We like a good hack here. Simple tricks that make working on your car that little bit easier. When it comes to tools, you may be a ‘by the book’ sort of person, an avid reader of instruction manuals, someone who only ever uses a tool in the way the manufacturer intends you to. But breaking the rules can be fun. And productive. And that’s why we are here now to show you five tools you’ve been using wrong.
Extend the breaker bar
Let’s start simple. You only need a rudimentary knowledge of physics (and believe me, that is all I have) to know that leverage is your friend. Leverage is all about applying more force to something, making it easier to move. Your breaker bar is already designed to offer you more leverage in breaking stubborn nuts and bolts free. But sometimes you need even more force, like on an axle nut. Find a piece of pipe and slide it over the end of your breaker bar. You’ve instantly multiplied the force you can exert on a stuck bolt. The longer the bar, the more leverage you get.
Double up the spanners
Keeping with the leverage theme, sometimes you will find yourself needing to undo a fastener in a tight location, meaning you can’t use a ratchet. If you don’t have a long-handled spanner, you can use two combination spanners for extra shove. Use the ring end on the nut, and interlock the ring end of the second spanner with the open end. This will give you a good bit of additional force to be able to apply to the fastener.
Spanners and screwdrivers
We have all come across screws where the head is slightly worn away or mangled. You put your screwdriver in position and find it slipping the moment you begin to turn it. Certain screwdrivers are designed so that you can put the ring end of a spanner over the handle. This will give you the ability to apply extra pressure to the screw, and you will have the grip you need to break it free.
Chasing threads with spare bolts
There are few things worse than a bolt that goes in sideways, mangling the threads inside the hole. Of course, there are kits you can buy that will clean up and re-cut those threads, but you can also do it on the cheap with stuff you’ve got lying round your garage. Take a bolt the same size, and with the same thread pitch, and cut a groove in the end with your grinder or rotary tool. Apply a bit of oil to the end and start twisting it into the hole. You may have to work it in and out a bit, but it will clean up those threads in no time and you’ll be back in business.
Jacks are for jamming
When a ball joint wears out, it becomes loose. This means that, when it comes time to replace them, you find your socket doing nothing but spinning the ball joint round and round in its cup. A simple way to deal with that is to take your jack and apply pressure to the bottom of the joint (obviously, this only really works with ball joints that are fastened on top). This will jam the ball joint, preventing it from moving, and you can quickly zip off the nut.
And just like that, you’ve got five new hacks for your tools to make your spannering life that much easier.