I also wondered what are some of the most recent tool inventions for mechanics and technicians that have made car repair easier. Every tool had to be invented, and I found there have been some awesome new tool inventions in recent history. Here is everything I found on the coolest new tool inventions for car repair from my research.
In order to get these answers, I asked a group of professional mechanics on Facebook. What follows is their top ten favorite recent tool inventions.
TLDR: Top Ten Favorite Tool Inventions Voted On By Mechanics
- OTC Hub Grappler
- Milwaukee 1/2″ Cordless M18 High-Torque Impact (Any Milwaukee Cordless Really)
- Vac-Lift Coolant Filler
- Autel Maxicom MK808 (New Bi-Directional Scan Tools W/ Tons of Features)
- Wobble Extensions
- Power Probe IV
- XL Gearwrench Ratchet Wrenches
- KD Tools Master 10mm Socket Set (Of All 10mm Sockets Different Sizes/Drives/Swivels)
- Pico Scope (Oscilloscope)
- Lisle Pneumatic Fan Removal Tool
Top Tool Inventions In 2019 For Car Repair: What are the best buys?
Top Invention #1: OTC Hub Grappler Tool/W Adapters
The hub grappler allows you to replace wheel bearings without ever removing the steering knuckle from the car or truck. Meaning much faster repair times and no trips to the machine shop for DIYers, it can also eliminate the need to use a press for bearings on 9 out of 10 cars or trucks.
Mechanics agree the absolute best hub grabbler is the OTC Professional set which comes with everything you need for pretty much any car front or rear. Yes, the price is a little high, but if you’re going to be working on cars in your garage and you want to avoid investing in a full shop press then this can actually save you money.
It eliminates the need to do alignments after replacing wheel bearings etc. because you are never actually removing the steering knuckle from the car. At around $80 an alignment at least, you are looking at a lot of savings over time.
To check out the price on Amazon and read the current reviews click here, it is a fan-favorite among professional mechanics for top tool invention in 2019.
Top Invention #2: Cordless Battery Impacts– Milwaukee M18 Stubby 3/8″ Fuel Mid Torque
You used to have a compressor, air tools, and airlines running everywhere to have impact guns that could actually loosen tight fasteners.
In 2019, the power of cordless impact guns has increased dramatically. Professionals and DIYers alike, myself included, love the Milwaukee 1/2″ High Torque M18 Impact Gun.
Also, Milwaukee offers like 100’s of different tools and some are very specifically designed to do the same job as air tools. The benefits of cordless tools being they can be portable, you don’t need an expensive compressor, and they’re much easier to quickly move around and grab.
Biggest drawbacks are that they are typically heavier than their air tool comparisons. Also, air tools still in 2019 will hit harder than electric impacts, we will see how long that lasts. However, with the newest Milwaukee 1/2″ gun you’re looking at 1200-1400 ft-lbs of breakaway torque, which puts it up there with many of the air tool equivalents.
Top Invention #3: Vac-Lift Coolant Fillers
- Literally, eliminate annoying air in the coolant. Never fight bleeding coolant again, this tool uses your compressed air to draw coolant through the system and bleed out air. Makes filling coolant systems a breeze, and isn’t expensive at all.
An invention that was designed due to annoying problems bleeding air from the radiator on many cars. This system basically forces coolant into the system using vacuum pressure from a compressor. It takes out all the air along with it, no more waiting twenty minutes constantly checking the funnel for bubbles. Professional mechanics agree on this tool kicks butt, and the model professional mechanics like can be had for really pretty cheap on Amazon here.
Top Invention #4: Scan Tools– Autel Maxicom
Scan tools have gotten better and better every year. If you can afford it the best entry-level mechanic scan tool that is professional level is this Autel Maxicom. It is highly reviewed by professionals, but if that is way too much for you, then the blue driver OBD2 Bluetooth scan tool works great as well. Just it doesn’t have nearly the same level of functionality as the more professional scan tools do. I wrote an entire post on scan tools here, and it gets crazy complicated and in-depth check it out.
Cars have become more and more computerized, which is a good and bad thing for mechanics.
Scan tools have an awesome amount of features in 2019, but at the same time if not used properly can lead you to just throwing parts at a car.
For example, a scan tool may notice a fault in a sensor, and your first instinct may be to just replace the sensor.
However, any professional mechanic that is good, knows that they need to first make sure the sensor is getting proper ground and power first. The difference between many DIY mechanics and good mechanics are that mechanics do not just blindly trust scan tools. Scan tools are used as a guide, not an all-knowing machine. Scan tools mean good mechanics get a ton of business because other mechanics will throw parts at problems and customers will quickly learn they need to find a better mechanic.
