Some tools are absolutely vital; others make the job quicker and easier. This leads Rob Marshall to look at some of the pre-Christmas offerings to suit all budgets.
One of the most exciting things about automotive technology evolving so quickly is that vibrant, reactive and innovative aftermarket tool suppliers strive to keep the repair industry up to date. As many readers treat their toolboxes as lifetime investments, we hope that some of our picks may appeal as future additions.
Yet, more expensive tooling costs are borne by businesses, rather than the individual – although, of course, this could be the same thing in some set-ups. Should you be an employee, your boss may find it useful if you communicate that certain purchases will make your life easier and can benefit the business, by making more efficient use of your time.
Sealey should be on your radar, if you are looking for affordable and useful additions to your ‘box. The high-grade plated steel Micro Ratchet Wrench & Bit Driver Set (part number S01250) can be had for under £20 (including VAT) online, for instance. Its brake pipe flaring kit is tough enough to work even steel lines and not just softer Cunifer pipe. Its official price is a VAT-inclusive £261.54 but we found one of Sealey’s stockists offering it for £167.12 – so consider that it pays to shop around.
While quite an investment at £1,079.94 including VAT (again our online search found the price slashed to £649.92), our favourite Sealey offering is the 2,000-watt induction heater that loosens corroded and/or seized fixings. It also includes accessories to help remove body panel dents.
Should you wish to make a more significant investment with a £5,000 budget, consider Sealey’s HHO Engine Carbon Cleaner. Unlike many competitor products, it uses tap water and, therefore, does not require costly fluid refills. The water is split by electrolysis into oxygen and hydrogen, which enter the engine via the air inlet, to break down carbon deposits. A further advantage is its automatic shutdown feature, which allows the machine to run without supervision, meaning that the technician is free to conduct other tasks as it works.
The diagnostic proposition…
Naturally, many companies compete hard for a slice of long-term capital investments, especially in the diagnostic arena. Snap-on is one of them. The company says that its Fast Track Intelligent Diagnostics is a valuable time, money and headache saver, because it is user-friendly and filters out irrelevant data, taking you to the correct information, quickly. Yet, is it unique? Snap-on says so but the evidence is plain: the technology that filters the PIDs to ones that are relevant to the fault codes has been patented. AT understands that Fast Track Intelligent Diagnostics is incorporated with Snap- on’s ZEUS+ diagnostic tool and information system (part no EEMS348W), the TRITON-D10 diagnostic scan and scoping tool (EEMS344W) and the APOLLO-D9 (EESC335W) scan tool.
Should you need two people to conduct MOT tests, Snap-on blames your existing ramp. Its answer is the Sun one-person test lane scissor lift (EELR910B), which can be installed into an existing bay. In most cases, no groundwork is needed and fitting takes just one day. It is also suitable to work with heavier and wider vehicles, up to 2,160mm, with a rated lifting capacity of 3,500kgs. The lift includes a DVSA-approved play detector with wireless control to assist with inspecting suspension and steering joint components.
As wheel alignment brings significant revenue opportunities, Snap-on presents its John Bean V2280 Wheel Alignment System. Designed by technicians for technicians, its software focusses on core alignment functions and uses workflows that eliminate guesswork and quicken the alignment procedure, without sacrificing accuracy. One such time-saving feature is an automatic tracking camera that moves up and down, thus following the targets. For more information, see www.johnbean.com/uk/wheel-alignment-machines/v-2280/
With summer now a distant memory, Snap-on is also offering garages the chance to consolidate their air conditioning equipment. It argues that there is no need for two regassing machines occupying valuable garage space, when its Sun KoolKare DualGas12 can accommodate both R134a and HFO1234yf refrigerants, as its name implies.
Snap-on franchisees and representatives can provide details of not just current prices, but also time-limited promotions, trade-in offers and finance deals.
With exhaust emission MOT failures increasing by over 70% between 2017 and 2021, technicians may be interested in Pichler Tool’s latest offerings. Its patented NOx & Particulate Sensor Service Kit costs £689+VAT and helps to avoid damaging the sensor and threads, as you remove them. The kit facilitates cleaning and re-tapping exhaust system mounting threads, too.
With more garages seeing problems with Euro VI SCR- equipped vehicles, Pichler offers an AdBlue Pressure Testing Kit. Costing £172.65+VAT, to make life easier, when assessing injection pressures and nozzle leakages. The appropriate measurements are conducted via quick couplings on a pressure gauge, which connect directly to the vehicle’s SCR system. Additionally, the kit includes a refractometer, so you can test the vehicle’s AdBlue quality, to see if the system requires draining and refilling.
Use the force
Meanwhile, do not forget LKQ Euro Car Parts. In this issue, we shall look at its tool ranges that aid repairs to steering and suspension components that, typically, require a lot of physical exertion.
For instance, no longer would you need to ask a colleague for help, when changing a lower suspension arm. The £184+VAT Hands-Free Suspension Arm Lever (part number LAS6936) retains the suspension arm, so you can separate the lower ball joint, strut, or even the hub from it. Once the lever is locked in position, such tasks are made considerably easier, safer and more time-efficient. The lever is also tough enough to be used on commercial vehicles.
We were also attracted by the CV Boot Gun Air Operated gun. Costing £115+VAT, it uses a compressed air supply to stretch an inner, or outer, CV boot onto the drive shaft without you needing to dismantle the joint beforehand.
Finally, LKQ Euro Car Parts highlights one of the most indispensable pieces of kit for all workshop professionals – the torque wrench. Its British-made 1⁄2″ NorTorque 300 costs £113+VAT and possesses a scale of 60-300Nm. Yet, this is not the only one from the Norbar torque wrench range, one that covers all applications from a 1/4” drive that goes as low as 8Nm, to the 600Nm maximum setting for the 3/4” drive ProTronic 800 Plus.
It should be remembered that certain companies are not in the tools business but still offer them to technicians, which they use in their dedicated training. Schaeffler, for instance, offers a tool range for specific common diagnosis and repair situations. Some of these make installations simpler and quicker but certain jobs are impossible to carry out properly without them
Take dual-mass flywheels, for instance. Not every one needs replacing at every clutch change but the LuK DMF Special Tool (part number 400008010) measures bearing rock and rotational free play, allowing you to deduce whether, or not, it is worn excessively.
While the DMF measuring tool is not critical equipment, the pictured self-adjusting clutch tool (400023710) is vital. It allows you to install SAC clutch kits accurately, without applying counteracting forces that can either damage it, or cause the adjusting mechanism to activate. Usefully, the tool comes as a kit that includes clutch plate/disc centring tools.
Like the SAC tool, dedicated dry double-clutch transmission clutch tools are essential. To suppress costs for the aftermarket, Schaeffler has engineered a ‘basic’ Double Clutch Special Tool (part number 400041810) that is used in conjunction with vehicle-specific supplementary kits, allowing garages to tailor their 2CT clutch replacement offerings.
Schaeffler advises that more advice on its tools can be found on the REPXPERT app, downloadable for free for all iOS and Android devices, or at www.repxpert.co.uk
LKQ Euro Car Parts offers a selection of tools for technicians working on the fuel systems of Blue Ovals. The first is a cost-effective fuel line disconnect tool (LAS81416 costing £33.00+VAT). This fits the 8mm dual line connectors that are equipped to the majority of late model Ford petrol and diesels and is an invaluable time saver.
If you have a spare £16 burning a hole in your pocket and you service 2.2-litre TDCI Ford Transits regularly, specifically examples made within the last decade, consider the Fuel Filter Spanner, LAS6669. LKQ Euro Car Parts says that not only does it save time but also it alleviates fuel spillages.