Should I Buy Electric Automotive Power Tools?

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No matter what kinds of automotive technician jobs you tend to work, it takes the right power tools to do them correctly. This often begs the question “should I buy electric automotive power tools?” Before we answer that, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of these tools and an alternative.

The case for electric automotive power tools

Let’s begin with the challenger: electric power tools. These are far from a new form, though. Electric power tools are the norm in most people’s garages and throughout their homes. They’re handy, especially when they come with a power pack, yet still plenty powerful too.

They’re also extremely user-friendly. All you have to do is either plug them in or ensure the power pack is attached and you can begin using these tools. There is literally no waiting when you’re using electric tools.

This is especially beneficial for those of you working auto mechanic jobs at a garage or dealership that is typically very busy. One person can put a drill down and another pick it up and begin working right away. You won’t have to worry about some kind of line forming and the entire operation slowing because of it.

Mobile mechanics love them too because it’s easy to take these tools on the road. There’s no need for access to a pneumatic air compressor which is awkward to move around.

The downside of using electric automotive tools

That being said, electric automotive tools – popular though they may be – are not without their drawbacks. One is simply that they tend to cost more than the alternative. Depending on the size of your business, you may find that you need a number of them too, which can quickly add up.

You’re also going to need plenty of electricity. This is why corded electric automotive power tools are really no longer an option. Aside from what a hazard it would be to have all those cords all over the place, you’d most likely run out of outlet space pretty quickly too. Power packs still need to charge, though, which will also take up outlet space. Still, those won’t last through the course of a whole workday, which means you’ll need extra power tools already charged (unfortunately, that will add to your budget).

The alternative: pneumatic tools

Air-powered – or “pneumatic” – tools are definitely worth considering too. For all intents and purposes, the end result is going to be the same in terms of what the tool does. That’s not going to be affected. However, pneumatic tools tend to be better for jobs that require a lot of torque or power. Most electric automotive power tools will be fine for the majority of work you do, but you could find that there is a breaking point.

Despite how much power they can pack, these tools are also a lot lighter. When you’re using these tools day after day, that’s no trivial thing. Fatigue can become a real problem so having lighter tools helps. They’re also smaller. You’ll have an easier time reaching various parts of an automobile without having to remove parts that are in your way.

The arguments against using pneumatic tools

These tools aren’t perfect either. For one thing, air compressors can be expensive. You can try buying secondhand versions, but you’ll need to be incredibly careful to make sure you’re not paying for one that actually has a leak or some other problem.

Although you should work to maintain your electric power tools, you won’t need the same schedule necessary for looking after an air compressor. Otherwise, your investment will soon sour and your shop will be without the tools required for helping customers. Even low-end models that work without the use of oil need regular maintenance.

There is no “portable” version of a pneumatic tool either. The actual tools may be smaller and lighter, but they need air to work which requires you run a hose. These hoses have to be quality too as cheaper ones almost always leak. Just like with running cords, having these hoses all over the floor can be a safety hazard so people will need to be careful.

So what’s the verdict? If you’re looking for tools to use in your own garage, electric probably makes the most sense. You can take these tools indoors too. At a professional garage, some combination of the two would probably be best. You can’t escape the need for pneumatic tools, but the electric models are still helpful.

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John

26 years of experience
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John
26 years of experience
GMC Yukon XL 1500 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - League City, Texas
I am so happy John is back. I trust him very much. He is efficient and has a tremendous amount of mechanical knowledge. He is a true asset to Your Mechanic.
Ford F-150 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Alvin, Texas
I like John because he is very knowledgeable about all my vehicles. In addition he is very organized regarding how he performs his work.

Theodore

15 years of experience
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Theodore
15 years of experience
Mazda 5 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Redmond, Washington
Theodore is a great guy, he was on time and completed the work in less than estimated time. He went beyond and fixed other issue as well.
Subaru Forester - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Marysville, Washington
Theodore was on time, easy to work with, finished the work in less than estimated time, plus fixed an additional issue that arose. The car drives great. We have already referred you folks to a neighbor and will definitely contact you for more work on our two vehicles. Thank You Best Regards Gail & Terry Johnson

Pardeep

20 years of experience
683 reviews
Pardeep
20 years of experience
Toyota Sienna - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - San Jose, California
On time and does the job quickly.. i’ve already had him do my other cars. I appreciate the pictures, assessments, and his quick work. Will use Pardeep again in future.
Acura MDX - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Palo Alto, California
Pardeep was great--it was a follow up appointment and was nice to have him back and taking care of the fixes he identified the first time around. 10/10 would have him service my car again.

Richard

10 years of experience
11 reviews
Richard
10 years of experience
Toyota Avalon - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Elk Grove, California
Well my brakes is needed to be change . Going to car dealer is really to put your money all in and it's takes hours or probably will be done today or you'll end up picking it up tomorrow. Before i book it, i already bought brakes at O'Reilly Auto Parts. Richard finished the job in 3 hours.

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