10 Best Tools of All Time
Forget the Snap-On Tools truck; its never been there when you need it.
Besides there are only 10 things in this world you need to fix any car,
any place, any time.
1. Duct Tape - Not just a tool, a veritable Swiss Army knife
in stickum and plastic. Its safety wire, body material, radiator
hose, upholstery, insulation, tow rope, and more in an easy to
carry package. Sure, there's prejudice surrounding duct tape in
concours competitions, but in the real world, everything from
LeMans winning Porches to Atlas rockets use it by the yard. the
only thing that can get you out of more scrapes is a quarter and a
2. Vice Grips - Equally adept as a wrench, hammer, pliers, baling
wire twister, breaker-off of frozen bolts and wiggle-it-til-it
falls-off tool. the heavy artillery of your tool box, vice grips
are the only tool designed expressly to fix things screwed up
3. Spray Lubricants - A considerably cheaper alternative to new
doors, alternator, and other squeaky items. Slicker than pig
phlegm, repeated soakings will allow the main hull bolts of the
Andrea Doria to be removed by hand. Strangely enough, an
integral part of these sprays is the infamous little red tube
that flies out of the nozzle if you look at it cross eyed (one
of the 10 worst tools of all time).
4. Margarine Tubs with Clear Lids - If you spend all you time under
the hood looking for A frendle pin that caromed off the petal
valve when you knocked both off the air cleaner, it's because you
eat butter. Real mechanics consume pounds of tasteless vegetable
oil replicas just so they can use the empty tubs for parts
containers afterward. (some of course chuck the butter-colored goo
altogether or use it to repack wheel bearings.) Unlike air
cleaners and radiator lips, margarine tubs aren't connected by a
time/space wormhole to the Parallel Universe of Lost Frendle Pins.
5. Big Rock at the Side of the Road - Block up a tire. Smack corroded
battery terminals. Pound out a dent. Bop noisy know-it-all types
on the noodle. Scientists have yet to develop a hammer that packs
the raw banging power of granite or limestone. This is the only
tool with which a "made in India" emblem is not synonymous with
the user's maiming.
6. Plastic Zip Ties - After 20 years of lashing down stray hose and
wiring with old bread ties, some genius brought a slightly slicked
up version to the auto parts market. Fifteen zip ties can
transform a hulking mass of amateur quality wiring from a working
model of the Brazilian Rain Forest into something remotely
resembling a wiring harness. Of course it works both ways. When
buying a used car, subtract $100 for each zip tie under the hood.
7. Ridiculously Large Standard Screwdriver - Let's admit it. There's
nothing better for prying, chiseling, lifting, breaking, splitting
or mutilating than a huge flat bladed screwdriver particularly
when weilded with gusto and a big hammer. This is also the tool
of choice for all filters so insanely located that they can only
be removed by driving a stage in one side and out the other. If
you break the screwdriver-and you will just like Dad and you shop
teacher said-who cares if it has a lifetime guarantee.
8. Bailing Wire - Commonly known as MG muffler brackets, bailing
wire holds anything that's too hot for tape or ties. Like duct
tape, it's not recommended for concours contenders since it works
so well you'll never need to replace it with the right thing
again. Bailing wire is a sentimental favorite in some circles,
particularly with the MG, Triumph, and flathead Ford set.
9. Bonking Stick - This monstrous tuning fork with devilish pointy
ends is technically known as a tie-rod-separator, but how often do
you separate tie-rod ends? Once every decade if you're lucky.
Other than medieval combat, its real use is the all purpose
application of undue force, not unlike that of the huge
flat-bladed screwdriver. Nature doesn't know the bent metal panel
or frozen exhaust pipe that can stand up to a good bonking stick.
(Can also be use to separate Tie-rod ends in a pinch, of course,
but does a lousy job of it).
10. A Quarter and a Phone Booth - See tip #1 above