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Shop Owners and Technicians Offer Up Their ‘Top 5 Tools’

The readers of TechShop – Equipment, Tools & Supplies magazine were asked to submit a list of their top five favorite tools. Here is a sampling of some of the responses that were received ….

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The readers of TechShop — Equipment, Tools & Supplies magazine were asked to submit a list of their top five favorite tools. Here is a sampling of some of the responses that were received.

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Chris Bower, Owner/Technician
Peckerwoods Pit Stop
Ventura, CA
http://PeckerwoodsPitStop.com

  1. iATN (www.iatn.net) — I have been a sponsoring member of this website for over eight years, and have used information available there for more jobs than I can count. This is truly the best tool in my toolbox.
  2. Fluke 88 Automotive Meter — This meter is any auto tech’s best friend. Its accuracy and features make electrical testing and diagnostics a breeze. No other DMM that I have ever used even compares. I would be lost without it.
  3. Ingersoll Rand IR3121 1/2” Impact Wrench — I love this impact because of its strength and light weight. It’s easy to maneuver and control in tight places. It’s powerful enough to take on the most difficult fasteners, yet light and compact enough to fit into the tightest areas without fatiguing your arm, even after using it all day.
  4. OTC Mindreader 3750 Scan Tool with OBD II Upgrade — This is a very user friendly, inexpensive scan tool that I use all the time. The OBD II upgrade also allows me to view the data stream for OBD I Ford EEC IV vehicles. It’s not the fanciest scan tool out there, but it does what I need it to do, quickly and accurately.
  5. OTC Perception Lab Scope — This lab scope makes difficult diagnostics so much easier! A really great tool at a very fair price.

Stan Sawyer, Proprietor
San Diego Fuel Injection (& Carburetor)
San Diego, CA

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  1. Snap-on Vantage #MT2400 — User friendly, great screen, easy to see in daylight or in the dark. Fantastic range of helps and tips, hundreds of vehicle-specific tests to guide you on your diagnostic journey. The most used tool in my box.
  2. Snap-on Scanner #MT2500 — Great troubleshooter sections and plenty of tips. Works with most applications. Easy to use. Its freeze-frame can graph to your computer for tough diagnostic challenges.
  3. Champion Engineering’s Leak Master “The Smoke Machine” #A240 — A fantastic leak finder that has solved thousands of problems. Made up its cost back many times over.
  4. Makita #6172D 3/8 Drill 7.2 volt variable speed, reversible — I have had years of use with no failures. Used for years as power screwdriver and light drilling on carburetors and throttle-bodies where higher volt models would destroy these precision fuel components.
  5. Makita #ML702 7.2 volt Flashlight — This light continues to earn its keep. No batteries to continually buy. Batteries last years due to complete discharging with flashlight. Bright and dependable. Enables me to see in the dark places of fuel systems, engine bays and under dashes. I love this light.

Ron Dillingham, Shop Foreman
The Car Store
Norwich, VT

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  1. Snap-on 3/8” Air Ratchet — Plenty of power, very reliable.
  2. Hunter’s B400 — Great tool for upselling alignments. When used properly, it’s very reliable.
  3. Hunter Wheel Balancer (GSP 9700) — The Road Force Tire Balancer takes all the guesswork out of all tire concerns.
  4. Snap-on Evap Smoke Machine — Works great in finding all types of leaks.
  5. Matco Tools Torque Sticks — A quick and accurate way to torque all styles of wheels.

Scott Morgan
Monro Muffler & Brake #58
Kenmore, NY

  1. Snap-on IM6500 Impact Gun — “Quiet strength.”
  2. Snap-on Long-Handle Ratchet — Great for oil changes.
  3. 3/4” Wrench — To get at the spark plugs on GM S10Es.
  4. Angled Air Grinder — Cleaning rims and patching tires.
  5. Mac Tools EM710 DVOM — For troubleshooting harnesses.


Mike Sater

B&D Auto Service Center, Inc.
Philadelphia, PA

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  1. Snap-on Cordless 3/8” Drive Impact Wrench
  2. Power Probe III with Voltmeter
  3. Snap-on Roundhead Flex Ratchet
  4. Rotary Lift Asymmetric Lift
  5. Ingersoll Rand Composite Gun

Tell Us What Your Top 5 Favorite Tools Are!
Send an e-mail to [email protected] to share with our readers what tools and pieces of shop equipment have helped you do your job better and easier.

Please include the brand name and model number (if applicable) and a brief description of why each tool is one of your favorites.

Also, be sure to give your name, title, shop name, city and state, and we’ll include you in an upcoming issue of TechShop – Equipment, Tools & Supplies. We also can include a photo of you and/or your shop. (By e-mail, photos should be sent at 300 dpi at 100%.)

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