Old School Mechanic Trick #6: No Magnetic Socket, No Worries!

This old-school mechanic trick comes in handy when you don’t have the right magnetic socket to use and want to be sure the bolt or nut you’re reinstalling does not fall out of the socket. You can use this trick on every kind of bolt or nut, and with any kind of socket. Plus there are tons of different ways to keep the bolt from falling out depending on what you have handy in your shop or garage.

Here is the old-school mechanic trick #5, use a piece of paper at the end of your socket to hold a bolt or nut in the socket for reinstall.

If you don’t have any paper lying around you can also achieve the same results with a dab of grease, plastic bag, or what mechanics refer to as “monkey snot aka weatherstrip adhesive.” 

How To: Keep Bolts and Nuts in Your Sockets For Headache Free Reinstalls:

  1. old-school-mechanic-trick-6Grab a piece of paper, masking tape, or paper towel and rip off a piece slightly larger than your socket size.
    • For this example, we will be using blue masking tape.
  2. old-school-mechanic-trick-6-3Holding the socket vertically push the paper/tape into the socket where your bolt will go. For tape, sticky side towards the socket.
  3. old-school-mechanic-trick-6-step-2Put the bolt inside the socket like you normally would. Now, push it into the paper/tape/whatever you have around the shop and feel how tight the socket now grabs your bolt.
  4. Flip the socket upside down and confirm the paper is holding the bolt or nut into the socket.
    • You may also rip off the extra tape or paper if you want (I do not do this).
  5. Install the bolt, and pop the socket off like normal. Retrieve the paper, or don’t worry about it, a small piece of paper will likely just blow away and cause no harm (just be careful about not dropping it into an intake port).

You may also do steps 1-6 using grease (apply to the head of the bolt or nut), or any paper, masking tape, envelope, etc etc.

This is what mechanics refer to when they talk about “monkey snot” click to see on Amazon here.
Old School Mechanic Trick #6: No Magnetic Socket, No Worries!
Apply grease to the head of the bolt (coat it well)
Bolt will be held in the socket, easy! Also, grease works great for removing bolts that you don’t want to fall off your socket. Just put a dab of grease over the head of your socket and remove the bolt. It will create an air seal and vacuum the bolt to the socket.

Source & How to video:

This is part of a series of old-school mechanic tricks:

To start at the first trick in the series click here. How many of these do you know and use? 

old school mechanic life hack trick #3 freezing

If you are just getting started with car repair check out my complete list of all the tools you will need to work on cars (I may be missing some,) but I compiled this list after hours of research. It should cover 90% of what you need to work on cars.

Top 10 Cool Automotive Tools– one of the favorite posts I have written

Thanks for reading, cheers!



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *