Tool Identification Guide

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a divining rod to locate expensive parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.

MECHANIC’S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing tonneaus, soft tops, and leather upholstery kits.

HAND ELECTRIC DRILL: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling mounting holes in fenders just above the brake line that goes to the rear wheel.

PLIERS: An adjustable tool used to round off bolt heads.


HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.


VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to rapidly transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETELENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your garage on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside a brake drum you’re trying to get the bearing race out of.

WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 socket you’ve been searching for the last 15 minutes.

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that freshly painted part you were drying.

WIRE BRUSH WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar string callouses in about the time it takes you to say, “Ouch….”

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: A device used for raising a vehicle off of the ground. When RAISING – The first stopping point will ALWAYS be 1/2 inch below the top of the Jack Stand. When LOWERING – The stopping point of the Jack will ALWAYS be 1/2 inch above the height needed to remove the Jack.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4: Used as a long lever with crushable ends.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters caused by the above.

PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbor to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.

GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise or peanut butter. Used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot.

PUTTY KNIFE: A shorter and wider version of a GASKET SCRAPER (above). Who the heck uses putty anymore anyway ?

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known center punch or drill bit.

TIMING LIGHT: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating the grease that has built up on a harmonic balancer.

TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of ground straps and fuel lines you may have forgotten to disconnect.

1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large motor mount prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end without the handle.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used as a non-drifting drift to ALMOST align motor-mount holes. Can also be used, as the name implies, to round off Phillips screw heads.

BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER: A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from a car battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery is dead as a doornail, just as you thought.

TROUBLE LIGHT: The mechanic’s own tanning booth. Accurately called a “drop” light. It is a good source of vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin,” which is not otherwise found under automobiles at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 60-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105-mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading. Makes a tinkling sound and a whisp of smoke when splashed with radiator coolant.

AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last tightened 50 years ago by someone in Michigan or England and twists them off.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

TUBING CUTTER: A very accurate tool used to cut brake and fuel lines exactly 1/2 inch too short.

6-FOOT STEEL TAPE: A long slender steel ribbon with inch marks. Steel tapes ALWAYS break-away and bend downwards just before you reach the point to which you are measuring.

BEAM-TYPE TORQUE WRENCH: A long tool used for precisely tightening nuts and bolts. Chief characteristic of using = The handle will ALWAYS contact firewall or fender-well just BEFORE the required torque value is reached.

CLICK-TYPE TORQUE WRENCH: A long tool used for precisely tightening nuts and bolts. May also be used as a very accurate and expensive BREAKER BAR

BREAKER BAR: A long tool for loosening and tightning nuts and bolts. May substitute for TORQUE WRENCH. When used to tighten nuts and bolts, the rule of thumb is “Thighten Until It Strips – Then Back It Off 1/4 Turn”.

FLASHLIGHT: A GREAT holder for dead batteries.