Tool replacement - zookeeper
hi room, with it being a new year / decade i was thinking of giving the tool box a make over, nothing major (200-300 quid) some sugestions please... a decent socket set i think but im ok for large sizes i really need a good metric set up to about 13mm and a decent wrench....a code reader probably ? any pointers from the experts would be welcome.
ive enrolled for a mechanics course at the leicester college nothing serious but a general starter course, at the end of the day anything that helps cut down on running costs and servicing/repairs has to be a step in the right direction.......cheers zoo

Edited by Pugugly on 01/01/2010 at 18:10

tool replacement - 659FBE
I bought a Halfords 150 piece socket/spanner set for my son's christmas present - half price in the sale at just under 100 GBP.

It looks to be of very good quality (probably made in Czech Republic) and has a lifetime warranty for the non moving parts.

Of course, there was an ulterior motive - my newish VAG vehicle has several stupidities such as 16 and 18 AF hexagons, for which I'm not going to invest tools for myself now. The deep sockets for glowplugs will also be handy.

It's a good kit of spanners - but it really needs the 1/2" to 3/8" square adapters and a sliding Tee bar + a breaker bar for hub nuts to complete the kit - but he can get those as he needs them.

tool replacement - ifithelps
...decent socket set...

Yes, this set is more than £100, but these are not just tools, they are jewels, to be loved and treasured over a lifetime.

They cost a lot because they are simply the best, better than all the rest.

I've had mine 30-odd years, they've been thrashed at times, yet they still wipe up like the ones in the picture.

Edited by ifithelps on 01/01/2010 at 17:57

tool replacement - 659FBE
Have a look at the Halfords kit and do a value judgement. I have a few Snap-On tools and they're nothing special.

A lifetime warranty from a major retailer "screwed to the floor" as opposed to mobile franchises is another consideration.

tool replacement - scouseford
Tools? Could somebody please explain?
tool replacement - ifithelps
... I have a few Snap-On tools and they're nothing special...

Some are, some aren't.

I've always thought sockets is something Snap-On do particularly well.

Buying just the popular sizes - 10mm, 13mm, maybe a couple of others - is worth thinking about if cost is an issue.

As regards the warranty, personal experience has taught me any Snap-On man will change one of my tools if I manage to break it - even through misuse, provided it's not too obvious.

Wonder what would happen if I walked into Halfords and said: ''I bought this socket in 1977, or it might have been 1978, it broke yesterday and I expect you to replace it.''

Not knocking Halfords, by the way, one of the last tools I bought was a Halfords adjustable spanner for the caravan - nice, well-balanced tool, but not the best and priced accordingly.

You pays your money and you makes your choice.

tool replacement - zookeeper
thanks for replies.. are draper any good , getting mixed responses on the interweb..if its not snap-on (too dear) or some poxy aircraft grade tools ..whats that all about?
tool replacement - WorkshopTech
Draper fine for DIY, we even have some we use professionally.
tool replacement - sierraman
Draper fine for DIY we even have some we use professionally.

Draper Expert are usually OK,ordinary Draper is pretty well carp these days.
tool replacement - WorkshopTech
The OP sounds like a modest DIYer so I wouldnt go spending £200+ on tools unless you know what your going to do withthem Snap on woudl be complete overkill. The Halfords Pro range are fine for DIY. What else depends on what car you have. If VAG then youll need torx and spline bits and an oil filter socket is nice. I have set of 1/2" drive deep impact hex sockets and use them a lot, especially on suspension work becuase there is a lot less risk of rounding off. A cheap elec impact wrench (like £15) also useful - they are suprisingly good and OK for very occassional use. Also buy a draper 1/2 and 3/8 torque wrench. All other bits buy as you need and look out for Lazer special tools (e.g. piston retractors etc).
If you want a scan tool try Autel on Ebay.
tool replacement - henry k
Do not forget some Quality screwdrivers.
In addition I would not be without my collection of long ( 50cm) bladed screwdrivers.
I have also found a ratchet right angled screw driver very useful.

