According to you: 10 of the most underrated tools
Last month I asked members of the Hagerty Community which was the most underrated tool in their collection. The answers covered the entire spectrum of automotive repair, so the ten examples listed here may not necessarily be suited for your particular project. But this discussion brings up the point that if you haven’t yet interacted with your fellow Hagerty readers in our Community, whatcha waitin’ for?
Join the fun on the Community and enrich our collective passion for all things related to the automobile with your knowledge. Anyway, let’s get to the answers that YOU provided us.
MAPP gas torch
Community user RedRyder_SFZ chimed in with a tool that isn’t needed regularly—but when you need one, you need it bad! These torches run on MAPP gas for its safety and ease of use compared to a conventional oxygen-acetylene setup, thereby making them great for smaller projects like breaking free rusted bolts and brazing metal together. RedRyder went further to say: “Without my gas torch, I’d go through more cutting and grinding discs than I care to think about. Sometimes after the torch gets the rusty fasteners loose, I pound my chest and exclaim ‘I … have made fire!!!’”
Braided wiring loom installation tool (DIY)
Again, this isn’t a tool for your average brake job or oil change. But when you need the finishing touches under the hood for your project car, Hagerty Community user johnman has a word for you. He made a DIY tool to run wiring into these looms: “I discovered a quarter-inch wrench worked the best on the half-inch split plastic wrap. Put the wrench into the split gap sideways, then turn 90 degrees to open the gap. As you lay the wires into the gap, pull the wrench through, and follow along with your thumb to secure the wires inside.”
The Sawzall cutting tool is a bit of an Internet hero these days, for many reasons and likely countless applications. Which is why our CitationMan has one, and tells his friends, “I can cut anything you own in half.” Enough said—it’s gotta make the list.
Okay, so this isn’t in your toolbox, but it’s deep within the owner of said toolbox. Indeed, the metaphorical toolbox of community member janedon is in desperate need of more energy, as it “is something I’m having more and more trouble finding.” Aren’t we all, as the years go by?
Rotary tools (and other spinning things)
We had multiple community members mention these magical spinning tools, as they seem to come in handy more often than we’d expect. Be it a handy and compact rotary tool like a Dremel, a beefy angle-grinder, or a hungry die-grinder, these suckers work like no other tools can. Or, as Community user FloridaMarty says: “Angle grinder for me … use it every week. I got tired of changing wheels, so I bought a separate grinder for each wheel, disc, or brush I use. I think it’s better than the ‘ol auto body cutoff tool for sheet metal cuts.”
It’s impossible to avoid making a mess in your shop. Even if you are tidy in your projects, the dirt that Mother Nature accumulates in a vehicle or a shop with an open garage/bay door is gonna eventually drive you nuts. Community user pauluptime agrees, and takes it even farther: “I can’t stand working on dirty parts or cluttered areas … especially when the work is over my face!” After personally dealing with battery corrosion followed by an oil change covered in something I like to call “white battery dust,” I wholeheartedly agree.
Sometimes smaller is better, as our hobby is full of things with impossibly inaccessible nooks and crannies. Hagerty Community user Alexsar slips into that small category and offers up the ever-present pick tool(s) for our consideration. Because small parts, fiddly bits of hardware, and even other tools wind up falling into places you cannot reach with your bare hands. Or as Alexsar put it, “they always slip into the tiniest crack they can find.” Ain’t that the truth!
I, your humble-ish moderator, started off this Community question with this impact screwdriver, as I’ve used it on screws with “damaged heads from some knucklehead that stripped and overtorqued them in a previous repair.” Considering the affordable price, the impact screwdriver is worth its weight in gold. At least in my book … but it also prompted Kyle Smith to write an article about it.
The BFH, the smartphone (2-for-1 deal)
Indeed, both the big … ‘ol hammer and the smartphone are tools we’ve all used, and most of us love to use it when the opportunity arrives to employ either. JimR recommended both items in his post to the Hagerty Community for this reason alone. Some of us even have multiple hammer weights and WiFi-enabled iPads/tablets in our workspaces just to prove the point. Since JimR gave the nod to the hammer first, the photo reflects the smartphone losing in this particular version of the game Rock, Paper, Scissors. Because, while each of these tools are beyond valuable, they—like drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth—make a very, very poor pairing.
We clearly didn’t cover all such tools of underrated value in this 10-entry list, so which ones would you add? Sound off in the comments below.