Top Five Tools Every Weekend Mechanic Should Own

I started this blog to help both the amateur and the professional mechanic. Obviously, the two won’t have access to the same resources, but there are some tools owned by the professionals that Saturday mechanics shouldn’t be without. You’ll all have the basics stashed away in those tool boxes of yours – the wrenches, pliers, drivers, saws, those 17 rolls of duct tape that fix every niggling problem. But whether or not you want to acknowledge it, there is some specialised equipment that anyone fixing a car, truck, motorcycle or minivan really does need. You don’t have to order every item you’d find in a professional garage, but there are some tools that will make that weekend wrenching session a whole lot easier and more satisfying for you. Here are just a few of them.

1.      Acetylene Torch

If I could only use one welding machine for the rest of my life, it would be this one. An acetylene torch can slice through steel half an inch thick as though its butter, or solder delicate fittings. Incredibly versatile, it can do everything from welding or brazing mild steel to preheating and brazing cast iron. Go on – you know you want one!

2.      Engine Crane

No-one wants to lift an engine or heavy machinery without a little mechanical assistance. Unless you have a dozen professional body builders at your disposal to do your lifting for you, you need a hydraulic engine crane. Take a look at a model like SGS Engineering’s two tonne professional hydraulic engine crane. With a patented double piston pump and a lifting range of 25-2450mm, it can easily lift engines out of their bays so that you don’t have to.

3.      Glass Beading Cabinet

A glass beading cabinet will clean almost anything down to bare metal. It’s the perfect tool for decarboning cylinder heads, valve faces and pistons. In mere minutes, the cylinder can have everything lifted from steel and aluminium without even minutely changing its dimensions. For those who don’t rebuild a lot of engines, it still has its uses. It’s a brilliant tool for stripping paint or removing rust from brackets and hardware. Depending on how aggressively you need something cleaning, it can be filled with glass beads, crushed walnut shells or just sand.

4.      Plasma Cutter

The plasma cutter is essentially an epically cool disintegrator ray. A jet of blue plasma, formed from ordinary air heated to 15,000 degrees, shoots out of the cutter’s head and cuts through virtually any metal, leaving an edge so clean that you can weld without any other prep. As a bonus, you don’t even need to get your hands on acetylene or oxygen cylinders – all you need is air.

5.      Voltmeter

Voltmeters do more than just check voltage. In fact, a voltmeter might just be the most essential item on this list. They’re irreplaceable for diagnosing and troubleshooting almost anything electrical on a car. Electrical work requires a classic systems analysis, and with a voltmeter a sharp technician can identify a poor connection or a shorted wire almost instantly.

If you want the quality of your work to rival that of the professionals, check these out.

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