Wrenchin’ 101: Tools To Start With
If you’re like us you started reading 4x4 magazines before you ever owned a 4x4. We remember drooling over Armstrong tires, triple shocks, and winches ready to rescue us before our driving permits ever arrived in the mail. When we finally scraped together the nickels to buy our first 4x4 it was a project that barely ran—and when it did run it wouldn’t stop—yet we were blurry-eyed with dreams of vertical rockcrawls, mega-deep mud pits, and trophy truck–style high-speed insanity. We didn’t have that 4x4 very long when we realized we needed more than just dreams. We needed tools. But unlike that 4x4 that lived and died years ago, those tools have stayed with us.
It’s not uncommon that we hear of folks who lost their first truck to rough financial times, rust, or a growing family, but those same people held onto their toolbox. Tools will become an integral part of your 4x4 hobby, not to mention home repair, assisting neighbors, and becoming the guy that can solve the problem. “I can help. I have tools.”
So what do you need to get started? What should you buy first? Or better yet, maybe someone asked you what you’d like for your birthday, bar mitzvah, graduation, Father’s Day, or whatever holiday is coming up. Tools are always a great answer. You can never have enough, and there’s always one more that would make your project a little easier.
The Craftsman tool brand has been around 85 years, with tools first sold through the Sears Roebuck stores in 1927 for fixing early cars and tractors. Craftsman tools can now be purchased through Sears, Kmart, OSH, Ace Hardware, Summit Racing Equipment, and of course Craftsman.com. Craftsman currently offers over 6,000 different handtools in the Evolve, Standard Craftsman, Craftsman Professional, and Craftsman Industrial lines with a lifetime warranty on all handtools (the beginner Evolve line requires a sales receipt). The tools come in a variety of finishes, but the chrome and black oxide finishes are most popular and extremely resistant to rust and wear due to intensive water and salt spray testing. Although the majority of Craftsman handtools are made in the USA, those that are not must still pass stringent testing at Craftsman Laboratories to earn the Craftsman name. Even though most new vehicles use metric fasteners, the inch tools are still outselling metric according to Craftsman’s research, but the gap is closing. Want to see some abusive testing of Craftsman tools? Visit www.craftsmanlabs.com.