‘The Curios Case of The 10mm Socket’


Ah yes… The 10mm socket. The automotive enthusiasts best friend and worst enemy. This wonderful little nugget of engineering might has a very particular set of skills. Namely, the ability to wander into the fourth dimension and completely disappear from the physical realm within the blink of an eye.

Over the years, so many have reported of this abnormal behaviour from the legendary 10mm socket. Even now while I’m writing this exposé, the 10mm socket which was placed securely on my work desk has seemingly vanished without a trace, no doubt to turn up a week later underneath a Haynes manual.


If you’re reading this, you either know all too well about this ‘issue’ or have yet to experience it at some time in your life. There is no escape. Have you ever noticed how it always seems to disappear in the most ridiculous of situations? There’s no worse of a feeling than a 10mm dropping into the engine bay and not hearing a metallic clang hit the floor below. You just have to accept that it’s been sacrificed to the car gods. If you’re lucky, you might find it in a place that seems impossible by the laws of physics, yet there it is. Casually on top of your radiator mount after two weeks of driving down the back lanes of your local county.

I’m certain that the allies only won the war effort against Germany in WW2 because we, by chance, accidentally bombed a 10mm socket factory somewhere in the Ruhr which naturally sent the entire german military into disarray. No wonder the Tiger and Panthers had so many mechanical issues.

I too have had experience with this disappearing act. Only last month was I working on my MK2 Escort, sorting out some annoying earthing issues surrounding the indicators and while unbolting some wires, I had placed the 10mm just to the side of the carb’ to clean an area for better surface contact. When I looked back, it miraculously disappeared into the ether, never to be seen until a week later when I found it in a spare pair of work boots, placed nowhere near the area in which I was working.


I’ve come to the conclusion that to ensure the security of my own 10mm socket, I have encased it in its own fastened box, generously lathed in the highest quality supermarket tissue paper to cushion the almighty 10mm.

I asked on twitter about some of your experiences and some of the responses did not disappoint…

Clearly, I’m not alone in experiencing this. Have you ever had encounters with the mystical 10mm socket? Let us know…

Liam Freeman
I pretend I know things about cars.

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