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Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/22/22 12:40 p.m.

Let's be honest: Some of our tools are bought on price above all. 

Perhaps we're following the adage of “buy a cheap tool and if it breaks, buy a better one,” or maybe we simply don’t like spending a lot of money.

However, what expensive tool is absolutely worth the crazy price tag?

Read the rest of the story

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/22/22 12:45 p.m.

I have one that we were just discussing this past weekend: Griot's synthetic clay bar. For like $25, you get a piece some kind of rubber bound to a foam handle.

But it's totally magic for pulling junk out of the paint. You can hear, see and feel the difference.  

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/22/22 12:52 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I've heard before that clay bars are definitely worth it if you really keep your paint clean. Next time I'm buying car care products, I'm going to go all out.

Sonic UberDork
6/22/22 12:54 p.m.

The Eastwood brake line flaring tool.  It turns a sad job into an easy one. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/22/22 1:00 p.m.

Good torque wrench. You're using one for a reason, you can't afford a bad one. 

wae PowerDork
6/22/22 1:01 p.m.

A lift.  All sorts of things are easier when I can put the car where I want it.  I even use the lift for interior work - it's much easier to get under the dash when you can stand next to the car and work at eye-level.  $1,800 well-spent.

TJL (Forum Supporter)
TJL (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
6/22/22 1:03 p.m.

Pretty much any specialty tool that works correctly when needed. 

i was majorly impressed with following


brake flare tool

bearing removers/presses

hub flange tool

Im sure there is plenty more, but just having the exact right tool for the job that makes it quick and easy vs having to just scratch, hammer, bang and inevitably getting pissed and breaking or damaging what you are working on. 

ShawnG MegaDork
6/22/22 1:03 p.m.

Power Probe.

Incredibly hand for electrical diagnostic. 

kb58 SuperDork
6/22/22 1:07 p.m.

TIG welder, lathe, and a mill, and you can make or fix anything.

kb58 SuperDork
6/22/22 1:08 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

I have one that we were just discussing this past weekend: Griot's synthetic clay bar. For like $25, you get a piece some kind of rubber bound to a foam handle.

Jerk, now I have to have that!

pointofdeparture UltimaDork
6/22/22 1:10 p.m.

A nice, high-quality multimeter.

I got a Fluke as a gift a few years ago and I use it way, way more than I ever would have thought.

trakktapedude New Reader
6/22/22 1:16 p.m.

Hands down, a lathe and a mill.  Once you have them, you can never do without them. Not a machinist?  Go YouTube. Joe "Pie" is the best teacher. 



Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/22/22 1:19 p.m.

Mastercool flaring tool



aw614 Reader
6/22/22 1:21 p.m.

A decent OBD2 scanner and for VW's VAGCOM/VCDS. 

No Time
No Time SuperDork
6/22/22 1:23 p.m.

Not super expensive, but so much easier than pliers. I finally gave in and spent the $40 on a set yesterday to replace the lower hose on the 98 Ram. 

6/22/22 1:24 p.m.


Knipex Parallel Jaw Pliers.  1 tool to grab that will take off just about any nut or bolt.

wspohn SuperDork
6/22/22 1:26 p.m.

Good micrometer and a dial indicator and magnetic stand.

rob_lewis UberDork
6/22/22 1:26 p.m.
  1. Beta Tools t-handle hex wrenches.  Karts have a ton of hex wrench bolts so mine were used a lot.  Never rounded off.  The sliding t-handle part was something I didn't think was a big deal and now get frustrated when I don't have one.  They're stupid expensive, but one of the few tools that I was happy to spend money on.
  2. Gear Wrench cross force ratchet wrenches.  I got a Craftsman set years ago as a Christmas present.  Thought the twist in the handle was a little gimmicky.  Boy was I wrong.  Wrenching on a bolt and being able to push against a flat surface instead of the edge of a wrench is so much more comfortable and easier to apply force to.  I honestly am shocked more companies don't offer something similar (maybe it's patented). They're harder to find now, but I always recommend them.



6/22/22 1:31 p.m.

Hands down Kinipex Cobra pliers 

93gsxturbo UltraDork
6/22/22 1:37 p.m.

Glad to see a few of my favorites already mentioned.

  • Mastercool flaring kit - anything else would be uncivilized
  • Snap-On screw drivers, sockets, wrenches, picks, and bits (hex, torx, etc)
  • Ingersoll-Rand air impact wrenches
  • Milwaukee M12 and M18 power tools
  • Name brand cutting and grinding wheels (bonus points if from an industrial supplier/weld shop and not a big box store)
  • Name brand drill bits, taps, and dies
  • CRC Brake Cleaner (heck, most of the CRC stuff is excellent)
  • Irwin quick clamps and bar clamps
  • USA Made Vice Grips
Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/22/22 1:50 p.m.

I'll put a vote in for good power tools. Fighting with off-brand stuff is just a miserable experience. 

fidelity101 UberDork
6/22/22 1:59 p.m.

for me hands down this:

Rotary Compression Tester

it can help pinpoint issues and support troubleshooting but its also good at ruining your day with said information. 

rluciano GRM+ Memberand New Reader
6/22/22 2:07 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Fortunately mine arrived yesterday. Now I just have to use it. smiley

300zxfreak Reader
6/22/22 2:07 p.m.

In general, the cordless impact wrench (compact  size is even better ), and for Audi owners, the VCDS software.....lots of fun.

evildky SuperDork
6/22/22 2:10 p.m.

Cordless drill and impact driver, it's my superpower.
My first cordless drill was a 7.2 volt Black & Decker that you had to plug in to charge. I've owned a number of brands and voltages. My current is Dewalt 20v and I'm heavily invested in their eco system. 

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