Jump to content

What's In The Toolbox - - - Tools you say? I think there's a lot more than that.


Recommended Posts

What's in the Tool Box?




Spend enough time in any trade and you'll collect a fair amount of the tools. The automotive trade is no different. I started out like most everyone else I know, with just a small box and a few hand tools. As the young tech in the shop, you find yourself always having to borrow a tool. Some guys won't let you borrow a thing, thus… you'll have to get one for yourself. After a few years of gathering tools, you'll soon need a bigger box to put them in. If you're lucky enough to have had a Grandfather or other relative retired from the business you probably have a lot of their tools as a great starting point. Go into most any shop and you'll find it easy to spot the senior mechanic… count their tools and tool boxes.


I know I can't keep all my stuff in one box anymore. I've got several boxes and shelves full of tools of all shapes and sizes. There are drawers full of screw drivers, pliers, wrenches, sockets, extensions, meters, pullers, and all kinds of special application tools. It's an endless list of tools that goes way beyond the average home tool box. But, I have noticed a new trend. New techs coming into the business are starting off with a lot more tools, and a lot bigger toolboxes than when I first got into the business.


The investment in tools for the modern mechanic is substantial. There seems to be no end in sight as to when enough is enough. Each different length or style of socket has a certain purpose. So, the number of sockets keeps adding up. (The good ones are NOT cheap.) They all get lined up on their little racks like soldiers waiting for battle, row after row; drawer after drawer of tools awaiting their chance to do what they were designed to do. My wife looks in my screwdriver drawer and will always comment, "Why do you have all of these? You'll never use all of them." Honestly, dear, I do use every one of them…just not all at same time.


Even with the odd angled ratchet or the "S" shaped drive handle, I still don't have everything I need. Every week the tool trucks come by and I'll take my usual stroll down the racks of tools and supplies to see if there is something I need. Once in a while I find something that I know will make my job a lot easier, and I just can't leave it on the shelf. It has to go into one of my tool drawers for future use. Then again, I seem to have a lot of those"specialty" tools that I used for one or two jobs, but never again. A lot of times it's because that style of engine or transmission is no longer in production.


Distributor alignment tools are in one expensive drawer that doesn't get opened very often these days. Back in the 80's and 90's they got a lot of time under the hood, but not now… not these days. Distributors have all but gone the way of the points and condensers. But I've got them. As the priority and use of some of these tools dwindles with time, they are slowly moved lower and lower in the tool box. They'll eventually end up in that forgotten spot in the depths of the toolbox I call … the black hole. It's the final resting place for old forgotten specialty tools that serve no purpose anymore, but are too valuable just to throw away.


There's one very special drawer that I keep a lot of those "homemade" tools in. These little gizmos are those sockets,wrenches, and what nots that I've modified to perform some certain job. These "adjusted" tools are just as important as those rolling tool store bought ones. I've got a slew of homemade gadgets and fiddly little things I have made over the years. Sometimes after using my homemade tool, I'll run across the"real" tool on a tool truck. You know,sometimes… my tool still works better than the store bought one. Kinda makes a guy proud… yea, I even grin a bit. Knowing my little homemade thing-a-ma-jig works as well, if not better than the engineered factory tool.


From the Stone Age to modern times someone had to be innovative and resourceful enough to make use of their hands to forge tools, and after making a few tools they had to have some place to keep them. I doubt the cave man had one of those huge "monolith tool boxes" you see today, but I'm sure he had a place he kept all of his equipment. Yep, the tool box has been around as long as there have been tools.


So what's really in a mechanic'stool box? Sure there are tools, but what is not so obvious is what those stacks of neatly arranged sockets represent.It's their livelihood; the blood, sweat, and years of toil that rests between the tools in all those drawers. The years of wear on the tools is evidence enough of how that person made a living.


When I go through my junk drawer of odds and ends, I'll pick up something and think back on how this tool ended up in this drawer, or what in the world I ever needed this thing-a-ma-bob for in the first place. Someday, I'll clean out those unused items but I'm not likely to throw them out. They'll probably end up in another tool box and add to my ever growing collection.


Those tools can tell a tale if they could only talk. But that's part of the reason why all those drawers of tools are there. Yes, they are there to allow me to work my trade, but they are also my legacy and my mark in history. Someday, as the tools get passed down, or subdivided between all the relatives, my name might be mentioned the next time they pick the tool up. I know I think of my dad and grandfather every time I pick up one of their handed down tools.Maybe even give my next generation a chance to go into the trade with a few more tools than I started with and create their own memories.



View full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Digging around in my toolbox is what inspired me to write this story. There's a lot of history in those old drawers of tools. I've a bench vice that has to be about a hundred years old that was my great grandfathers. Still works, and I still use it.



Mechanics love tools. Even now I still enjoy strolling up and down the aisle on the tool truck. It’s amazing how we all are so much the same. I too have those specialty tools, purchased long ago, with no use, but will never get rid of. And, I also have those “homemade tools”. Just the other day, I opened my brake tool draw to grab a bleeder wrench and came across a brake shoe retainer tool (for large trucks) I made over 35 years ago when I first started. I picked it up, and it was like touching the past. I will never get rid of this tool, and I pray that I never lose it.


I still have some of the tools my father gave me; one is a Snap-On ratchet which has to be over 60 years old.


