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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

When you need a special tool, should you rent or buy?

With the machinations of the mouse-infested truck largely behind me, I turned my attention back to the other oddball non-vintage vehicle in my driveway-the 1996 Winnebago Rialta (a Volkswagen Eurovan with a Winnebago body on the back).
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/the-hack-mechanic/when-you-need-a-special-tool-should-you-rent...
6 REPLIES 6
gpsuya
Detailer

The only thing more pleasing than having specialty tools on hand is sometimes being able to fabricate the tool yourself.
DUB6
Gearhead

That's true.  And if you fab it yourself and then lend it to a buddy in exchange for an adult beverage, you are a double winner!

DUB6
Gearhead

Interesting topic.  I admit that I've bought more special tools than I probably needed to, given the number of times I've used them.  But unless I've missed it, there is an additional factor in "doing the purchase vs. renting math" (or the calculus according to Rob).  That is, what is the probability that one of your buddies will want to borrow the tool if you own it?  Because, besides being the envy of your friend when he calls to see if you "have a digital-whangabanger-for-a-37MM-wheelhoffling" and you say "Sure do!", there is the possibility that you will be able to wrangle a cup of coffee or even a brewski outta him when you lend it to him.  I've held desperate guys hostage to a whole 6-pack more than once while negotiating to lend out all kinds of tools that they don't have.  😃

hyperv6
Engineer

Real men don’t rent tools.

Times special tools are required it is the perfect excuse to the wife you need to buy more tools.

What is funny how many times I have bought tools snd not long after I did need and use the part and was thrilled how easy it made the job. Dumb luck but it is a good feeling. Just had that happen recently.
Swamibob
Instructor

Excellent article Rob! It is a bit distressing that Winnebago wouldn't upgrade the bearings, but it's not really a surprise, and that is a shame.
I've been in similar positions many times and have bought a lot of specialty tools, or on a rare occasion, borrowed a tool from a buddy, and, in a case like this, I just had a buddy take care of it for me, while I watched.

I have a lot of friends that have complimentary skill sets to my own and we help each other with this sort of thing quite often. Sure I didn't get the satisfaction of doing it myself, but I did get the satisfaction of; having an excuse to have really good BBQ, at my favorite local place, with a good buddy! 🙂 And he had the satisfaction of either paying me back for helping him, with that old Mopar, mistake, of his, or having me in his debt for this favor.

None of us ever keep score, 'cuz that would take away from the enjoyment of being able to bleed on your buddies project and reminding them how much hard work that was, while secretly thanking them for getting you out of some dreary task you didn't want to do right then at your own place. 🙂
DUB6
Gearhead

   @Swamibob obviously knows exactly what he's talking about.  As I read his post, I could almost anticipate his nest words, because they were my thoughts, exactly (except for the Mopar reference, 'cause I've never helped a Mopar buddy 😁).  Swamibob's story here is really an important brick in the building of the "automotive enthusiast's community".  Helping, and being helped by, others and sharing our experience, skills, tools, knuckle blood, and friendship (and BBQ) - ah, if 'twere only true in so many other endeavors and slices of life!

   Kudos to you, Swamibob - you truly "get it"!  👍