There are now a wide variety of LED torches, lights that strap on your head and inspection lights available.
tool replacement - 1400ted
I've not really bought any serious tools for years, just the odd replacement for a lost or broken spanner.
What Snap-ons I have were found under the bonnets of cars that I attended as breakdowns over the years. ......13 & 17 combis and a full rail of 3/8 deep drive metric sockets..including a useful 16mm.
I need Whitworth, some of my best are a small set of 1/2 inch ex WD sockets and a set of 6 big ring spanners from a customer who worked on Lancasters in the war. Not good lookers but strong and well made.
Never bought decent kit for use on the road, you don't mind losing a cheap tool.
Rolson make a nice head torch with a strap that goes over the top from back to front as well as the one that goes round. very comfortable.AF stuff rarely gets used now.....only the Velocette and the Raleigh need those. Drapers are well made and comfortable to use for domestic garage work.

tool replacement - gordonbennet
Halfords Pro range are not bad, worth waiting till they have a sale when imo Halfords take some beating on value for money.

One of my most useful tools is an impact socket set, being 6 sided and very tough they will shift all but the most stubborn of rusted nuts and bolts, you can hammer the things on and give the extensions a good bashing if needed.

I use impact sockets in preference to normal sockets if there's room to get them on (being heavier and wider than usual) they will not slip.
tool replacement - George Porge
I've had a set of these for 20 years

I bought these yesterday £50, reduced from £110

And these at Xmas

The 2 halfords are current sales offers

Edited by Dox on 02/01/2010 at 10:50

tool replacement - piston power
Why not buy second hand for a time until you know extactly what you need rushing out spending £300 on some gear might be a waste.

This set of mine is some snap on, britool,mac tools, facom, then draper expert. plus air tools.

Got some cheap junk too they come in handy for bending grinding to fit etc.

The snap on tool chest was £550 on it's own and can get silly buying if just for home use plenty of bargains to be had at carboot sales, id say save your cash till you know exactly what you need.
tool replacement - ifithelps
3/8" drive is the way to go for cars, 1/2 is too clumsy.

Which brings us to another reason to buy Snap-on - their 3/8" drive sockets are just as strong if not stronger than the 1/2" drive in some of the home bodgers' sets.

I do have a single rail of Snap-on 1/2" impact sockets and an 18" breaker bar, which I've lent to other people a few times.

On each occasion the fixing they were trying to move snapped or twisted off.

No point in having anything stronger and with more leverage than that.

tool replacement - bell boy
3/8 is no good for suspension work
i usually use 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch only resorting to 3/8ths if space is tight
dont buy into snapon as the drivers fees are too much to keep his franchise alive
im a britool fan and also king dick but this will probably fail the swear filter even though its a good brand
tool replacement - gordonbennet
I do have a single rail of Snap-on 1/2" impact sockets

Funnily enough i just happened to have a narrow bodied 6 sider snap on socket (13 or 14mm) not impact surprisingly and no room for any other socket to get it cleanly.

This was to undo the top bell housing bolt on a 84 room from on top, i ended up tilting gearbox/engine back and using about 5 ft of extensions to drive the socket from the back of the gearbox.
If i hadn't had this particular socket i'd have had to remove engine and box complete.

I think whatever anyone buys they shoud keep their old stuff in a waterproof box, times i've had to use old sockets, extensions etc as drifts to drive out bushes and such.

Edited by gordonbennet on 02/01/2010 at 12:34

tool replacement - ifithelps
...i just happened to have a narrow bodied 6 sider...

Another good point GB.

A mix of makes is always best because the length, size, or angle of one tool will just suit a job where another will not fit.

Especially true of spanners - I always kept three or four different makes and types of the popular sizes.

Having said that, to be fair to Snap-on, each spanner size comes in all manner of lengths, head angles and offsets.

And if you want a certain depth of socket, or a universally jointed one, or...
tool replacement - henry k
Large sets of tools always seem to have so many sockets that I would never have used.
I would buy a smaller set and raid some car boot sales for other parts.

A couple of items I have found very useful:-
A not very common spinner ratchet like this
and a short handle flex ratchet.

Edited by henry k on 02/01/2010 at 13:01

tool replacement - ifithelps
...spinner ratchet...

