How to fix a ratchet wrench like a pro!

We’re guessing you’re someone who likes doing household repairs by himself. It’s a great habit! You save on hiring a technician and learn tons of necessary life skills.

While doing some repair work, you must’ve faced the issue of your ratcheting wrench getting jammed and not turning. It’s frustrating, so you must be keen to know how to fix a ratchet wrench.

In most cases, you can fix a rusty or jammed wrench with proper cleaning and greasing with new oil. If the wrench is stuck or has physical damage like a broken spring, you must use a ratchet repairing kit.

It sounds daunting, but it’s pretty simple. In this article, we’ll be going over both processes. Let’s read on.

How to Repair a Ratchet Wrench

Most damaged ratchets become functional when you take the dirt out thoroughly and apply new oil or grease. To do so, first, fill up a bucket with warm water and add a small amount of soap, detergent, or commercial cleaner.

Dip the ratchet wrench there for around 5 to 10 minutes. Soaking in the cleaning solution will make the dirt and other impurities soften, which you can clean easily later on.

Next, take something hard to scrub, like a wire scrubber or thick brush. Clean thoroughly until all the dirt gets removed. Rinse, soak, and repeat till you think the wrench is entirely clean.

How to Fix A Stuck Ratchet Wrench

The process of cleaning and greasing should fix your ratchet wrench in most cases. But if you have a damaged or stuck wrench, you might need to repair it with a DIY wrench repair kit. The DIY kit consists of the following —

  1. Flathead Screwdriver
  2. Snap Ring Pliers
  3. Ratchet Repair Kits

We’re guessing you already have a flathead screwdriver lying around in the house, so we’ve only recommended our snap ring pliers and ratchet repair kit. Once all the equipment is ready, you can start disassembling the wrench.

How to Disassemble a Ratchet Wrench

You should disassemble the wrench in these structured steps —

1. Take out The Snap Ring

Using the snap ring pliers, you should first remove your ratchet wrench’s external and internal snap ring. Use the pointy ends of the pliers and insert them into the snap ring’s holes. Press the pliers, then lift upwards. The internal snap ring should come right out.

To remove the external ring, switch the pliers to external mode and by expanding this time, remove the ring.

Both your snap rings should now be off. 

2. Take out The Spiral Snap Ring

Next, you have to take out the spiral snap ring. It’s a gray circular ring around the pawl. When you have located it, use a flathead screwdriver and poke it in one edge of the ring.

Jam the screwdriver more, twist, and it should come off. Move it in an anti-clockwise rotation, and the snap ring will come out.

3. Clean & Grease the Parts

Once all the rings are out, you can entirely break down the ratchet wrench. Simply apply pressure with your hands, and everything will come out, including screws, springs, and the pawl.

Collect all the parts and soak them in the cleaning solution like before. The intricate parts might be rustier, so use a rust removal chemical and rub vigorously with a wire brush.

After rinsing and repeating, dry the parts off with a towel. Now check the condition of the parts. If the snap rings aren’t damaged, and the pawl is still sharp, you can use it during the reassembly. Otherwise, make use of the wrench repair kit that we’ve recommended.

How to Assemble a Ratchet Wrench

Now that everything is taken apart and cleaned, we get reassembling. Follow these steps —

  1. First, lubricate the pawl with fresh grease. Don’t use regular motor oil; use the lubricant included with the ratchet repair kit.
  2. Then, push the pawl into the wrench opening. Secure it roughly in the middle.
  3. Place the circular snap ring around the pawl. Put some lubrication around it.
  4. Using the special pliers, place the internal and external snap rings onto the ratchet wrench, reversing the process used to remove them.
  5. Once placed, put lubrication around the entire pawl and ratchets, ensuring the grease reaches all the crevices. Your ratchet wrench is now good to go!

Tips and Tricks To Keep the Ratchet Mechanism In Working Condition

If you’ve come this far, you must’ve fixed your wrench, and it’s in working order again. To ensure it doesn’t get stuck, rusty, or damaged again, here are some tips and tricks that will help you down the line.

1.    Don’t Keep Wrenches Wet

A leading cause for damaged and stuck wrenches is rust. When you wet them and don’t dry off quickly rust forms. Wetness also affects the sharpness of the pawl.

To avoid this predicament, avoid using ratchet wrenches on wet surfaces. Don’t leave them outside during the nights either, as dew formation can cause rust too. It’s best to dry them off and keep them in a designated repair box each time you use them.

2.    Use Grease From Time To Time

The best practice is to lubricate from time to time when using ratchet wrenches or repair tools. Lubricant prevents rust from forming and keeps the tools in perfect working order.

As a general rule of thumb, we’d recommend applying lubrication at least once a month.


1. How do I sharpen a ratchet wrench’s pawl?

Ans. Usually, the teeth of a ratchet wrench can be sharpened using a thin sharpening stone. Place it inside the wrench and start grinding slowly. But be sure to go easy, otherwise, you might damage the nuts and bolts you open with your ratchet wrench.

2. How many teeth should my ratchet wrench have?

Ans. Ideally, your ratchet wrench should have about 70 to 75. The amount of teeth in a ratchet wrench affects how high or low its torque value will be.

If the wrench has a high number of teeth, it’ll have a low torque value. While working, more torque is ideal. So we’ve found 70 to 75 to be the sweet spot.

3. Which products should I use to grease a stuck ratchet wrench?

Ans. You can WD40 lubricant, cooking oil, or specialized lubricants to grease a ratchet wrench. We’d recommend not to use regular motor oil or grease, as its consistency attracts dirt, which in turn may cause rust.

4. Can you fix a broken ratchet wrench?

Ans. It depends actually. If the ratchet head is broken it can be repaired.


We hope you’re leaving with the correct knowledge and answer anyone whoever asks how can you fix a ratchet wrench. And if you had a stuck wrench and didn’t know how to fix a stuck ratchet wrench, you must have known the correct disassemble and reassemble process by now.

As a final tip, we’d recommend disassembling and lubricating all intricate parts of your wrench every couple of months. That way, you’ll prevent internal rust formation and keep the wrench in the best working condition if you use it frequently. We wish you good luck and happy repairs!

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