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      06.06.2001 06:52
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      When you buy tools for using with a car, you need to strike a balance between getting something which is good enough quality to do the job, at a reasonable price, and for a task that you will need to do often enough. There is no point in buying beautifully crafted tools if they cost a lot and hardly ever need to be used. You would be better off to pay for someone else to do the work for you (assuming you can find someone with the appropriate skills). There are times when its worth buying good quality tools from the outset - good quality flat blade and posidrive screwdrivers will always be useful. Other times, its best to get budget tools and replace the bits that you use most often with better quality items. For instance, its nice to have socket sets with imperial and metric sizes, using 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch ratchets. There are times when a 10mm 1/4 inch drive socket will fit into gaps that a 10mm 1/2 inch drive socket will not. Other times, the smaller socket would not be deep enough to fit. If you ever plan to replace a ball joint from a car, then get a scissor action ball joint seperator rather than one of the ones you hit with a hammer. They are much less hassle. Similarly, its well worth getting a torque wrench early on in your repair career - as thats the time when you don't have the feel for how much you can tighten nuts before they get rounded off or the bolt snaps. Try to build up a collection of odd nuts and bolts. Then when you lose a vital part, you'll have the option of finding a replacement from your own stocks instead of having to extract the lost nut from an inaccessible crevice. I like to keep lots of stocks of Allen headed bolts with Nyloc nuts. I've never managed to break one of these, or had one come lose. If you have the choice of replacing an existing nut and bolt with one of these, you can keep the old one in your box of bits for later use. Finally, don't try and start jobs shortly before
      you really need to use your car. If something goes wrong, its no fun having to work things out when your stressed.

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