Having the right socket extension when you’re working on your car requires both having the correct length you need as well as having a tool that allows access to the target fastener so that you can seat your socket on the fastener squarely. All extensions are acceptable for hand tools, but driving a regular socket extension with a power tool is a gamble in terms of safety. In order to use an extension that will offer enough strength to hold up to an impact wrench, the solution is easy: find an extension that is suitable for use with impact tools.
When it comes to the question of accessing to your nut or bolt, the answer is a little bit more tricky. For most cases, ordinary impact socket extensions are just fine. However in occasional cases, you won’t have a direct tool path to your fastener and will find that you can’t get your socket situated on the fastener at the right angle. To solve this, a wobble extension the perfect tool. A wobble extension allows your socket to pivot slightly which means that you can work off-angle relative to your fastener. Most wobble extensions offer about 15 degrees of motion in any direction, which gives you ample flexibility in terms of angle of attack.
The best wobble extension sets are impact rated which means that they are not only sufficient for use with impact tools, but also for hand tools such as ratchets, torque wrenches, and breaker bars. Using them is going to offer you more opportunity to use power tools, which will save you time during disassembly and reassembly of your current automotive project. Some examples of notably challenging jobs where wobble extensions come in handy include replacement of suspension components as well as transmission removal and overhaul, which often require removal of fasteners for which you don’t have clear access unless you remove additional components. Using an impact wobble extension and impact sockets can spare you the time of having to remove extra components in some of these cases, depending on the vehicle make and model.
As there are many wobble extensions available on the market, we have pared down the herd in order to save you the time of having to research which set offers the best wobble extension value.
The Best Wobble Extension Set
In the quest for strength, flexibility, and durability for the life of their product, Sunex offers a 4-piece #3504 3/8-Inch Wobble Drive Extension Impact Socket Set that will give you everything you’d want in a wobble extension set. The extensions are made from a chrome-molybdenum steel alloy that will take the abuse of an impact tool so you won’t have to worry about breaking the shaft or head with repetitive use and you don’t have to be picky about your tool selection.
The complete set comes in a black plastic blow molded storage case which will make them easy to keep track of in your tool box. Each extension has a lifetime warranty offered through the manufacturer and a simple replacement process if you find that you can break one of the extensions, although we don’t expect that you will have any issues as build quality on Sunex tools tends to be solid.
The Sunex design meets or exceeds all current applicable ASME standards for extensions, which is another surefire mark of high quality tools. The head design offers a 15-degree offset in all directions, so you don’t need a clear perpendicular path to the fastener to get a solid grip on the fastener head. The extension head also has a steel ball retainer on the male end which will hold each socket securely during use, so you don’t have to sweat about dropping a socket and losing it in your engine bay. The complete four piece set includes 3-inch, 5-inch, 10-inch, and a 15-inch long extensions that should cover most applications you will encounter unless you are working on highly specialized cars. If you need something in between those sizes, or perhaps longer, you can potentially stack a wobble extension on top of a normal extension, although we recommend only doing this when using hand tools for safety.
As far as available purchasing options, Amazon tends to have the cheapest price we have found. Overall, the Sunex wobble extensions offer a tremendous value in that they are designed to accommodate all kinds of tools, have a great warranty, and offer you significant flexibility when it comes to fastener access. We don’t think you can go wrong with the Sunex extensions, and expect that they will treat you well for many years of service. Happy wrenching!