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On my 2004 Passat left side I have a torn cv boot. I loosened the axle bolt, no problem. Removed the sound-proofing, no problem (well, I accidently snapped off the tab without realizing how it fit together. Needed to slide it to the right to remove it from the little slot near the top first, ouch).

Now I did not have a 10mm triple square socket, so I hunted the autoparts stores. None at advance auto parts, but at autozone I found an 'OEM internal wrence set, 12 point metric, for use with 1/2" socket, sizes 6,8,10,12mm. Looked like it would work with a 1/2" socket and an extension. My normal 3/8" socket drive would not provide the torque, so I tried using my harbor freight 3/8" torque wrench, about 12 inches long, with a socket and two shorter extensions. Set it to 55 foot-lbs, and heard it click, on the first bolt, but no turning. Tried again, and it broke loose. Now I am looking at this 10mm socket I bought and can see the points started to round off.

Could the dirt inside these triple-square bolts be preventing the 12-point bit from seating correctly? Is there a trick, like shooting some CRC brake cleaner (in the red can) at the bolt to clean it out first? Or is it recommended to spray some PB blaster at these bolts first? Or is this wrench set substandard quality, and do I need to buy a socket bit from metalnerd as the admin suggests?

Any other advice on what tools and/or techniques work best to loosen these bolts would be very helpful.

Thanks!
 

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If there's lots of dirt in there it could definitely prevent the bit from seating. Clean it out and tap it in. Make sure that it's seated straight and all the way in. If your wrench is not perpendicular to the bolt it'll make it more likely to strip, especially if you're using extensions.

Never use a torque wrench for loosening because it's not designed for it. I can't give a more technical description of why but I know this is bad. Some PB Blaster is always a good idea.

I actually also have the autozone OEM 12 point bit set too. It's definitely not high quality and the 10mm one is starting to go on mine too so I only use it when I don't have the right size.
 

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Don't forget that you can rotate the axle as you work on it. This way you always have a straight shot with the wrench. If they won't work with a 3/8", try a breaker bar extension.
 
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