What’s in Your Tool Box

MichaelAutomotive Advice

One of Auto Monkey's first jobs was a brake and rotor job on a F-150. I was out on the job chilling with a new mechanic. Occasionally, as the founder, I like to get out and work with our Auto Monkey Technicians. It’s a great opportunity for me to talk to the people that make this company work—also I often get fresh ideas and learn what kind of road blocks they might be encountering. For example: the mobile mechanic's tool box.

Before I go to much further, I think it'd be a great idea to thank this F-150 owner and the others that took a chance on a new company. We didn't have any Yelp or Social Reviews still. They only knew the mechanics were mobile and we offered a 12-month/ 12,000 mile warranty. To customers like these...your patronage is somewhat akin to The Savior reaching into the water to pull up a sinking man.

While we were working on this F-150, we talked for a while. Well, truth be known...for the first few minutes we mostly grunted and griped as tried to get the caliper bolts to release. They were really impacted and wouldn’t budge. Good thing we both brung 5lb sledge hammers! 

If you don't know a mechanic's tool box is somewhat different that what they might have in their shop. It's more portable and basic. We can't carry pneumatic tools...it's cumbersome, there's no electricity and it's heavy. Battery powered impact drills have taken the place of the pneumatic wrench, for the most part anyhow. The most popular impact wrench...from what I can see...seems to be Milwaukee's 18 and 24 impact wrench. These small strong tools fit easily into smaller tool box, tote or bag...and back up batteries are cake to carry too.

As started laying out our gear and setting up to take off the tires and rip in to this project, we got caught up admiring each other’s tool bags. He was sporting a backpack specially designed for mechanic’s tools. It looked a lot like a rock climber’s bag to me, but with subtle differences. I loved the design and compartmentalized look. I asked him about it. He said he really liked his “ruggedized Jans backpack.” I had to laugh at the adjective he used. But he said it wasn’t far from the truth, and showed me the ripping shoulder strap.

mechanic Z-creeper

I learned that the backpack style tool bag cost him around $75. Not a bad investment for a mobile mechanic. Like I said earlier, it’s easy to carry and kept everything compartmentalized. Likely my favorite aspect of the bag.

I, on the hand, went a different way. I used a heavy duty tool tote from Home Depot. The tote has a handle and resembles old school metal tool tote trays mechanics used a lot in shops during my growing up years. Granted the heavy duty tote by Husky is generalized so it can be used by carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other trade professionals, but at a retail price of $35 is pretty dang stellar. 

mechanic's tool box
mechanic's tool box

This tool tote allows me to carry nearly everything I need to handle 90% of jobs on the road. Occasionally, I need to make sure to drop in a specialty tool pending the job. For example, I don’t always carry my impact screwdriver set. I add this in when I know I’m going to be working on rotors, because rotors’ screws almost always need a little added help. Same thing with wrenches and sockets over 13/16” or 18mm. These tools are thrown in on the fly.

The one thing my fellow mobile mechanic was super jealous about wasn’t the tools. Shoot, I think I was somewhat more envious there. No, he was loving my wife’s latest Father’s Day gift to me—the versatile Z-Creeper! This creeper not only lays down to make getting in and out from under cars easier, but it’s the best stool I’ve ever owned! I love this gift. I use it all the time, whether playing around in the garage or working on cars. I honestly don’t know the cost, but if you’re in the market for a new creeper...I’d recommend it. I’m pretty sure she picked it up at AutoZone, but I could be wrong. 

mechanic Z-creeper