Over the past few years I’ve ran into some pretty neat tools. Having the right tool for the job just makes life easier for everyone, and if you don’t it’s exactly the opposite. It’s like using a flathead screwdriver as a pry bar: you’re probably just going to break your screwdriver. In this post I’m going to discuss some of the most useful shop tools I’ve come across, and maybe help you find something that you didn’t know you needed. Allow me to shill.
Surprisingly, the first tool that comes to mind isn’t even that fancy or complicated. I found it way in the back of the shop I used to work at, covered in cobwebs and I’m pretty sure I heard the Indiana Jones theme when I grabbed it. All it was was a windshield wiper arm puller. One wouldn’t think too much of this tool, it seems pretty obvious. But when you’re struggling on what should be an easy task and you need to hurry up, this little contraption will save you time, and time is money. If I were to describe this tool, and I’m going to, it’s literally a small tie rod end remover. So simple, yet so handy.
Another tool that has saved me some heartache and bloody fingers is a serpentine belt installation tool. It seems like an obvious answer, but surprisingly I was the only person at the shop that had one. I guess some mechanics just like cutting and burning their hands when they really don’t need to. Seems to be a common trope, which I do not understand. This tool allows you to guide the belt down into the fiery pits of the engine bay without you having to cram your hands in places that they don’t fit. This saves you time and therefore money, and also your tiny, fragile, little baby fingers.
On the fancier side, although many shops may have this, this is a must have for any DIY’er and professional. It’s none of the fun and all of the effectiveness of a propane torch, without the risk of burning down your garage. Everyone who’s ever worked on a car knows that you will run into a nut or bolt that just won’t let go, and if your PB Blaster or equivalent rust penetrant doesn’t do the job, heat is the next option. Open flames in tight quarters in the same vicinity as chemicals and wires is not a great idea. Well, that’s exactly what the Mini-Ductor Venom is for. Instead of an open flame, this tool uses electricity to create heat through induction (see: n. "magic"), and it works just as fast as a “real” torch. This tool won’t light up bushings like a real flame, and even has bendable attachments to allow for precise heat targeting. Next time you spend hours hanging on a wrench or beating up a bolt that won’t let go, save your energy. Just heat it up, dog.
To cap this off, there’s one tool in particular that if you only remember one of these, make it this one. Anyone who’s worked on cars will tell you there’s two things in the industry that will irritate you to no end: Cadillacs and flaring brake lines. While there’s not much that can be done about Cadillacs, there are tools that can help the process of running and splicing in brake lines so much easier. Every mechanic has a basic flaring tool at least, but many make you juggle around two wrenches while you try to balance the flaring tool against a table. You end up looking like a dummy and you probably still didn’t get a good flare out of it. However, the Deluxe Flaring Tool simply requires you to put in whichever flare size you want, along with the brake line, and simply turn the crank until you have a perfect flare. It’s the fastest, most accurate way to flare your brake lines. It also bends your line to whatever angle you want; it’s a must-have for anyone doing brake line work. Simply, it saves you so much time. Did I mention that time is money? ‘Cause, it is.