Tools of the Trade for an Automotive Technician

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One of the greatest joys of being an automotive technician is that of owning and using tools. There is something satisfying about having just the right tool for a particular job-and knowing how to use it. A technician's tools are as important as the person's hands and mind. The technician cannot make a living without them.

BUY THE BEST

Anyone who is genuinely sincere about a profession as an automotive technician will buy the best tools he or she can afford. Cheap tools may be fine for the person who makes minor repairs around the house, but the professional technician relies on his or her tools to make a living. The tools will be used many times during the course of a single day and must be able to endure constant use. Poor quality tools are a waste of money.



The tools you buy should be durable, sturdy, well finished, and they should look and feel good in the hand. They may be some of the most expensive tools anyone can buy.

Many companies make excellent tools for the professional technician. If you are interested, you might want to write to some of the tool companies and request a catalog and price list. Some current information can be found at www.etools.org.

TOOL SECURITY

The most beneficial thing anyone can do to protect tools is to identify them. There are plenty of fine tools that you can use to scribe some identifier into each of your tools. The best identification is to scribe your social security number on them.

Some tool companies sell shadow boxes. For each and every tool, there is a groove, slot, or other type of location where it, and only it, belongs and fits. If one of the spaces is empty, you immediately know that one of your tools is missing. Shadow boxes are well worth the investment.

TOOL CARE

The first step in tool care is to use the correct tool for the job. Misuse not only can damage the tool but is a safety hazard as well.

Second, keep your tools clean. Dirt, oil, and grease in a tool can change the lines of force during use, causing the tool to break.

Third, keep tools in good repair. Some tools naturally wear with use. Chisels are a good example. The points get dull, and heads will mushroom from repeated blows from a hammer. Keep the points sharpened. Use a file to remove the mushroomed area and restore the bevel to the head.

The Bare Necessities

There are plenty of package deals that the tool manufacturers offer. For the most part they are excellent bargains. However, the choice of tools is a rather personal thing, and there are some that come with the kit that you may seldom use. In addition, there may be tools that you will rely on much of the time that may not be included in the package. If you cannot afford the full package at the start, you may find yourself in debt to the tool company for a long time.

If you are enrolled in a vocational training school or junior college, tool companies will often offer you a discount. Take advantage of the deals if you are financially able.

If you are on a tight budget, there is no use scrimping too much. After all, this is going to be your livelihood.

TOOL INSURANCE

Consider getting insurance on your tools. Although the shop may have a security system and guard dogs, seldom will it have insurance that will cover the loss of the employee's tools.

Most insurance companies will provide a rider to your homeowner's or tenant's homeowner policy for a small charge. Take advantage of the coverage.
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