New Favorite Tool

Well, any new tool I buy is my favorite when I buy it.

It’s a 1/2" drive impact wrench with Li-ion battery and 200 lb-ft of twist. I tried to open the brake pad holder on the front right, and the bolt wouldn’t budge. No doubt that is thanks to the auto repair shop that put the tires on, and went looking for additional revenue. At least they told me my pads were low, although the wear bar had no started rubbing. It worked great! But I only used it once. I wasn’t about the use it to retorque the stuck bolt or the 5 wheel bolts. I used my 1/2" drive socket wrench on the brake bolt and a 4-way lug wrench on the wheels. The next time I want to remove the wheels or brake bolts, it will be a breeze though.

What exactly is a brake pad holder?

I’m Guessing A Brake Pad Holder Is The Brake Caliper (Or It Could Be The Caliper Bracket Or Carrier).


Brand, outlets?

@jtsanders Don’t be so quick to blame the shop that looked at your vehicle the last time

There are some manufacturers out there that slather so much threadlocker on the caliper bolts, that you can hardly see the threads. Every time I remove a “virgin” caliper bolt, on one of those vehicles, I almost have a stroke. And that’s using a super long 1/2" breaker bar with an impact socket. Chrome sockets shatter, and there is literally no room to use an impact. Not unless you want to remove the leaf springs to gain some clearance. And you can forget using a long combo wrench. A slugging wrench might theoretically work, but I don’t have one

For some next to impossible to remove bolts, you can point the finger at the factory

I’m sticking with air tools for now. Aside from the cost being quite high, those cordless impacts with the power approaching that of air tools weigh enough that some guys are developing wrist and elbow problems from hoisting them around all day.

And @db4690 is right about the loctite on brakes. Seems to me especially on Fords, it’s often easier to heat the bolt with a propane torch than to bust your n*ts with breaker bars.

Yeah, the caliper. I was thinking the caliper bolts are the ones that hold the entire caliper assembly onto the hub. I’ve put brakes on twice before and lubed the bolts the last time I did it. The other side was tight, but I could loosen it. The right side was locked in place.

I am just using the tool for DIY work. I agree that any shop should use air tools since you need compressed air anyway. Commercial quality air tools are more rugged that what I bout, I’m sure.

I’ve Rattled Out Quite A Few Bolts With My $40 (frequent sale) 1/2" Harbor Freight Corded Electric Impact Wrench (Claimed To Have “Up To 230 Ft. Lbs.” Of Torque.)

It’s big. It’s heavy. It has only 1 speed forward and reverse.
For home mechanic, non-professional, occasional use, it works well.
Hey, what do you want for forty bucks?


I’ve got a cheapo air impact and really doesn’t do much for breaking bolts loose. I usually break them manually then use the impact for speeding the job. Likewise on assembly, I don’t trust it and manually torque important fasteners. First thing I do though when someone else has messed with my wheels is to re-torque them.

I bought a battery drill driver a couple months ago which was really my first portable tool. I really like it. I got a tool bag and added drills and screwdriver bits and other normally used items. Now everything is in the bag so when I need to take it somewhere I just grab the bag. I liked it so well, I put another kit together for my son for Christmas. Just in case though, I’ll throw in the corded drill with more power and longevity.

My latest favorite tool is a pole mounted chainsaw to trim large branches.

With all the severe weather we’ve been having in the last year, this guy came in handy and saved me almost $1000 by not having to hire a commercial operator. It’s also a good muscle builder!

Personally, I like 1/2" cordless impacts

However . . . there are plenty of situations, where even the most powerful and expensive cordless impact can’t get the job done, whereas my 1/2" air impact does it without breaking a sweat

But they have their uses. When I need to work on a truck out in the back parking lot, which is beyond the reach of even the longest air hose. When my hoist will be tied up for quite awhile. For the occasional “service call”

Like @asemaster said, they’re kind of heavy, and I don’t use them under normal conditions. My body has to last “a few more years”

Back when I was still at the dealer, I often used 3/8" air impacts when doing interior work. But I don’t do so much of that at the moment.

I paid list price at Home Depot for it, but I was in a hurry to get the job done before the New England weather visited us here in the sunny south this weekend. It’s snowing hard tonight and is supposed to be near zero Sunday and Monday mornings. Tough by our standards, but just another day for many of you guys that live up north. @Docnick would probably welcome a day near zero about now.

Actually I envy you getting snow. Here in southern Minnesota we haven’t hardly had any this year. There’s just something soothing about a good blizzard and a foot or two of snow once in a while. Plus I need to get a few more hours on my snow blower this year. Sit tight.

I rented one of those chain saws on a pole. Worked good but gotta be careful not to get it stuck. I got it stuck probably by not notching underneath first, then had a heck of a time getting it down again from hanging in the air.

Bing, I would happily send you our storms if I could. Personally, as the years pass I appreciate snow less and less. It’s snowing… again… as I write this. I’m starting to consider ways to improve the gas mileage on my snowblower. These past years I’ve never wanted to see another snowflake. If the opportunity presented itself I’d move south in a heartbeat.

As regards my favorite automotive tool, I guess I don’t have one. I’m just glad I have enough that when I’m working on the car I have whatever I need handy when I need it.

One of our customers is a carpet cleaning/water damage company, with a big dually box van that’s too big to fit inside. Last year it needed a transmission, and the Matco dealer loaned me a 1/2" impact to help with the job, sure that I would buy it after seeing how easy it made the job. Never again. Flatbacking that trans was hard enough, but that heavy impact almost did my wrist in. I still just pull air hoses out back.

Some of those bolts are really tight and should be. Some are supposed to be tightened at over 175 foot pounds of torque. I am happy to hear that your battery powered impact driver worked so well.

Some of those thread locked caliper, knuckle and other structural bolts are a challenge even for my biggest air gun. Heat or extreme leverage can be your friend on the first removal :wink:

I bought one of those chain saws on a pole and used it for the first time last Sunday. It was Wednesday before my shoulder and neck muscles were back to semi normal. Even though it did the job, and saved me several hundred $$, it is NOT my favorite new tool. I’m not as young as I once was.

@MG McAnick: I bought one of those “JawSaw” chainsaws a few years ago. I will say it’s one product that actually works as well as the infomercials lead you to believe. It makes trimming and even cutting down small saplings effortless and a lot safer than my old saw, especially when using it on the extension attachment. When using a standard chainsaw on a pole, I always felt like I was juggling hungry sharks that would bite me if I slipped up.

I still have the 3/4 drive Craftsman electric impact wrench that my grandfather had. I used it on my cars when I was a teenager and it still works as well as it ever did, over 30 years later. This of course is from when Craftsman made all their own stuff and you could depend on it.

The problem with leverage for a DIYer is having a lift. I put it up on a home floor jack, pull the tire off, and have at it. I first try an 18" breaker bar, which worked on one side after a lot a cajoling, but didn’t work on the other. If I had it on a commercial lift, I could have gotten some real leverage, but not on the home jack.