Wrenching on cars is a blast. At least, it can be if you’re prepared for whatever the car may throw at you. That preparation usually comes in the form of tools, from the breaker bar you use to free a rusted-on nut to the 12-point socket you use with the breaker bar to inevitably round off that rusted-on nut. At least, that’s the situation I’m generally prepared for. You all seemed to have some slightly better advice when we asked for your favorite unusual tools this morning, so let’s hear your ideas instead.
A Tool For Toolmaking
My welder would be right up there on the list. Fixing things that you would have otherwise had to figure out how to make brackets and use bolts for and instead you just give it a zap is so convenient. Also I have made so many custom tools that make my life much easier when working with the welder. If you get serious about tracking your car or racing, it will basically pay for its self the first time you build a cage. Highly useful for fixing things around the house too.
Welding is one of the coolest automotive skills you can learn. The ability to take two unrelated pieces of metal, and through the power of blinding light and heat, fuse them into one useful object? It’s like pulling a rabbit from a hat, only the rabbit can now hold your catch can to your firewall.
Submitted by: MrAcoustics
The Weapon Of A Jedi Knight
The all purpose length of pipe. A bit of steel piping of indeterminate length and width. Use it as a level, a lever, a hammer, a brace, a long funnel, paint it yellow and pretend it is a lightsaber on Halloween, the uses are virtually endless. We all have one, and if we don’t we’ve all needed it and sworn when we don’t have one.
The yellow paint fits how adaptable and multipurpose a single length of pipe can be. Yellow was the lightsaber color of the Jedi Sentinels, who were the crafty, jack-of-all-trades Jedi of the old Republic. A length of strong, hollow pipe may not be the first thing that comes to mind for “tool,” but it’s probably one of the most effective.
Submitted by: skeffles
For me, a heater. I live in the northeast, it gets cold and windy up here. I could wrench outside in my insulated onesie with a down jacket underneath, or I could pull into my garage, heat it up to 70* and wrench comfortably all day. Normally I only heat the garage overnight to 45* which is plenty to melt any snow or ice without wasting much electricity.
As a fellow Northeasterner, I understand the struggle of cold-weather wrenching. Trust me, I know. Having a heater, even a small one, can be the difference between actually working on your car and putting it off until spring.
Submitted by: ArrestMeRed
The Juice Must Flow
Trickle chargers to keep the batteries charged in all the cars I might get to someday.
Just because you aren’t currently working on a car doesn’t mean it doesn’t still need current. Eventually, someday, probably, maybe, you’re going to want to fix one of those cars up. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the battery already ready to go?
Submitted by: gnarkiler76
Two tools completely changed the quality of my wrenching
1) /4" cordless impact driver (like what you get in combo drill/driver kits)with a socket adapter. Speeds up the process of wrenching. You could swap this out with a dedicated impact wrench or powered ratchet, but this is very accessible due to the aforementioned combo kits and has uses outside of wrenching.
2) Headlamp. Or frankly, good lighting in general. I believe David Tracy did an article about headlamps a few years ago. Looks goofy, hella useful.
Having a high-powered, single-purpose, torque monster of an impact wrench would be great. For practical use, however, an impact driver can get you a solid chunk of the way there — for a lot less upfront cost.
Submitted by: dreygata
Lifting Without Lifts
A decent floor jack. Being able to get underneath the car quickly helps in almost all repairs. Plus I get to make “just jacking it” comments. #dadjokes
Not just a jack, but the right jack is a game changer for wrenching. Getting a floor jack that’s low-profile enough (and long enough) to reach your front and rear center jack points makes supporting the car infinitely easier. Which brings us to our next point...
Submitted by: emilminty drives an E30
When He’s Feeling Neither Nimble Nor Quick,
Jack stands. Good ones.
“Good” being the key here. After all the recalls, it’s worth investing in a set of stands you know will last. Sure, they’ll cost more than the cheapest options, but they’ll also keep your car off your ribs. Those, I hear, are even more expensive to fix.
Submitted by: 900turbo
Second-In-Command To Grips
Vice grips. When all other wrenches won’t work a vice grip is there to rip it to shreads. I currently own about 4 but it was one of my earliest tools.
Vise grips are one of those tools that make you wonder how you ever worked without them. They’ve got incredible gripping power but are convenient enough to put almost anywhere. The range of available sizes and shapes, too, makes them useful for all sorts of jobs.
Submitted by: Monsterajr
Remember To Catch The Drippings For Gravy
To slide under my Triumph.
To soak up whatever’s dripping this week.
Drippings from older British cars can really amp up a stock, adding a distinct umami that can’t quite be replicated otherwise. Catching them also helps keep your driveway clear of stains, and your landlord off your back. Really a win-win.
Submitted by: Sid Bridge
The One-Stop Guide To Everything
The last word in tutorials. If you need to learn how to do something, chances are thirty people on YouTube have made tutorials. Of those, ten will be of any watchable quality, and only three of those will actually be the correct way to do what you’re trying, but still. Beats digging through forums for a pirated factory service manual.
Submitted by: Urectum