A few months back one of my young techs asked me if I had a real small snap ring plier. As I opened up my box to find the tool, one of my other techs said, “It’s like walking through a museum”. If it is a museum, I am one proud curator!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      A recent study, done by Harvard Business School, concluded that the real problem with attracting and retaining employees has more to do with the workplace environment, not pay or benefits. While the study did find that an adequate pay plan and offering an attractive benefits package did help with recruiting and retention, it’s not enough to satisfy the needs of employees, especially those of front-line workers.
      The study also stated that in 2021, many companies were convinced that giving raises, sign-on bonuses, and other perks would solve the worker shortage problem and prevent people from quitting. However, this strategy did not work. So, what does work regarding attracting quality people and keeping them employed?
      Essentially, it all comes down to the culture of your company.  Management: do all it can to consider the individual needs of your employees. Your employees want to feel that they have a voice, that their opinion counts, and that their role in your company is both respected and recognized. Yes, pay and a great benefits package will go a long way toward making your employees feel secure, but that’s only financial security. People want more than money.
      To attract and keep top talent requires creating a company that people feel proud to work for. You need to reach the hearts and minds of your employees. Become a leader that people are enthusiastic about working for. You want your employees bragging to their friends and family that your shop is a great place to work!
      Step one to attracting and retaining quality employees: Create an amazing workplace environment for your employees!  Trust me, happy employees make happy shop owners too!
  • Similar Topics

    • By carmcapriotto
      Charging for Diagnostic Time Do you charge for research? Specialization Productivity  
      Thanks to our Partner, NAPA AUTOTECH napaautotech.com
      Email Matt: [email protected]
      Diagnosing the Aftermarket A - Z YouTube Channel HERE
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Joe Marconi

      Premium Member Content 

      This content is hidden to guests, one of the benefits of a paid membership. Please login or register to view this content.

    • By carmcapriotto
      Scan tools People holding the scan tools Die on the Hill you Train on Skydiving and processes  
      Thanks to our Partner, NAPA AUTOTECH napaautotech.com
      Email Matt: [email protected]
      Diagnosing the Aftermarket A - Z YouTube Channel HERE
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By ASOG Podcast
      When Is It Time To Quit The Auto Repair Business?
    • By carmcapriotto
      The automotive industry constantly evolves, with new technology and safety features being added to vehicles each year.  Are you investing in technology and education to stay competitive and provide quality service to customers? In this episode, we discuss the importance of charging enough for alignments and educating customers on the need for calibration and maintenance to ensure their safety on the road. Bill Nalu, Interstate Auto Care, Madison Heights, MI. Listen to Bill’s previous episodes HERE.
      Joe Hanson, Gordie’s Garage, Roseville, MI. Listen to Joe’s previous episodes HERE.
      Justin Allen, Manufacture’s Rep, Hunter Engineering Company
      Show Notes:
      Watch Video Episode HERE Alignments! Rates, Numbers and ROI [THA 303] Selling alignments as maintenance [00:05:57] Discussion on the importance of selling alignments as maintenance service The use of Hunter Lane Check [00:06:23] The importance of printouts and pictures [00:07:28] Discussion on whether consumers need printouts or pictures of alignment results to believe they need an alignment. Alignment as an Opportunity [00:08:31] Discussion on the high demand for alignment services and the opportunity it presents for business owners and customers. Educating Customers and Shop Owners [00:09:32] Alignment Inspection and Safety [00:10:20] Proper Alignment Techniques and Training [00:10:59] Charging for Alignments [00:12:23] Educating Service Advisors [00:13:58] The importance of having talented service advisors who have been trained properly to work through different levels and tiers of alignment. Teaching the Next Generation [00:15:23] The opportunity to bring in the next generation and teach them about alignment technology and how to properly service ADAS and calibrate targets. Hunter Net System [00:16:24] Hunter Engineering's online system for accessing visual aids and data on car safety system alignment. Importance of Proper Alignment [00:18:56] Proper alignment is crucial for safety and avoiding costly mistakes. Alignment as a Profitable Service [00:20:17] Alignments should be profitable on their own, not just as a supplementary service. Recalibrating Steering Angle Sensor [00:24:01] ADAS Calibration [00:25:32] Preparing for Newer Vehicles [00:27:15] Importance of understanding the complexity of newer vehicles and the potential cost of alignments, especially with ADAS technology. High-Tech Industry [00:33:21] Discussion on the high-tech nature of the automotive industry and the responsibility of repair shops to educate customers on the importance of calibration and maintenance. Moving away from two-wheel alignment [00:37:42] Discussion on the need to move away from two-wheel alignment and the importance of educating clients on the purpose of alignment. Alignment equipment frustration [00:38:40] Customer experience and professionalism [00:39:37] Challenges of technician training [00:40:50] Shift towards multi-shop ownership [00:42:17] ROI of Alignment Machine [00:44:19] Discussion on the ROI of the Hunter Lane Check alignment machine. Embracing Technology [00:46:23] The importance of embracing technology and investing in the future of the automotive industry Thanks to our Partners Shop-Ware and Delphi Technologies Shop-Ware: More Time. More Profit. Shop-Ware Shop Management getshopware.com Delphi Technologies: Keeping current on the latest vehicle systems and how to repair them is a must for today’s technicians. DelphiAftermarket.com
      Connect with the Podcast
      -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections

      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio

  • Our Sponsors

  • Create New...