Missing metrics - I just need to rant for a minute

Why are metric sets of “X” (basic hex sockets - 6 or 12 pt, allens, torx, external torx) so freaking weird? If I buy an SAE socket or wrench set that goes by sixteenths, then I get every damned one of them. The set isn’t somehow including all of the /16ths but mysteriously jumping from … oh, lets say 5/8" to 3/4" while skipping an 11/16" in the middle, even while it gives me a 13/16" and 7/8".

Yet, I have a metric socket set (3/8" drive) that magically jumps from 15mm to 17mm. And another (1/2" drive) that includes the 16mm but jumps from 17mm to 19mm and excludes the 18mm. WTH?

And I once needed a 7mm allen. I had 3 damned sets of allens - two of which were not cheap shizzle - none of the 3 sets had a 7mm! Just skipped right from 6 to 8…WTH?

Why am I ranting about this now? I need an E18 “external Torx”/ “star” socket tomorrow. I have a set of those. It goes from E6 to E16. The set that I can buy tomorrow is E20-E24. (Well, or a duplicate set of E6-E16 - what a relief). WTH?

I don’t have time to “just order it from Amazon.” Why can’t I easily just buy complete sets of metric shizzle? It makes no sense to me.

Rant over. Thanks for listening. (And it’s only partly because I own a SAAB).


I don’t know that I’ve experienced that to the same degree you are. 16 and 18 are very common sizes. Now 30 years ago I recall buying a wrench set that excluded the 9mm and 20mm, but that was a long time ago. Pretty early on in ny career I began buying pro quality tools and don’t believe I’ve run into what you describe.

Are your tool sets pretty old? What brand are they?

That will probably explain some of it. I probably need to start chasing the Snap-On truck rather than using standard hardware or auto parts stores and the like.

Oh, all sorts of brands or all sorts of ages. It’s been 30 years or tool set accumulation (which included acquiring the missing sizes in single form). But I think the point was more this: tomorrow is Sunday (and Father’s Day, I guess). But even given that, I have at least 5 places I could reasonably go to and buy a complete set of SAE sockets or wrenches from 1/4" to 1" (ish) in increments of sixteenths with no “missing links”. But I can’t do that with the various metric types of things - metric sockets/wenches - allens - torx, internal or external. It’s just weird.

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Yeah, I dunno. I kinda think the more pro sets include the missing links. I’ve had to hit ace a number of times for the missing ones, especially metric. E Torx are a problem though. I got a cheap set from hf but no idea what sizes are in there. Never used them. I’ve never seen the e Torx at my ace.

Before I did shocks, the video I watched told what sockets were needed like a 24 and maybe an 18 so I could add them to the collection ahead of time.

All my Snap on and Mac tools are complete, but I do remember when I bought my 3/8 drive impact swivel/universal metric socket set, I think it was 8-19mm IIRC and missing the 9mm and 2 others, cost me another $100 or more to complete the set from Mac…

Started running into GM swollen lugnuts. So, I bought a 20mm 6point socket. Which sorta worked better than a 12 point 13/16. In

Same experience. I have numerous “sets” of wrenches and socket sets bought over the years, both SAE and Metric that have the same deal. What’s weird is, they are not all the same ones missing from set to set. For those sets, buying the missing sockets or wrenches cost almost as much as the entire collection (since incomplete set :)) originally cost.

I have purchased full sets over the years but it takes a careful lookover to find those.

It makes some sense to me as the sets may be targeting DIY and trying to look attractively priced by eliminating the least used sizes. It’s when you run up against that unusual size it gets frustrating…

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That’s too big and stil runs the chance that you round out the nut, at least in my experience. 19.5mm is what you need.

By the way swollen lug nuts are not unique to GM. I also see it on Ford, Toyota, and Chrysler.

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I hate 12 points sockets unless it is needed for a 12 point cap screw…

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It seems I mostly use them when I’m removing a driveshaft

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It’s annoying. Snap-on and Mac tools are probably great, but it’s still cheaper to buy individual sockets (etc.) at the HW store to supplement your sets - no chasing required. Though it is annoying to spend as much on a single socket as a whole set.

Have you considered one of the other options . . . such as buying used Snap-on and Mac socket sets on ebay for a fraction of the new price?

there are deals to be had out there, imo

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Well, the ones I found that I could buy today are “Torx Plus” (“EP” sizes). This just gets more annoying. Are these things “backward compatible?” I.e. can one use the EPs in place of the Es? The web has so far not been overly helpful in that regard.

Edit: I don’t think they work - and it’s for caliper bracket bolts, so I don’t think I’d even try.

It’s a good thought. But probably like most DIY people, I basically buy the new tools as I go and as needed. Usually not a problem, but the Torx sockets have proven to be. The only thing I can find around me right now is stuff that matches what I have - an E6 to E16 set. At E18 and higher, all I can find is the EP stuff, and even then at only one AP store.

So…Amazon it was. Now the brakes won’t get done until Tues or Wed. The timing is mostly relevant b/c, while they still have quite a few miles left on them, they probably won’t pass safety inspection which I’m trying to get done this coming week… I wanted it ready to go tomorrow. It’s my own fault. When I bought to SAAB I knew I would need a set. But it never hit the top of my list of things to worry about on any given day…I’d say “live and learn” but I’m apparently not very good at that.


Yeah brakes can be the pits if you are in a hurry. Everything going well until the bleeder stuck open. Had to delay a day to get new caliper and bleeder valve to be ready. Luckily didn’t need the caliper. Kinda pricey and woulda had to mess with the hose.

Yeah, I get the variations. But, as far as I know, the original Torx had a patent on the 6 point designs for like 20 years. Once that expired the newer variations appeared. But that makes the newer variations the oddballs. The initial pointy Torx have been around for like 50+ years? (In think).

Within easy driving distance I have a Lowe’s, Harbor Freight, Tractor Supply, ACE hardware, Autozone, Advance Auto, and O’Reilleys. Zero. Nada. No problem finding the E6-E16. So, I guess this is now not about the “missing” ones. New rant. These things have been around a long time. It’s weird that I can’t just buy a full set locally.

Yeah, I always cringe a bit about how the bleeders will be. I shouldn’t need to bleed. But when I compress a caliper piston, I prefer to open the bleeder rather than forcing fluid back up into the system. I generally crack them loose with a 6 point socket to make sure they’ll go first. They usually do. But you never know!

I usually don’t either but when I got done had a shop change fluid and bleed them. The difference was quite noticeable.

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You got a Triple Square set of sockets?