Whether you’re a future auto collision school graduate, are considering training for auto mechanics, or just enjoy fixing up cars as a hobby, some of your most prized possessions are probably the tools that make it possible.
Let’s take a look at some recent innovations, as well as time-tested tools, all designed to make auto mechanics’ lives easier.
1. Screwdrivers with Hex Bolsters: Your screwdrivers sets are probably the handiest tools in your garage, but do you have a set with hex bolsters? If you have a screw that just won’t budge, you’ll wish you did.
To use these big daddies of all screwdrivers, slide a wrench down the shaft onto the bolster (where the shank meets the handle.) Use the wrench to turn the screwdriver while you lean into the screwdriver tip and screw head. You’ll get the extra torque you need for any repair job.
2. Air Hammer with Quick-Change Chuck: Drills have had convenient “keyless” chucks for years, but changing the bit in an air hammer requires pulling back the spring retainer, installing the bit, and hoping it’s in the right place when you release the spring.
Air hammers with quick-change chucks make changing the bit as easy as changing a drill bit. What mechanic doesn’t love saving time and headaches?
3. Creeper: It’s not high-tech and it won’t earn you mechanic-of-the-year award, but it can save your back and clothing, while it helps you work faster, more comfortably and more efficiently. If you’ve ever worked under a car, you may have tried lying on carpet pads, cardboard boxes or even drop cloths. It’s time to step up your game with a creeper. Look for one with an adjustable headrest and rotating caster wheels for added comfort and mobility.
4. Locking Pliers: What hex bolster screwdrivers are to screws locking pliers, often called vise grips, are to stubborn nuts and bolts. Avoid stripped bolt heads with three variations of locking pliers: standard size, a set with flat jaws, and a small set for problem bolts in tight spots. Because you know that one bolt that doesn’t want to come loose is also going to be in the most awkward position to reach. It makes you wonder if “Murphy” was an auto mechanic.
5. Diagnostic Auto Code Reader: Knowing what’s wrong with a car is no longer as simple as looking under the hood. Even the best mechanics can’t diagnose a problem that stems from the car’s computer without an auto code reader.
Today’s code readers can be almost as high-tech as the computers they help to troubleshoot. Inexpensive code readers simply display a numeric code; you have to look up what it means. Other units display the possible problem in plain English.
Top-of-the-line models access the internet so you can read more information on potential causes – and fixes – for the problem.
A scanner, rather than a simple auto code reader, provides real-time information to aid in troubleshooting. You’ll still have to finish diagnostic procedures by hand, under the hood, but you’ll have all the information you need at your disposal to do a thorough job.
Tools, Tools, Tools: An Auto Mechanic’s Best Bud
We could go on and on about tools, but these are five you’ll want to include in your auto mechanic’s toolbox if you’re considering training for auto mechanics or want to repair, upgrade or modify your own vehicle.