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Mechanics Corner: A mechanic’s wish list

PD Staff Published on 09 December 2011


It’s that time of year when people spend time with their families and wait to see what Santa brings them this year.



What’s on your Christmas wish list? A new gadget? The biggest TV on the market? Maybe some new tools?

Progressive Dairyman visited with two mechanics to see what was on their wish lists and what they believed should be on other mechanics’ wish lists this Christmas.

Ken Hall
Diesel Mechanic
Idaho Transportation Department
Shoshone, Idaho

I work for the Idaho Transportation Department. We work on all types of gas and diesel-engine equipment. Some of that equipment has been under harsh conditions, so we have got to have top-of-the-line tools that won’t break. Even then, these tools are placed under a lot of stress.

The following is a list of items that come in handy in my day-to-day work, some of which are on my own wish list.


• Five-piece vise-grip plier set

• Four-piece o-ring pick set
A pick set will help when you need to remove or replace o-rings.

• LED worklight
I have one of these lights that has a rotating magnetic base. I’m lost without it. It has taken two rides on two different trucks this year, but I’ve always managed to get it back.

• Five-piece all-purpose plier set

• Five-piece slotted screwdriver set

• Five-piece Phillips screwdriver set


• 1/2-inch drive, 15-inch long ratchet
This is used in situations where you need more leverage than normal.

• 24-inch ratchet chain wrench
This ratchet chain wrench is good for when you are working on filters.

• Standard box and open-end wrench sets (3/8-inch to 1 1/4-inch)

• Standard metric wrench set (10 mm to 19 mm)


Levi Perkins
Diesel Mechanics Instructor
College of Southern Idaho
Twin Falls, Idaho

The items on the following list that I have compiled include tools that I think other mechanics would like and tools that are kind of trendy right now. I think they’re neat pieces of equipment.

• 3/8-inch drive bit driver
Right now, I think probably a 3/8-inch drive bit driver is one of the handiest tools. They are like a lithium-ion ratcheting bit driver that you can use as an impact gun. They have a small battery, and they’re light.

This is a really good tool that a lot of my students have been getting, too. You can find all the different brands of these drill manufacturers in stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s .

• 3/8-inch drive impact air ratchet from Ingersoll Rand
Ingersoll Rand came out with a 3/8-inch drive impact ratchet that I think is unbelievable. It’s an impact gun but looks just like an air ratchet.

A lot of the air ratchets only have like 50 foot-pounds of torque; this one has about 200. It’s a really neat tool.

• Indexing pry bar
This pry bar is a really small tool, but I think that a lot of guys agree with me that it’s needed. With the GearWrench brand pry bar, you can adjust the angle of the tip of the bar.

The pry bar can then be placed in different spots and works off of leverage.

GearWrench , Craftsman , Snap-on and other manufacturers have their own versions of the pry bar.

• Indexable wrenches with ratcheting heads
GearWrench and other manufacturers make these wrenches. In addition to being able to ratchet, the head on the wrench is indexable so it can turn to several angles.

It seems like a lot of technicians are using this tool more and more because they make it a lot easier to work on equipment.

• Lithium-ion flashlight
The last item I’d mention is a rechargeable lithium-ion flashlight. I think flashlights are probably one of the most valuable tools in a technician’s toolbox. You can never have too many of them.

Craftsman makes a worklight that is a rechargeable flashlight and has a magnetized bar that will stick to a vehicle’s hood. A lot of people stick these flashlights to their cars when they have a flat tire to shine light down where they need it. PD