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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

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.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/according-to-you-10-of-the-most-underrated-tools/
146 REPLIES 146
gary21sn
Intermediate Driver

All very basic Shop 101. Article is for someone that's never turned a wrench.
hanzonn
New Driver

I’ve been turning wrenches for 50+ years and found the article very useful. Never too old to learn....

MattK
Advanced Driver

A little more 101 anything these days would be helpful to a generation (not all) that doesn't know how to do anything but play video games.
DT
Instructor

If you all ready know it all why waste your time with a snippy reply for some that don't ???
Joee383
Intermediate Driver

Google/YouTube!
PJducatisti
Pit Crew

Great selection of tools, esp the magnet on a wand. A light on a headband has helped immeasurably, too. Have not yet used a torch, but BB Blaster is a wonder.
In the past, I fabricated a couple of tools for my R5 to enable me to do "factory" chores.
Lastly, special thanks to the semi-circle tool for loosening the flanged exhaust port ring to remove the header pipe.
JRJones
Detailer

One of the most consistently used tools is my 1hp pedestal mounted grinder, although it does not have a grinding wheel, One side is a 10" SS wire brush, and the other side has a 2" X 36" abrasive belt and sanding disc. Versatile and effective.
jmilesbayer
New Driver

WOW! I can't believe no one mentioned the muffler bearing tool, the cringe flange tool and the left-handed sprocket wrench...or maybe I'm just old.
MarineBob
Intermediate Driver

Can't find MAPP gas any more. NO longer available
1985Porsche
New Driver

Canadian Tire still carries it. 13 in stock at the store down the road from me.
CharlesP
Pit Crew

You can get Mapp gas at Home Depot. It’s always in stock. Look for it in the plumbing department as it is used for sweating copper.
hothmob
Intermediate Driver

Good list- here are my additions that are always in my tool perview: magnets, cardboard (for mocking up in CAD/to lay on /under a potential mess), hose cutoff pinchy things, ratcheting hose cutters, gasoline (as a solvent & degreaser, cleaner), rags, headlamp, grippy nitrile gloves, breaker bar, EvapoRust, toothbrushes, Denatured Alcohol, rubber wheel chocks, 2-3 ton floor jack, an assortment of heatshrink + small butane crack torch... and lastly- fire extinguisher (Ahem...for when you are using your torch/welder near fuel delivery)
Oldroad1
Gearhead

You mentioned cardboard. 1 extra is a square or rectangle piece of cardboard to cover the fan side of the radiator core while working to protect the core from anything that could fall into it. That has saved me plenty from having to replace a damaged radiator. I remember using the cardboard idea on a Cadillac STS while replacing an alternator. That way you don't have to pull the radiator.
MarineBob
Intermediate Driver

Old plastic credit cards. Shims, scrapers, spreaders. Anything requiring a stiff piece of plastic. Keep the offers you get in the mail. All different thicknesses and stiffnesses. Best of all, free
RG440
Technician

Yes, yes and yes! I especially like the “Energy” one. Took me back to the days of having the cast iron 4speed on my chest saying “just one more time”, giving up half way to say it only again, just to get the shaft into the bushing! Here are a few tools of mine in no particular order;
1.) Snake claws with thumb button
2.) Vise grip variety (specially the duck bill for bending)
3.) Needle files

4.) Bench mounted mini belt (1”) sander and disk sander with individual tables
5.) This is a big one; Hand Held Pin-pointer (Dr.Otek hand held metal detector) for finding tools/fasteners while doing roadside repairs along with expanding handle magnet
6.) Calibers (what size)
7.) Utube university, how,what,where,when?
7.) Finally, let there be Light and the not in your eyes type
Great Article, thank you !
mbr2000
Advanced Driver

I recently had a car that I was converting from a TH350 to a Muncie 4-speed. When it was time to install the Muncie, I thought I'd do it just like when I was 20 years old:

1.) Crawl under the car
2.) Pull it up on my chest
3.) Stab it in.

Turns out I couldn't even complete step 2, so I ended up using a transmission jack. Don't know how, but that Muncie must have increased in weight by 50% over the years! 🙂
MoparMan
Advanced Driver

Yeah, I remember discovering the joys of using a transmission jack when trying to hoist a 727 Torqueflite into position just didn't work like it used too, LOL!!! 🙂
MattLaube
Intermediate Driver

I remember shoving a Muncie "rock crusher" up to a 327 in a 64 Chev wagon with the trailer towing package. Same deal...up on stands, drink some sudz, wrestle it out on your chest and say a few cuss words as gear oil poured out on your head.  Good times

bradley56
Pit Crew

steering wheel puller ?
MTB_dude62
Pit Crew

I like to use a magnetic parts tray but small cardboard boxes work too.
FormerCav
Intermediate Driver

two tools.
the 3 jaw type pick up tool
and / or
the magnetic pick up tool
for when you drop that special bolt on a late Saturday Night and the parts houses are closed.
FormerCav
Intermediate Driver

whoops... Looks like people beat me to it.
OK then..
HOW about a neon trouble light that DOES NOT shine into your eyes??
BD
New Driver

12 gage shotgun bore swab is ideal for cleaning hemi head spark plug holes before removing the plugs. You can also use it to clean the spark plug seat after the plug is removed.
red-on-red
Intermediate Driver

Don't forget some vintage inside and outside calipers. Not the sliding vernier or dial type, but the kind with the locking pivot point. Use with a micrometer or ruler to accurately measure everything from cylinder taper, to exhaust pipe diameter. I have a good assortment, big and little that I have found at garage sales and swap meets, many are made by Starrett. They are usually very reasonable.
DonHO
Pit Crew

I would add the magnetized tray for holding nuts, bolts, small wrenches, etc. I have several stuck on the side of my tool box.
BD
New Driver

Also, check the local gun show for medical and dental tools. Guaranteed you'll find something useful.
Sknyaz1952
Pit Crew

Have a buddy who always had a 22 in his tool box. I finally figured out why. 

