What's the Coolest Tool in Your Garage?

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
Do you have an automotive tool or tool set that has consistently gotten you out of a jam, or saved you time, money and grief? What's it do, where'd you get it, and do we need one?


  • tanya2tanya2 Member Posts: 29
    A four post, 9000 pound capacity, drive on vehicle lift! Yes, I have a lift in my garage, along with a wide assortment of tools and equipment. I am just a typical American girl, who is college educated, with hands on skills in Automotive Technology. I guess, I am every guy's dream! Tanya
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Must be nice! The tool I use the most is my 4 way tire wrench - I painted the one leg that fits my lug nuts so I don't fumble around too much. No air tools here, much less a lift. :-(

    Steve, Host
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Mechanic's stethoscope is VERY handy

    I have a telescoping mirror and I taped a flex-light to the end of it, so I can see around corners and also light it up.
  • fredmcmurrayfredmcmurray Member Posts: 215
    A girl with a lift in her garage. I think I'm in love. Are you married? Oh wait, I am. Nevermind.
    I just wish I was married to someone who would let me put a lift in the garage.

    Heck, I'd settle for one that would let me put an air compressor in there.
  • fredmcmurrayfredmcmurray Member Posts: 215
    The best thing I've added to my garage in a while is an overhead, retractable power cord reel. When I need my shop light I just grab it a drag it where I need it. When I'm done, a snap of the wrist and it puts itself away. It is so much nicer than dragging out an extension cord everytime I need more light.
  • tanya2tanya2 Member Posts: 29
    Single, and planning to stay that way. I am in love with; cars, engines, boats and dogs. There is no reason to complicate my life. My life style allows me to make decisions on a moment's notice. I value my freedom! Tanya
  • driftracerdriftracer Member Posts: 2,448
    all these years of wrenching on my own stuff, and I just got my first compressor for Christmas this past year - awesome....a little loud, but I don't use it late at night or early Sunday mornings.

    I could put in a drive-on pad-type lift, but there's no room on either side of even our smaller vehicles to work on them.

    Thank the Good Lord for my new (second) job, perks include full run of a UTI shop...I could align all four vehicles at the same time! Whoda thunkit?
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Member Posts: 4,116
    This thread might be too old , but I wanted to get suggestions. I have previously had access to a magnificent garage full of very industrial, if old, equipment. No longer having that, I am working on setting up a home shop. I need an air compressor. Not a 12v tire inflator, but a real, power a DA sander or HVLP spray gun compressor. I'm not a pro and I don't mind waiting for the compressor to catch up with the sander, but I want it to be able to support spraying paint and an impact wrench (who puts those flywheel/crank pulley bolts on there?).
    I have been told the oil type are quieter, and the belt drive is quieter, and a 30 gallon tank vs a 60 gallon tank separates the men from the boys (or women from girls). It all seams to play out in the CFM at 40 and 90 psi. How much do I need? How many trade offs do I need to make for a $400 price point?
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Anyone here using a rolling tool cart? I don't have a big collection of hand tools but my bench isn't big enough to keep my two smallish tool chests on it and get any work done. So I've been pricing the cheaper carts at the auto stores and big box hardware stores.

    The ball bearing drawers seem sturdier, and drawers seem more useful than cabinet space. I'm thinking if I just get a lower unit I'll gain some more bench type space too.

    Any recommendations for a light duty one?

    Steve, Host
  • fljoslinfljoslin Member Posts: 237
    To figure out the cfm at pressure that you need, look on the tools that you intend to buy. They all have different ratings even for similar tools. The tank is simply a reservoir but usually larger tanks go with larger compressors. I had a 17 gallon Campbell Hausfeld compressor which lasted about two years of very light duty before it died. Replaced it with a 30 gallon Craftsman last spring ($250 floor model). One problem is that you should drain the tank after each use to reduce rust. The 30 gallon tank seems to take a very long time to reach pressure and a long time to discharge. Both of these were oil-less (no added oil) belt drive and the 30 gallon one is not what I would call quiet. Also, look at the amperage. I think that my 30 gallon is at 15 amp/120v. Any bigger and you need 220v.
  • sthackersthacker Member Posts: 6
    While we're on the topic of air compressors, I'm looking for one to inflate car tires. Here's a post I recently put up on the tire thread:

    I'm lookin for an inexpensive, well functioning air compressor. Any good recommendations out there? Does the type that plugs into the lighter outlet in the car work well?

