barrels and wheat is traded in bushels. The entire construction industry is in inches, feet, and yards. The lumber industry even calls a 1-1/2"x3-1/2" board a “2x4”. And measurements are in “board feet”. I have saws with 5/8" arbors, some take 10" blades, some 12". Should I replace them all?

Countless pieces of machinery, countless heavy equipment, countless aircraft still in service are all SAE. And the countless millions of design drawinga that their replacement parts are manufactured to are in inches. Should those drawings be recalculated and redrawn? What of the billions of tolerances that don’t convert directly? Will interface parameters all need to be reevaluated (yes)?

The problem of converting to metric is more complicated than it appears. And the benefits don’t come near justifying the cost. The auto industry, one of the few truely global industries, has done so because it’s global. It also is in a mode of constant redesign. Most indutries aren’t.