I have one - it give you that extra bit of twist over and above fingers alone.

Very handy.

tool replacement - zookeeper
thanks all for that mixed bag of advise....all taken on board ...the halfords kits that are on offer look rather tempting .....cheers zoo
tool replacement - dxp55
+1 on impact six sided sockets.
tool replacement - 659FBE
The 150 piece Halfords set I bought for my son has 4 impact sockets included in the kit - handy for overtightened wheel bolts and the like.

The offer for this set at about 100 GBP seems to have stopped now whilst the other sets are still being discounted. A bit of arm twisting might yield a result - although most outlets do not employ anyone who is empowered with any form of judgement...

tool replacement - J Bonington Jagworth
...spinner ratchet...

Some standard ratchets have a similar knurled wheel built-in (and cost a lot less than $45!), but what I would really like is a ratchet with the sort of drive that allows you to spin the handle like a screwdriver until the nut is tight enough to require normal operation.

I have a set of Sealey combination spanners that are particularly slender and often squeeze into places that would otherwise be inaccessible. Despite this, they are amazingly tough and withstand my frequent bashings with a mallet.

There is something deeply satisfying about good tools, and I speak as one who had made do with all sorts over the years.
tool replacement - J Bonington Jagworth
Hard to argue with those, Dox. Having browsed the site a bit, I have to say that Halfords has gone up in my estimation, both for having a usable website (as opposed to B&Q's, which I gave up with yesterday) and for listing things like this:
tool replacement - J Bonington Jagworth
"long ( 50cm) bladed screwdrivers"

Do you find that long screwdrivers work better? I have a theory that the longer shafts store more torsional energy and release it as the screw begins to turn. I've certainly found really short (stubby) screwdrivers to be particularly bad at shifting tight screws!
tool replacement - piston power
Do you find that long screwdrivers work better?

I have used the same snap-on ratchet screwdriver in orange! for the past 22 years just fit the bits in the end this works on everything from jubilee clips to large screws.

As for large ones i have no real use they seem to be used for pry bars, the thing with tools we buy them and all use them differently and you just get into a way of using them that suits you the best.
tool replacement - GroovyMucker
I thought this was going to be something to do with my old dad's joke about a two litre Jaguar.
tool replacement - gordonbennet
. I've
certainly found really short (stubby) screwdrivers to be particularly bad at shifting tight screws!

Agreed, though it might be illusion as it's not often to get a wide bladed stubby, though they look fairly wide compared to their length.
I use as long as possible to fit, much easier to keep exactly straight whilst exerting pressure and downward force.

Reminds me, i don't know where my impact screwdriver is better find that before i need it in a hurry.
tool replacement - henry k
>>Some standard ratchets have a similar knurled wheel built-in (and cost a lot less than $45!)
I paid a fraction of that price for mine. I just included the illustration as, IMO, it is not a common tool.
gordonbennet - re screwdrivers

>>I use as long as possible to fit, much easier to keep exactly straight whilst exerting pressure and downward force.
I agree. If there is space I sometimes use a sweep brace with a screwdriver bit. This allows maximum pressure with lots of torque ( sometimes too much and the screw snaps.)
tool replacement - ifithelps
Long and short screwdrivers to me are like a pistol and a rifle - it's easier to aim the rifle and you feel more in control.

Main use for long screwdrivers was bottom hoses.

As regards the spinner ratchet, the one in the link looked expensive, even for Snap-on.

Don't think I paid anything like that for mine.

Edit: Just checked the UK website, it's listed at £22.

Edited by ifithelps on 03/01/2010 at 15:17

tool replacement - AndyTheGreat

Halfords tools seem to be of quite good quality these days, I have a couple of items from there in the tool box. Snap stuff is pretty good, but can still be broken - I've broken snap-on breaker bars before, lifetime warrenty helps though.

I would suggest avoiding those sets that contain 1000's of sockets - 95% of them will never be used. Start with a small rack of good quality sockets and spanners and then grow over time. On the sockets go for six sided ones.
tool replacement - henry k
>>>> As regards the spinner ratchet the one in the link looked expensive even for Snap-on.
Don't think I paid anything like that for mine.

