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

June 6, 2014
Winter took its toll on many vehicles' front ends.

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, 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 have probably started to pick up in business, lets answer questions that focus on precisely that!

Q: Whats the deal with locking lug nuts?

A: There comes a time... many a time... in fact, usually at least once a week, when we come across the locking lug. It has been referred to as many things, including lock-lug, lugnut 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 lugnut key. Of those times we have spent digging to find it, many times we find ourselves, later, cleaning greasy finger prints off the interior or putting hundreds of items back into their 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/Steelman Pro has created the 16-piece Locking Lug Master Key Set. It will fit every aftermarket lug lock made. This takes out all the variables that can go wrong 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: What should I use for 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, 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 even 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.

Q. For frozen bolts that just won’t budge, is there any hope without snapping them?

A. Come on now, 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 for use on inaccessible bolts around springs, struts, shocks, and front end work. So you can see, as a front end technician, this is the tool you want!

On top of this tool, they also make the LT830 Universal Hub Shocker. This one is perfect for those 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-lbs hammer and watch it break loose.

Q. What about the ball joints?

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 offroading 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. The time you save with the kits pays it off quickly; and in this industry, time is money!

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