Top 10 Tools: Tools a one-man shop can depend on

SHOP: Wal-Tec LLC Automotive

LOCATION: Mogadore, OH

OWNER: Jeff Walberg

Jeff Walberg spent close to 20 years as a technician before deciding it was time to go off on his own. He invested nearly $20,000 to buy the capital equipment he needed and rent space in Mogadore, OH, which is near Akron. As he completes his second year in business, Walberg has managed to make a good living repairing cars, simply by word of mouth. 

1) Dannmar lift D9-2X

The Dannmar lift D9-2X was a crucial piece of equipment for Walberg in starting his shop. He appreciates the fact that when he opens the doors and places the car on the lift, he has more room than other lifts provide. “It gives you a foot more room than the other racks,” he says. “It gives you more room when you open the (car) doors.” This vehicle lift is extra-wide for those larger vehicles, and its extended arm reach will cover most vehicle lifting points. Telescoping full-reach arms increase overall arm positioning for lifting a variety of different wheel base vehicles. Overall arm sweep and minimum arm reach are also extended to precisely lift vehicles that have unibody construction, OEM recommended pick-up points, and wide or narrow wheelbase configurations. For more information on this product, go to:

2) Snap-on Solus Pro scan tool

“Fifty percent of my work is ‘check engine lights.’ I probably do two to three ‘check engine lights a day.’” The Solus Pro scanner provides trouble codes, data parameters and bi-directional tests. It comes standard with domestic and Asian software, and all adapters required for 1996 and newer vehicles. It has USB and mini USB ports for printing, input devices, flash drives and PC connectivity. For more information on this product, go to:

3) Snap-on smoke machine EELD500

“It’s the best one on the market,” Walberg says for the machine he uses for doing EVAP tests on cars sent from used car lots. “You can’t sell a used car with the ‘check engine’ light on,” he gets. The machine automatically performs a calibration and leak-test, with pass/fail results in less than five minutes. All results are clearly readable on the large LED digital display and comes with a wireless remote. The smoke machine ecomes with STAR EnviroTech OEM-approved diagnostic smoke technology and UltraTraceUV dye solution. For more information on this product, go to:,

4) Fluke 88 volt meter

When evaluating voltage, “a lot of times a test light’s not going to tell you the voltage,” Walberg notes. The Fluke 88V has a 30 percent larger display with an adjustable bright white backlight. The unit's high-impact rubber holster protects the meter from accidental drops up to six feet. The unit also has the ability to capture spikes and glitches as short as 250 millionths of a second. There is a magnetic hanger for hands free operation and a plastic carrying case. For more information on this product, go to:

5) Cornwell impact gun CAT 4150

The impact gun comes in handy for a lot of routine maintenance in addition to many repairs. “For even a simple oil change you have to do a rotation. You have to rotate the tires every time you do an oil change.” The Cornwell impact gun CAT4150 combines a composite and magnesium body for high strength and light weight, weighing only 4 lbs with high-efficiency twin-hammer mechanism. This tool features a feather trigger for precise speed control, convenient one-hand direction change and compact design. The handle exhaust directs air away from the work. For more information on this product, go to:

6) Snap-on A/C machine Kool Kare Plus ZEEA 325B

This recovery and recharge unit gets a lot of use in the summer. “It has its own memory; it will tell you how (refrigerant) much the vehicle holds. Plus, it’s set up for the future.” The machine enables technicians to service both hybrid and non-hybrid vehicles, thanks to a menu-selectable function that provides the ability to clear any residual oil from the recycler's fluid circuit and hoses, minimizing the risk of PAG to POE oil cross-contamination. It meets new refrigerant recovery standards J-2788 for high-voltage compressors and features an A/C capacities database and automatic air purge. For more information on this product, go to:

7) Snap-on Dual 80 technology 3/8" ratchet

“I use it a lot when I’m underneath the dash,” The ratchet is meant for locations where extra clearance is needed, such as when a technician is changing spark plugs. It has 80 tooth gear, seven teeth in contact with gear to provide strength and durability, and a sealed head keeps dirt and other contaminants out of the head mechanism. The Dual 80 Technology ratchet requires the least amount of arc to engage the next gear tooth.  For more information on this product, go to:

8) Matco 1/4" ratchet AFR68LFTG

“I use my air tools a lot,” Walberg says. The 14"-drive, 88-tooth Locking Flex Ratchet ensures that the 88 ratchet gear teeth on the gear engage the pawl for an extremely tight, smooth ratcheting action –  producing a swing arc just over 4 degrees. The nine position locking lever on the flex head ensures the ratchet head maintains the desired position regardless of size or applied load within its full 180-degree range. For more information on this product, go to:

9) General Manufacturing Stubby II LED

Walberg uses the Stubby II for ball joints, timing belts, control arms and water pumps. “It puts out a lot of light. You can actually put it in places to see where you’re working.” The light incorporates two four-watt, high output LEDs. The LEDs eliminate shadow lines and provide 5,000K-color bright white light lasting up to 50,000 hours. The Stubby II comes with a one-watt LED flashlight at the fixture end. For more information on this product, go to:

10) Mac Tools 3-lb hammer No. BH32AV

“I like the way it feels in my hand," says for this hammer. "It’s got a rubber handle, so it’s comfortable.” It features patented AntiVibe technology to dampen vibration. This helps technicians keep their hands and wrists pain-free throughout the day. For more information on this product, go to: