While there may be all kinds of different automotive technician jobs these days, every mechanic needs certain hand tools to ensure they can do their job correctly. Without them, many common repairs would be nearly impossible.
However, if your tools aren’t properly maintained, common repairs will be just as difficult and you’ll need to spend a lot of money to replace or fix them. There’s also the question of safety. Many tools will become dangerous if they’re not given the maintenance they need. For all of these reasons, the following are important ways to keep your tools working as intended.
Pneumatic tools are right at home in any auto body repair shop or dealership. These high-powered tools use compressed air to do any number of important tasks. Despite how much power they put right in the palm of your hand and how quickly they can get the job done, though, they’re also lighter than a lot of other tools.
They’re extremely versatile too. You can use that compressed air to power a heavy-duty drill, impact wrench, screwdriver and much, much more. Therefore, the first thing you want to do to maintain this important tool is to check on these add-ons. Make sure they are in working order and that they are clean. All that power traveling from the pneumatic to, say, an impact wrench is going to be wasted – and could cause problems – if the connection is compromised by grit, dirt or other debris.
Also, check the compressor regularly. Make sure that the air element, air filter and oil levels are fine. You’ll want to change the oil regularly too.
Another tool you’ll find just about anywhere vehicles are being fixed is an automotive sander. They are great for auto body restoration, but you can also use these sanders to carry out all kinds of necessary repairs as well. This is also another tool that’s incredibly versatile. There are orbital sanders, jitterbug sanders, dual action sanders and many more.
To make sure these sanders remain working properly for years to come, the first thing you’ll want to do is simply be sure you’re only using them on materials they are approved for. So always check their rating if you’re unsure before using them.
Clean them on a regular basis too. The sanding component moves so quickly that any amount of debris trapped between it and the rest of the tool could become a problem. Check all the parts to confirm they are clean and in working order. Obviously, you’ll want to do this with the sander unplugged or very serious injuries could result.
Not every shop is going to be concerned with cleaning cars, so yours may not have polishers amongst its collection of tools. However, for those that do, it is of the utmost importance that yours is working properly. While you definitely want to avoid incurring an injury at all costs, you also don’t want a polisher that isn’t working properly to accidentally scrape or scratch a customer’s ride – basically the exact opposite thing it’s meant to do.
To ensure that your car polisher is operating correctly, it’s important you check its speed controls. They’re so powerful that if these are off, it’s all but inevitable that you’ll be damaging a vehicle when you use it. Also, check the lock that is responsible for continuous speed control too as you don’t want that failing on you either.
Pipe flaring tools
Pipe flaring tools are made up of two distinct parts. You have a set of bars with holes in them. All of the holes are of different diameters, so you can insert pipes of different sizes and shape them as necessary. Then there is the yoke, which is used to drive a cone into a pipe’s mouth. Some models also come with a pipe cutting element to them.
The big thing you have to do to maintain these tools is simply check the cutter blades periodically if they have them. Otherwise, this is such a rudimentary tool that all you really need to do is simply keep it clean.
Make sure everyone is trained properly
Finally, don’t forget to make sure all of the mechanics in your auto body repair shop or dealership know how to properly use these tools. While this is the type of thing a quality auto mechanic school should cover, it’s best not to make assumptions. Unless someone joins your team with lots of experience or proof that they know how these tools function, a quick training session will help ensure your tools last for years to come (to say nothing of the safety benefits of doing this).
As we mentioned at the beginning, all automotive technician jobs involve a certain amount of using certain hand tools. While you may not use all of the ones we just covered, it’s important that you know how to maintain the ones you do.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Maintain Automotive Hand Tools and was authored by Valerie Johnston.