Oldroad1
Gearhead

To shoot the car that can't be fixed.
MattLaube
Intermediate Driver

Unless some one else posted the following are useful:
Long extension flip mirror. random sections of pipe that fit over breaker bars of varying sizes.Magnet mount rechargeable lamp/led . Cheap ass Harbour Freight boroscope to look in places the mirror wont reach-plugs into cell phone. Rechargeable soldering iron. Point scribe with push to lock feature to id parts . Brains...experience....persistence...prayers
Not to mention the proper tools for the job. Metric for metric fasteners, proper screwdrivers etc....givens taught to me by my Germanic /Swiss ancestors -."und don beya dumass"
Hacksaw
Detailer

A quality set of left hand screwdrivers is a requirement for that nearly complete tool box.
Sknyaz1952
Pit Crew

Darn I got to go to "harbor tool" or "north freight" to get me a set of those. LOL 

Jmt
New Driver

PLASTIC ICE CUBE TRAY. My chapest but most usefull tool. Start filling from left to right during dissasembly and then the opposite. You can't beat it when you have a multitude of similar fasteners that are not interchangeable.
Make sure not to knock it 😄
Oldroad1
Gearhead

Old muffin bake trays to file lifters you've got to keep in order for when your reusing them.
BcG
New Driver

I remember helping my father work on cars and I was the one to put the various parts in a muffin tin ... yep, I did tip it over once or twice.

I find Ziplock freezer bags (qt. and gal sizes) far superior to muffin tins or ice cube trays. Once sealed, nothing jumps out to run and hide in the corner. And you can insert a note in the bag to remind you of the content's role. Good for long term projects.

Vicegrips are great for holding things in place or removing recalcitrant nuts/bolts. Just be aware that you might be able to use them again.

BandAids are a requirement along with an extensive vocabulary of curse works. It might not help with the project, but you feel soooo much better!!
miniac
New Driver

Tunes! Gotta have my music playing... Soothes the savage beast that inevitably comes out, eh!?!
MustangJim
Technician

My laptop because you tube has bailed me out of a lot of predicaments
OHCOddball
Advanced Driver

Service manual/body assembly manual so you know how it is supposed to go together. Blow-up diagrams especially. Nothing worse than breaking something because you took it apart in the wrong order or there was some fastener you couldn't see and didn't know was there without the manual.
Oldroad1
Gearhead

Like the invisible fastener in the center of the upper plenum of an F or E series small block.
avanti5010
Intermediate Driver

Who's the poor soul with the yellow Audi 100? Out of almost 70 cars I have owned it was the absolutely WORST!
MattLaube
Intermediate Driver

Now hey now.  The 100LS was long on design elements but short on execution. I still have my dad's 4000s and cant bear to give it away to be crushed.   It ran and drive until I parked it and all the lines rotted away. I would have a 100 LS- at least you had a 1/2 assed chance at getting it on the road compared to the new junk that is price prohibitive as it ages.

trickytrick
Intermediate Driver

Slide Hammer. Slaps wheel hubs around with ease.
trickytrick
Intermediate Driver

And Youtube if course. How did we ever get along without 27 videos on how to change blinker fluid?
Oldroad1
Gearhead

NAPA sells blinker fluid in 2oz containers. Right up there on the counter LMAO.
RG440
Technician

Forgot to mention previously, a “pipe” for the wrench, socket, pry-bar, 4-way is invaluable in times of need ! Always have one in the carry around war chest !
SJ
Technician

The right lighting.
A son or daughter or two. A good neighbor. The wife in a pinch.
NHO
Intermediate Driver

I like my "3rd hand", the long grabber you press the top plunger and 3 or 4 small fingers open at the other end. Picks anything up way down out of reach, magnetic or not. One of my most useful tools!
Snowman59
Pit Crew

Instead of disposing of an older cell phone that is being phased out due to 5G coming on line, I keep one in my toolbox since it still works great for researching things online and streaming music via wi-fi. The built-in camera is handy for keeping visual records of things being worked on. Also, apps like the calculator are also extremely useful at times.
Sknyaz1952
Pit Crew

Actually, though not a mechanic Over the years I've learned to work on my motorcycles my self. Mostly because there are very few shops that will work on anything unless you plug it into a computer. That said I have all these tools plus. One I have to use, mostly because I have big fingers, is hemostats. MAN do they ever come in handy.
Mot
Intermediate Driver

Arm protectors, band-aids, and a BFH are in my tool cabinet.
2bolts5mins
Pit Crew

I have a 18-20 inch steel pipe that held a sprinkler from my childhood home that I use for many thing like sliding a socket wrench handle into for more leverage or as a pry bar I call it “The Convincer” I could use a breaker bar or a real pry bar but it has sentimental value and it was free when my finances were limited. I still use it to this day.