Top Invention #5: Wobble Extensions
Wobble extensions are often my go-to extension. They offer you the ability to reach hard fasteners easily, while not being as loose and sloppy as universal extensions. Plus, many wobble extensions come with two settings. One where you slide the socket just slightly onto the wobble extension and it has a lot of free play to “wobble,” and the other where you push the extension completely into the socket and it locks it into place like a normal extension. A tool that is versatile, awesome, and I highly recommend!
Here is a set of wobble extensions that I found for an amazing price. You will seriously use these all the time, and I highly recommend buying this set if you don’t own any already in 2019.
Top Invention #6: Power Probe IV
- Power probes are literally test lights on steroids. They are a multimeter, a power and ground feed, and also part oscilloscope (the version that can do injector pulses). Professional mechanics love them, and they aren’t too expensive that a DIYer should avoid them.
I wrote an article about the top ten cool automotive tools here, and I also talk about the power probe. If you’re just getting started in car repair, or are a trained professional, the power probe is an awesome value tool invention. I highly recommend spending the money and getting the power probe IV, which can be had for a great price on Amazon here.
Top Invention #7: Ratchet wrenches– GearWrench 85988 12 Piece XL Metric Set
Ratchet wrenches are one of my absolute favorite tools ever. They transform your normal combination wrenches into a tool that works fast and well in tight spaces.
I personally think ever mechanic or DIYer should have a full set of ratcheting wrenches at least. This Gearwrench Ratcheting Wrench Set is the set I own and have used for many years. It is crazy cheap and comes with a lifetime warranty.
I also love the Gearwrench XL ratcheting wrenches or the flex-head ratcheting wrenches they make. There are tons of options and all of them are huge time-savers and a tool you will use every day if you work on cars.
Top Invention #8: 10mm Sockets Of All Kinds
Really though, you are going to encounter so many 10mm when you start working on cars, motorcycles, even lawn mowers. When in doubt, just try the 10mm socket. That being said they are also the easiest socket to lose, and the one you should own the most of.
Many professional technicians and adept DIY mechanics are going to have a ton of different 10mm sockets and use them all the time.
My personal recommendations, and from professional mechanics, are to definitely own a set of sockets that include a 10mm socket in all drive sizes (ok, maybe skip 1/2″ 10mm sockets). I highly recommend this 1/4″ socket set which is impact and includes both deep and shallow sockets. For 3/8″ chrome socket set, I love my gearwrench semi-deep set here.
Also, you should honestly have a 10mm 1/4″ Magnetic Socket. I would also have a 1/4″ Swivel 10mm deep socket set. And, for diesel glow plugs, a 10mm super deep socket. You want to have the right tools? Spend like half of your budget on just 10mm sockets 🙂
Top Invention #9: Oscilloscopes — Pico 2205A PicoScope 2 channel
The oscilloscope is the tool you bust out when diagnosing electrical issues or even simple misfires. It allows you to map time versus voltage in extremely small fractions. Meaning you can see what is happening on an electrical circuit right in front of you and slow it down and graph it. This allows technicians to diagnose faulty injectors, misfires, spark-plug wires, etc etc., without guessing.
They are not super easy to use and will take some studying/messing around with. The best Youtuber for learning how to use an oscilloscope is ScannerDanner (click to see his Youtube page).
The best scan tool for an entry-level technician or a DIYer that likes to be on top of their game is the Pico-scope found here on Amazon.
Top Invention #10: Pneumatic Fan Tool–Lisle 43300 Pneumatic Fan Clutch Wrench
The pneumatic fan tool basically means you can remove the fan without having to use a special holder tool or remove any drive belts. It uses power from an air hammer (you will need one of those) to break the fan loose easily. Then just spin it off the rest of your way with your hand.
You are still going to need all the common mechanic tools that have been around for decades to do car repair (read my list here), but every day more and more tool inventions mean easier car repairs. It just happens that cars are also getting more complicated to work on, so don’t worry it is still plenty hard to be a competent mechanic!
Thanks for reading my list of what mechanics think are some of coolest tool innovations and inventions that exist in 2019. Hope you found something in the list you can use, and you like my recommendations.
Click here to read my oil change tip that I learned from aircraft mechanics. It is pretty cool, and I love doing it on cars and motorcycles, even heavy machinery!
Also, be sure to check out my complete list of tools needed for an entry-level mechanic. How many of these do you already own?