>>>> Edit: Just checked the UK website it's listed at £22.

I paid less than £5 for my unbranded one.
A couple of interesting spin ratchet varients.
Tool replacement - L'escargot
I buy tools as necessary, rather than in sets. Draper online are good for speciality tools. I bought a wiper arm removal tool from them, and although I rarely need to use it it's invaluable when I do need it.
Tool replacement - DP
I've had sterling service from my largely Halfords pro toolkit (built up in stages). My oldest Halfords ratchet must be about 15 yrs old now and still works perfectly, despite the fact it's been mercilessly abused on occasion. Good sockets too - never broken one yet.

I'm sure they're crap compared with the professional tools out there, but they are affordable, and they are of good enough quality to last. As I said, some of my toolkit is well over a decade old, has been used hard, and still cleans up as new.

I still have a Draper slide hammer with clutch clips and input shaft adaptor for a mk2 Cavalier/Astra clutch replacement. Been used twice in the 15 yrs or so I've had it (once by me, once by a mate). I wonder if it will ever see use again?

Edited by DP on 05/01/2010 at 09:06

Tool replacement - piston power
A few years back the guy next door bought himself a roll cab and top box in polished aluminum from costco filled it with tools but he did not know one end of a spanner from the other! cost about £500.00.!!

It looked great outside his garage on a summers day to impress the neighbours.!

Draper expert are good quality for everyday use at a good price a local guy came into work selling them and gave a guarantee just like snap-on.

No need to spend a fortune and those code readers have really come down in price from a few years back plenty of good deals to be had.
Tool replacement - zookeeper
what about downloading OBD2software onto a lap top and buying a DLC connector to my laptops coms usb port?
Tool replacement - turbo11
My tools are my living. Having worked in F1 and WRC for over two decades, I have accumulated an enormous amount of kit. Most of my tools are Snap on. Although fairly expensive, daily use has shown them to be a very worthwhile purchase. Many are approaching thirty years of age and going strong.
I also have a large amount of Beta, Facom and Mac tools which were provided to me, at large discount or mostly free of charge. Most are decent , but the odd one or two was rubbish and didn't last five minutes. I now have had to increase the security of my garage as my insurance company werent happy with £8-10K of tools residing in various tool chests,boxes and cupboards. I think for most weekend warriors, then Halfords or Britool will suffice.
Tool replacement - J Bonington Jagworth
I was going to mention Bahco (long-established Swedish brand) but then discovered that they are now owned by Snap-on!

How long before all this stuff is made in China, I wonder? That's not a criticism, BTW - merely an observation...
Tool replacement - sooty123
Started using tools from Germany recently called Stahlwille pretty good first time I've used them. A close run thing with snap on as which one are the best for everyday use.
Tool replacement - J Bonington Jagworth

Among the best, IMO. All still made in Germany, apparently (most manufacturers are a bit coy about where their stuff is produced). Britool, for whom I have/had high regard are now owned by Stanley, as are Facom. I realise that quality control is more important than where a thing is made, but it's easier to exercise locally.
Tool replacement - sooty123
Have to agree with many of the other poster on here about snap on. My employer provides tools for us and through various (false) economy drives we buy from a cheaper tool company and we always come back to snap-on, although these new tools are good. Snap-on aren't perfect and they do have to be thrown away and new ones bought but it happens a lot less than other companies tools.
Tool replacement - ifithelps
Snap-on tools have a lovely balance and feel to them, they are a joy to use.

I also have a set of Kamasa spanners, German I think.

Good, sturdy tools, which still look pretty much as new, after a wipe with an oily rag.

But 'weigh' one in your hand, or use it, and you are instantly reminded it's a budget tool.
Tool replacement - SteveLee
As other have implied the Halfords Professional range is as good as anything at any price, Falcon, Snap On etc. I've bought nothing but Halfords Professional since they were released - I've never had a single problem, not one worn or broken socket despite lots of abuse over a decade. They've got a half price sale on socket sets at the moment. The torque wrenches are great too.

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