Progress and Innovation

If nothing ever changed, life would be boring. Automotive technology changes every year, and that will never change. For people who like tools, this is a good thing.

For many of us, tools are more than just the means of getting a job done. Whether it’s the delicate precision of a finely-made specialty tool that you use like the artist you really are, or just a BFH that you get to swing for all you’re worth, good tools bring a satisfaction that deepens our appreciation of them. For people like this, discovering a new tool can really push some buttons.

If you fix cars for a living, you buy new tools just to stay in business, and tools for professionals ain’t cheap. That’s OK as long as you have some assurance that they will return your investment. Pros expect to pay for value.

So who’s to judge the value of a tool? The pros who use them every day. That’s why each month we ask techs in the shop to evaluate tools for Tool Review. But once a year we go a little farther.  

Each year we present a special collection of tools for evaluation by professionals who work in the shop every day. These tools were either introduced or drastically changed over just the previous year. Each one is a response to your ongoing need for new tools, so each was developed to meet a specific need. It may be something completely new, like an offset wrench to reach a bolt on a new car model. It may be a modification that makes an existing tool easier to use, like a tester that’s updated with go/no-go lights so you don’t have to read a meter while standing on you head under a dashboard.

Our evaluators are not editors or journalists. They are techs and shop owners from all over the country, and taken together they work on cars, trucks, diesels, motorcycles, classic cars and even alt-fuel vehicles. They rate each tool on a list of objective questions and also provide their own opinions about them.

The winners in each category receive the Professional Tool & Equipment Innovation Award, presented at the AAPEX Tradeshow in Las Vegas. This year there are 24 winners.

If you can’t make it to AAPEX, you can still see the winners on our new website, Everything you’ve seen on is there, but now it’s combined with our sister publication’s website, so you can see what’s going on in the world of Fleet Maintenance. The new website also has a new search function, so it’s easier to find something specific. In the coming months, there will be lots more news and videos that show tools in action.

So we’re changing too, but not just to avoid boredom. Like the proud companies that participate in our Innovation Award competition, we’re innovating to meet your needs, today and in the future.