    Would a cheapo like this do the trick?

    http://cgi.ebay.ca/New-250-PSI-Mini-Air-Compressor-30-Perssure_W0QQitemZ75604957- 61QQcategoryZ22662QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    If it matters, we have a Honda Odyssey and a VW Passat sedan.

    Any feedback or input would be most welcome!
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Member Posts: 4,116
    Thanks for the advice, I found the 2hp/33gal on sale last week for $265 so I grabbed it. It came with a small impact wrench, air-ratchet, and a sander. Here is to hoping my garage actually has a 20 amp circuit ;)
    Now the next time I have to do CV boots or front suspension, I'm all set, and I will probably pick up a HVLP sprayer to take care of some paint chips on the daily driver.
  • mako1amako1a VirginiaMember Posts: 1,855
    My friend works at a steel mill and gave me a piece of titanium that had been shaped and sharpened to chisel shape. It is 10 inches long by 1/4 in by 1/2 in. I use it more than any hand tool I have. Great emergency tool as it will cut almost anything except hardened steel and is unbendable. I loaned it to my neighbor who was removing a stubborn muffler. He said thanks, but I don't want to bend your little chisel. I said don't worry, just use it and bring it back. He came back and asked "what is that made of? It didn't bend or even scratch and I put some torque on it." Light as aluminum and strong as...well titanium. :) Dave

    2013 Mustang GT, 2001 GMC Yukon Denali

  • rabidporcupinerabidporcupine Member Posts: 7
    a mill-lathe used for fabrication. This one's a Grizzly.

    No, you don't need one unless you want to make your own custom parts.
  • 944boy944boy Member Posts: 14
    My brain? Structures in the brain's left hemisphere coordinate the ability to use familiar tools such as hammers and sockets.
    And the right side is for reasoning and HOCKEY....but hey a good lift a few well stocked roll aways ,a large collection of repair manuals, and the old computer helps too
  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaMember Posts: 451
    If you're like me and you need to change tires a lot at track days or autocross events, you need this tool.

    It's a Snap-On 1/2"-drive breaker bar, with a twist - literally. It combines the hand-crank shape and of a speed handle, with the pivoting end of a standard breaker bar. Here's a link

    The nearly 18" handle length allows me to break lug nuts loose, and the wobbly bit lets me straighten it out and spin them off quickly in speed handle mode. Installing is, as they say, the reverse of removal: Spin the nuts on with mixer action, then bend the handle 90 degrees to seat them.

    I'm gagging on the current price though. I didn't spend that much when I bought mine.

    Still, if you are changing tires out at the track every other weekend, you need this.

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • benztunerbenztuner Member Posts: 76
    ">link titleI own a Mercedes-Benz CL Structural certified shop so we are mandated by MB to purchase so many new tools each year and because we are a CL Structural shop we have to have tools to work on aluminum, boron, etc. We've got a bunch of cool tools. We've got a air puller (AP95) made by Wielander and Schill, this thing is awesome. If you've got a dent you take the "gun" and set the depth you need it to be pulled to, depress the trigger and the tip drops down welds to the surface pulls to the set depth and twists to break the weld, all in one fast step. Thats it, move over and hit the trigger again then go back in between those to make sure you've got it right.
    We got a bad welder made by Wielander & Schill, we've got the second one in the country as of now. It is the new Inverta Spot GT. This thing records every weld, you can put the VIN, operators name, invoice number, etc and it stores all this info in the welder's computer so you can go back and look at exactly how many welds were put in that car and how much time it took. But the most important thing about this welder is how powerful it is. The new Mercedes, BMW, etc use boron/high strength steel and you need high amps to securely weld these products. The last Inverta Spot GT we bought a few years ago could weld 9,000 amps however that isnt powerful enough for these new cars. The new cars are welding sometimes 12,000 amps, so this welder will not safely weld these cars. The new Inverta Spot GT welds at 14,000 amps.
    As NACE we took 2 pieces or 1/8" thick boron and welded it with the 9,000 amp welder where the two pieces overlapped. We added another weld on each side to make it even stonger. We took the "bar", held it up and hit it with a small hammer......it broke, so imagine what would happen if you had been in an accident and your car was repaired with at 9,000 amp welder or less and then 6 months later you got into another wreck, not a good situation. Thats why this new Inverta Spot GT is essential for high-end repairs. A 14,000 amp welder that makes little to no noise, has a magnetic field less than 30% of the legal limit, can store 100,000 welds, you can weld with it all day without replacing the water supply and you can weld all day and then touch the tips and they not be hot at all, that is a cool machine.
    Wielander and Schill makes some of the best stuff around, take a look at their website, <a href="http://www.wielanderschill.co.uk/html/news.htm
  • okko1okko1 Member Posts: 327
    :) i recently purchased a set of 3/8 impact sockets from mac. they have been a life saver as they will remove a fastener at 60% plus rounded and replace it. i am very pleased with them.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    These gizmos are getting under $300, and can be used to look inside and inspect door panels or engine compartments. Anyone have one?

    One example: Borescope Inspection Tool

    Home Depot is supposed to have a Ridgid brand one too.
  • zaken1zaken1 Member Posts: 556
    A buddy of mine bought a fiber optic based tool that looks like the borescope. We inserted it through the spark plug hole on a 4 cylinder Yamaha motorcycle engine. I could see some marks on the cylinder wall, but it was extremely difficult to know what you were looking at, or just where it was in the cylinder. We decided it was useless for locating anything other than major engine damage.
  • zaken1zaken1 Member Posts: 556
    It may not look very impressive, but a spring loaded center punch has become one of the most useful and valued tools in my collection. It is much, much easier to use this tool for making punch marks exactly where you want them to be. And it saved my neck one day on an isolated highway near Bakersfield when a check valve came loose in the Holley track fuel pump on my Mopar; and cut off the fuel flow. We took the pump apart, found the check valve, pressed it back into place, and center punched a row of dimples above the rim of the valve to keep it in place. That was 3 years ago, and that pump is still working.

    Harbor Freight Tools has the best price for this item.
  • ptg0ptg0 Member Posts: 4
    My favorite tool in my garage is my Scotchman Ironworker. You just cant beat it for punching 1" Dia holes in 1/2" plate.
  • mark149mark149 Member Posts: 7
    Easy one. A BFH. Easyest tool to use if you use it correctly.Also one of the worest tools used uncorrectly.
  • carztechcarztech Member Posts: 4
    My favorite tool in my garage is my Maxxeon work light. My second favorite tool is my Facom #2 phillips that has lasted for about 10 years and is almost as good as the day I bought it. My third favorite tool WAS a OTC meter that I had over 10 years, but seems to have disappeared!
  • danharrisdanharris Member Posts: 9
    Yeah. Ridgid makes a see-snake micro which is an LCD video camera which has a 3 ft reach. I am a Plumber by trade and we use a large version of the video camera to inspect drains so I only thought it would be right to by the mini version.. It is well lit for dark areas, and is also very compact. I use it all the time I would have to say it was $200 well invested.
  • carztechcarztech Member Posts: 4
    I have been told by some mechanics that their boroscope has been an excellent investment, although I don't have one (yet). It is definately on my shopping list!
  • ugfmugfm Member Posts: 1
    Yes, a boroscope is a great tool. But for those situations where what you need is a tiny, very bright light on a flexible neck, you can't beat the WorkStar 440 for only $50. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then here's the picture:
    WorkStar 440
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Member Posts: 3,425
    With three cars and an I/O boat, it comes in handy regularly. Of the three cars, we drive just one most of the time. Next to the charger would be the pull down light.
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Nice, what kind of boat? I have a 33 Baja Outlaw w/Twin 502s :)

  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Member Posts: 3,425
    That's not a boat, it's a 33 foot torpedo.

