It's not because they don't want to help. It's because no one normally buys just one socket. None of us memorizes the sizes unless we work at a dealership and see the same cars every day. We all grab what looks right and we try it, then grab one that's bigger or smaller. Trial and error until we get the right one. Even after I worked at a very nice Chrysler dealership for ten years I still often grabbed the wrong socket. If you had asked me the socket size right after I had worked on the same model car as you are I could tell you what I used and yours would still be different because one of us might have heavy duty brakes with a different mounting system.
You also must understand a single socket from the guys who visit the shops every week with their tool trucks will cost way more than the entire set from a hardware store or department store. Mechanics usually will spend $150.00 to $300.00 for one set of sockets, and in my case I had at least 15 different sets in my tool box. A single 10mm 3/8" drive socket could easily cost more than $15.00. Look up the MAC, Matco, or Cornwell Tools web sites. Look at how many socket sets are available and price them out. That's what your mechanic spends to be able to work on your car. He doesn't buy one socket when he needs it. He buys those sets so the right one is in his tool box exactly WHEN he needs it. You can buy an entire set of perfectly acceptable sockets from Harbor Freight Tools for less than 15 bucks.
Look at the type of bolt head like Jacobandnickolas said, then buy a small set of sockets from Harbor Freight Tools, Sears, or Walmart. The set will cost a fraction of what you'll be saving by replacing the brake parts yourself. Remember that you're just replacing some parts. That is a whole lot different than paying for a brake job at a shop. Professionals do a lot of things to avoid causing noises and pedal pulsations. They also know a lot of things to not do that cause trouble for do-it-yourselfers. At most shops a mechanic will be fired after one verbal warning if he is caught installing the wheel lug nuts without using a torque wrench. It's that big a deal for many reasons. Good ones cost over $200.00. Acceptable ones for brake work can be found for 20 bucks. Do you have one? What about machining the rotors and drums? Do you understand the legal ramifications of not having them machined or having them machined beyond the published legal limits? These are the types of things lawyers and insurance investigators love to find. They will convince a jury that you were partly at fault for the crash when the other guy ran the red light, because you were less able to avoid it, and they will be right.
I'm not saying you can't do an acceptable job, and I'm definitely not trying to discourage you from doing your own repairs or learning more about your car. I'm simply pointing out that the cost of a set of tools is nothing compared to what you'll be saving, ... AND, as a former instructor I would prefer you go in armed with as much knowledge as possible to avoid the many pitfalls that await you. My Automotive Brakes class was eight weeks long, 4 1/2 hours per day, five days per week, and about 1/4 of that time was devoted to learning how to do a proper brake job. I commend anyone who is willing to do their own repairs, but if you're going to do that in the future, this is the time to start building a tool set. Don't waste your time and money buying one piddly tool at a time. You want to have the right one at hand when you need it, not after driving to the store each time you need another one.
I was always happy to lend tools to my coworkers but mechanics have a saying that you can borrow a tool if you need it once but you should buy it if you need it twice. There are reasons we buy the really expensive tools that have little to do with quality The cheap Harbor Freight Tools will get the job done for you just fine. Mechanics get giddy with excitement when they can justify buying more tools. They would never buy just one socket when a set is available.
Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 AT 11:01 PM