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Where’s My 10 mm?

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Save yourself a lot of grief and buy multiple 10 mm socket or combo wrenches. For some reason, this tool frequently goes missing.

Some consider this a myth while others are plagued by this on a weekly basis. We’re talking about the often unsolved mystery of the missing tool.

When we consider the anguish of realizing that a tool is missing, we can all relate. Whenever you are in the middle of a job and you can’t find the specific tool needed at that moment, you initially blame yourself for not storing that tool in its appropriate spot. Then you might silently suspect a co-worker for borrowing it and not returning it. Dismissing that scenario, you then search through every drawer, even though you know that you would only place that tool in one specific drawer. You then begin looking on the floor, on the workbench, digging into your pockets, and finally raising your arms in total disgust. Where could it be?

For some unknown reason, the most common tool that goes missing is the 10 mm socket or combo wrench. One reason is that a 10 mm is applicable to a number of applications, primarily for 6 mm bolts or nuts.  The “10”, as we’ll refer to it, gets lots of use. It may have been left under the hood of the last car in the shop. It may have been jammed into the pocket of the pants you wore yesterday. It may have fallen off a vehicle’s radiator support when your elbow nudged it, bounced along the floor and rolled into a drain hole. Or, the gremlins (it’s well known that all shops have resident gremlins who love to mess with your stuff) decided they would play a joke on you and tucked it behind that dusty old radio that sits on your bench, and shrouded it under a piece of scrap sandpaper. Yeah, gremlins are funny little guys who think they’re comedians.  

The solution: stock up on 10 mm wrenches. That includes short and deepwell 6-points, as well as impact-grade shorts and deeps, and for the sake of being completely obsessive, combo wrenches as well.  But for some reason, it’s usually the short socket that likes to hide, so get tough and buy half a dozen of these critters, in ¼ and ½-inch drive.  I like to paint a red dot on each of mine. That way, if found, I can identify it as mine.  In today’s shops, the 10 is one of the most coveted, and as a result, the most “protected species” of tools.  Since the 10 has the nasty habit of exhibiting wander-lust, always have more than one, and always return them to the same location.  Unlike unicorns, the 10 does exist, but it’s sometimes the most elusive of creatures. 

I’m sure all of you have lost a tool at some point or have a great story about a lost tool and where/if you ever found it?  If so, let me know, drop me an email at

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