Tool Q&A: Season arrives for front end specialty tools

Winter is over, summer is here, and people are taking care of their cars again. Their vehicles’ front ends take serious tolls from the winter weather, like rain and snow. Unless of course, you live in California like me, where this year we decided to bypass winter and just start summer, last November. But for the rest of the world, winter was rather harsh. So being that shops who specialize in tires and front-end work have probably started to pick up in business, let's answer questions that focus precisely on that.


Q: For frozen bolts that just won’t budge, is there any hope of removing the bolts without snapping them?

A. As industry professionals, we all know that our tool guy has an answer to all of life’s problems. That’s why we can ask him for the LT 1800 Offset Impact Driver Set by Lock Technology Inc. This set has four, 15-degree offset impact drives that go into your air hammer. Enough hits from the air hammer, then you should be able to remove the frozen bolts in no time. We all know the saying, “If you can’t get it to break loose, get a bigger hammer.” How much more hammer strength can you get than your air hammer?

This set is great for front-end bolts. These are the ones that are most exposed to all the elements and tend to get frozen the most. It is specially made for use on inaccessible bolts around springs, struts, shocks, and front-end work. As a front end technician, this is the tool you want.

On top of this tool, Lock Technology also makes the LT830 Universal Hub Shocker. The LT 830 is perfect for frozen hubs that are more than likely going to be there with your frozen bolts. Simply slide it on the hub and hammer at it with your 5-lb hammer and watch it break loose.


Q: When servicing ball joints, I sometimes struggle to find the right adapters to use. Any suggestions?

A. Aww yes, this is a great one for those who deal with a ton of ball joints. Especially if you have customers who put those outrageous lift kits on their trucks that serve absolutely no off-roading purpose but do a good job at blinding the person in front of them, as well as eating up ball joints. For you guys, there is the Bosch OTC 6529 and 6539 Ball Joint Master Service Kits. These kits comes with over 50 adapters to fit nearly all vehicles up to 2008. The kits also contain diagrams and application charts so you don’t have to sit there staring at the kit, wondering how to rig it up to work on the vehicle in front of you. It definitely cuts down your labor time so you can jump to the next job.


Q: Whats the deal with locking lug nuts?

A: There comes a time — many a time, in fact (usually at least once per week) — when we come across the locking lug. It has been referred to as many things, including lock-lug, lug nut lock, wheel lock, etc. Most of the time, after digging through the glove box, or taking everything out of the trunk of the vehicle, we come across the customer’s locking lug nut key. Of those times we have spent digging to find it, many times afterward we find ourselves cleaning greasy fingerprints off the interior or putting hundreds of items back into the customer's trunk. There are even times we find ourselves having the customer come back from the house and bring it with them. Or how about the times it’s just missing all together?

Luckily, JS Products has created the 16-pc Locking Lug Master Key Set to fit every aftermarket lug lock made. This takes out all the variables with lug locks. No chance to dirty up the interior of the customer’s car, no chance for technicians to forget to put the customer’s key back and later get yelled at by the customer, no chance to make the customer come all the way back to the shop because it’s at home, and most importantly, there’s no chance that a missing lug lock key will force you to ruin a socket to get it off. Or worse, make you lose the job because you can’t get the wheel off.


Q: Is there a tool available to service large axle nuts?

A. A good set for axle nuts would have to be the Cal-Van Tools 12-Point Metric Axle Nut Socket Set. This set comes with all your necessary sizes, including 29mm, 30mm, 32mm, 34mm, 35mm, 36mm, 38mm and 39mm. It fits axle nuts as well as tail output shafts from automatic transmissions for Toyota, Lexus, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, VW/Audi, BMW and many more. It comes with a blow-molded case for storage, and fits easily in drawers on your tool cart. Its strength and durability makes it a long-lasting socket set that easily withstands the strongest impact guns.