    We still have a 1977 SeaRay 17' OMC 190 I/O with 600 hours. The engine is a Ford 302 2V & 3.5 to 4 gallons per hour when cruising NW lakes and rivers @ 2,500 to 3,000 RPM. 14X19 prop helps the economy, but when the kids were home they used a 14X17 super cup for slalom skiing. ;)
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Nice, I jumped from a 1960something Glastron 15' w/55hp Johnson Outboard to a 1980something 17' bowrider w/90hp Johnson Outboard to 2 years ago a 22ft Baja with a 454 w/cams then last year to the 33ft Baja with the twin 502s.

    The 502s are great engines and pump out 415hp each, I've managed to get the 33 up to 70mph with 185gal of gas and 6 people on board! :)

    Til I hit a log last sept and my insurance company won't cover :(

  • ahinsonahinson Member Posts: 17
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Member Posts: 3,425
    Did the insurance company deny your claim by invoking the Racing Exclusion? :cry:
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Nope, my insurance actually would cover Poker Runs, they invoked the "no evidence of an impact, hull appears to have delaminated"

    What happened was I hit a log near the GWB on the Hudson river and had to drive about 15 miles south to the launch ramp to get it out of the water, during that time and distance the fiberglas pealed back from the point of impact, and thereby removing the evidence of impact. So now I have a $70k planter :(

  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Member Posts: 3,425
    Have you or did you inter into arbitration? Others aboard would testify as to the big thud, noise, & impact. In my 50 years of insurance I never had a boat claim denied and many happened on the Columbia hitting logs, deadheads, and what not.

    Your story frustrates me and the company should arbitrate the loss.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,209
    While we're on the topic of air compressors, I'm looking for one to inflate car tires

    I like the battery operated air compressors for tires. Sears has a nice one for about $40. A lot quicker and less hassle than the cheap 19 dollar/plug in jobs that take 5-10 minutes to put 6 or 7 psi in a tire.
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    I'm in contact with a lawyer now, so hopefully I'll get something toward it. Only saving thing is that it is paid for so I'm not paying for something I can't use :(

  • toronado455toronado455 Member Posts: 83
    Can anyone recommend from personal experience a high quality portable jump starter? The one I had died after only 1 year and zero jumps even though I kept it charged up.

    Features I'd like are:
    1. On/Off switch
    2. Cables that aren't too short
    3. Reasonably accurate battery meter
    4. Air Compressor (not mandatory)
  • carztechcarztech Member Posts: 4
    These portable jump starters can be a real problem. There is a great range of quality in these types of products. I would suggest that you speak to your local mobile automotive tool dealer and ask him what unit he sells to his customers. Do not expect to pay $49 for it!
  • toronado455toronado455 Member Posts: 83
    The super expensive ones I've seen don't have on/off switches, though. Here are two that I'm considering:

    1. AutoSport 660i

    2. Schumacher IP-1875C

    They both have all the features I want and both are under $150.
    The AutoSport 660i is rated at about twice the power of the Schumacher, seems to be bigger and have longer cables too.

    As for quality, I have no idea.
  • carztechcarztech Member Posts: 4
    Schumacher is a well-known brand that has been used by mechanics for years, and I would probably buy that unit simply because I am not familiar with the AutoSport unit.

    Another tool that is popular as an emergency item as well as a shop tool is the cordless rechargeable work and emergency light. I have had one of these in daily use for almost 2 years and it has never let me down - http://www.led-worklight.com/product/MXN01200
  • toronado455toronado455 Member Posts: 83
    I asked my mechanic (who uses SnapOn tools) about this today, and he said Schumacher is a good brand and I shouldn't have any problem with that one. So I think I'm going to order it.
  • tygertone214tygertone214 Member Posts: 2
    The boroscope is definately very cool, I got mine here:

    Here's another tool thats comes in handy is my obd ii reader :
This discussion has been closed.