1A Auto Blog Asks: What Is Your Favorite Tool In The Garage?

Up until this year, I had never had a garage of my own to work in. I spent many…. many nights working on cars in the dark, in the snow, the cold rain, the hottest sun, and bone chilling wind. If that’s you, I can relate. Just substitute the word “garage” for “driveway” in the question above.

For me, my favorite tool has got to be my MIG welder.  I got mine when I was 16 years old, and I spent every last cent that I had on it. Today, I could probably buy a better welder for about one third of what I paid 13 years ago, but I don’t regret it for a second. It has paid for itself hundreds of times over, and taught me far more than I ever wanted to know about metal & things that are very hot. Sure it has burned me a few times, and sets my pants ablaze from time to time, but that’s always my own fault. When it isn’t causing a denim inferno, it is surviving my hundreds of trips to and from the house, sub zero temperatures and the hottest of hot days in New England. It’s all business. Weekend after weekend, it never lets me down.  I just flip the switch, crank on the gas, and liquify metal. It is by far, my favorite automotive tool.

So what’s yours?

22 comments to 1A Auto Blog Asks: What Is Your Favorite Tool In The Garage?

  • Justin88na

    Angle Grinder- depending on the attachment, you can do things other cutting devices could only dream of.

    -Cuts cleaner than a torch and can also cut any non metal surfaces as well
    -Quickly sands / strips paint
    -Wire attachments make rust beg on its knees for mercy

  • Todd

    Cordless Impact Gun – as I do track days in my (near) daily driver I change my rims often so this one tool has saved me hours of time that was once spent removing each lug nut by hand.

    Runner Up – zip ties

    • Todd, that’s something that I want pretty badly, but don’t currently have. In fact, I have never even messed with one. I have just always been scared that they wouldn’t have any “real” power, but the fact that you pull wheels off with it makes me think I underestimate them. I am fully on board with zip ties though, as that’s what is currently holding my intercooler onto my truck.

  • Jeff

    Hammer and zipties.

  • richard laitinen

    My test light with a long probe on one end and a long wire with
    a clip on the other. I use it both ways: hook the wire to ground and search for where in the path the power stops, or
    connect to power and search for an open in the ground. I work
    on a lot of older cars and I cannot count the number of times
    I have found what appears to be a solid connection that is not
    passing any current. Recently, I had a 60s Alfa with no wiper
    movement at all. The test light quickly showed that the entire
    motor case was hot. That is, though bolted to the body shell,
    the motor was not grounded. A few seconds with a little fine
    sandpaper and the owner was saved the price of a new wiper motor. And the tool costs about three dollars. My second
    choice; zip ties, of course.

    • Richard, I also have a test light with a loooooong extension, and it, along with a multimeter found a similar situation on my truck’s fuel pump a few months ago. There was enough power to dimly light the test light, but there wasn’t enough to spin the fuel pump. The wire was corroded and had like 128 ohms of resistance!

  • ken

    I guess my favorite tool would be a tig welder if I was able to use it any more . I spent about 14 years welding with a tig and it is by far the best weld and it takes a tad bit of art and skill mixed . I have a pace maker now that prevents me from welding or I would be welding now . I used to make belt buckles with it using aluminum I could write a name on the face , that was in my free time. other wise I was a repair welder . The ultimate tool would be a lift in the garage . saves more time than anything you have ,.

  • JohnEd

    The A.C. in summer and duh heater in winter, makes everything else better!

  • ken

    I guess for comfort that is the ultimate tool, But I never seen a furnace nor an air conditioner repair a car or truck or a broken piece of metal. It is best to stay warm or cool which ever you prefer .

  • Billy Rango

    12 point double closed end wrench: 1/2 on one end, 9/16 on the other. This one tool fits about 75% of the fasteners on the vehicles I own and work on.

  • Darwin

    I remember changing out a C4 tranny on my old Merc Montego on the driveway during January in Northern Iowa. A floor jack really doesn’t work very well to lift a transmission. So I can relate to your issues. Believe it or not, in all these years of working on cars, I just bought my first set of decent lights – 1200 watts of power AND an adjustable height tripod. No more burned fingers using the ‘trouble’ light! NICE!!

  • Gene Mowat

    I have to agree with Billy Rango! That old 1/2″ X 9/16″ Double-offset box-end wrench that I’ve had for about 30 years and it was used when I got it. For some reason, it is the most comfortable and useful tool in my toolbox. It feels just right in my hand and it doesn’t fail me. I’ve replaced more fan-belts, alternators, water-pumps, compressors and PS pumps using that wrench and maybe one other.

  • John

    After so many years of working in the dirt, the mud, the ice, smow, dark and rain~~~ a garage is my favorite thing.

    Being able to safely block up a car, and use a clean and well lighted area is priceless.

    A few old kitchen cabnets, and the tools I have been accumulating over the past 40 years.

    I could go on, but the basic clean work area is always taken for granted.

    • John, I think you are Ken make some great points here. After many many years of saving, I finally built my own garage last summer, and I am finally realizing how fantastic it is. Especially organization! It really does make jobs go far smoother and faster when you know where your tools are, and you aren’t fighting the elements around you!

  • ken

    That is right 100% a clean well organized work area is really the most important . all tools go together and really there can not be a favorite they are all necessary or we would not have them .

  • JohnEd

    Clean, Organized…just wait ’till yer yunguns start usin’ yer shop!

  • ken

    I went through that all that and yes that is a trip . wait till you have four or five using your shop and you will actually want to give up. Wait till you have to share the garage with the wife arggggggggggggggggh ! ” Honey I got this box of stuff and could I store it in the garage oh and I have this to” ect ect ect ect

  • JohnEd

    Guess where the Christmas tree is…

    • LoL, that is awesome! That is why I get real trees! I just dump the old ones in the woods behind the house in the “trees of Christmas’ past” pile. Sometimes I find ornaments still attached, when spring comes!

  • JohnEd

    After a little thought, the most useful tool I should use, but never think of it, is a digital camera…not that I’d ever admit forgittin’ how sumpin’ fits. ‘Archival reference’ …yeah, that’s it!
    I also missed a great opportunity the other day, a fantastic 50ish shaved, chopped, dropped, and channeled Merc. pullin’ a 2004 Chev. pickup on a trailer! Don’t cha just hate a trailer queen!!

  • ken

    You know that might just be it a camera that you can get the picture right away and I used that in installing a window regulator that I purchased from 1a just this year, it was a great help- . I think you may have us all beat, I bow to your idea . Not many people have photographic memories and I am one that does not . It was a great helper .

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