Cars are not just a hobby for you; they are a lifelong passion. During your lifetime, you have amassed more than a few specialized tools to work on your vehicles to your heart’s content — but do you have every tool you need to ensure your home shop is fully efficient? Whether you are looking for items to pad your holiday wish list or are looking for some interesting additions to fill out your tool cart, here are some of the more unique automotive tools you just might need:
Despite its fun name, most experienced mechanics wouldn’t think this particular tool in the garage is all that unique. A creeper is a flat, wheeled platform that allows a mechanic to slide under and out from a vehicle with ease. The best creepers are convertible, meaning they can be fixed into seats or flattened into panels, as well as padded, which allows for a bit more comfort and support for the body and head during difficult undercarriage work.
Vehicles make all manner of noises, but some are too faint to hear without help. Stethoscopes allow mechanics to isolate sounds and identify their source within the engine compartment, which means they can more quickly and easily find and solve problems. Often, stethoscopes designed for mechanics will have several different attachments, like long metal rods or wide bells, to work with different types of components.
Engines rely on many pulleys to transfer movement and power into a vehicle’s wheels, and the belts around those pulleys tend to be tight to reduce friction and waste. Thus, when a mechanic needs to remove belts and pulleys from an engine, they need a specialized tool that works with the shape of the pulleys — and that tool is called a pulley puller.
Unlike other tools that might be used for this purpose, pulley pullers cause no damage to any component, and they tend to be adaptable to use with the variety of pulley sizes within different engines.
Plenty of parts inside a vehicle need to be lubricated, but grease can harden in or around a fitting, preventing proper movement. In this case, adding more lubricant won’t help; what you need to do instead is loosen the existing grease. That’s exactly what a grease saver does; it applies a light oil and then a large amount of pressure, which blasts the oil through the hardened grease and allows for freer movement. It’s a solution that not many mechanics know about but could save incredible amounts of time and effort.
Tail Pipe Cutter
These tools look like something between a fantasy weapon and a medieval torture device. Like a length of bicycle chain strapped to plier handles, tail pipe cutters might not look particularly friendly, but they certainly work for their intended purpose: cutting pipes.
Unlike other methods and tools, tail pipe cutters ensure a straight, square cut every time. This can save you quite a bit of energy if you have more than one vehicle on which you hope to shorten your exhaust.
An engine is built to move, but moving parts are much more difficult to work with than those that are held fast in place. While there are some specialized tools for holding certain components of the engine in place during your project, you might not want to bother collecting all these for your home garage.
Instead, you should invest in a strap wrench, which works not unlike a slip-rope dog leash to tighten around a component and hold it still. A step above a strap wrench is a chain wrench, which can grip even tighter but comes with the risk of damaging the surface of the component.
Every gear head already knows the importance of a comprehensive set of ratchet sockets, but even these might not be enough to get a job done. Some bolts and nuts run down long studs or threaded rods, making them difficult to maneuver with a ratchet alone.
Fortunately, you can find a special tool called a through-hole ratchet, which works like a ratchet and a ratcheting wrench all in one. This tool can be difficult to find and quite expensive, but it is an excellent space-saver if you have a small toolbox and need your automotive tools to be portable.