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10 Tool Hacks You Can Use Today

10 tool hacks you can use on your car today

You don't need a special tool for every special job you need to do around your garage – common household items, and everyday tools can often be re-purposed in a pinch of you know how to use them. Here's a quick list of 10 helpful tool hacks:

1) Use two wrenches together for extra leverage

This may be hard to visualize, but if you hook the closed, or box end of a combination wrench to the opened or spanner side, you suddenly have a wrench that is twice as long. Bingo: instant extra torque. Slip one half of the "C" through the box wrench so the center of the open end rests against the closed end near the shaft, as you move the wrench the top of the box end will press against the shaft of the open end and act like one solid tool.

2) Make a breaker bar with a length of pipe

Known as a 'cheater bar' by some, a wrench or ratchet handle with a length of pipe over the end acts as a perfect breaker bar for those tough nuts to crack. The longer the pipe, the less force you need to apply to the end of it, but bear in mind how much force the wrench or ratchet can take. Many tools and bolts have been broken this way.

3) Use a pencil as lubrication

Pencil lead is actually made of graphite, and graphite is the preferred way to lubricate delicate mechanisms like lock tumblers, because even light oils will attract dust and gum things up. You can rub the pencil point on keys to help lubricate locks, or the threads of nuts and bolts in a pinch to make them thread easier.

4) Use a 4-way screwdriver and drill for hard to reach screws

If you have one of those handy 4-way or even 6-way screwdrivers, the kind there the shaft pulls out of the handle, and there are interchangeable bits in each end, plus built in nut drivers, you can chuck it up in your drill and reach many hard to get at screws. Clamp the drill to the other end of the shaft, and you can drive screws or even small nuts with the bit end.

5) Use an wrench as a screwdriver

If you are working in a tight spot, where there just isn't room for a long screwdriver, you may be able to cheat by turning a cordless screwdriver bit with a small wrench. Or, even better, use a bit with a 1/4" socket and ratchet. This is such a handy trick that several companies began making small ratcheting screwdrivers based on it.

6) Use a rubber band to grip a stripped screw

This doesn't always work, but a strong rubber band can help to get screws out when the head has started to strip. Put a flat rubber band between the screw head and the screw driver, and the rubber will help the screwdriver grip the screw. Another sure-fire way to get stripped screws out is to weld a hex head bolt to the stripped head and get it out with a wrench, that is if you have enough room to weld.

7) Use a magnet to stop losing screws

For small or quick jobs where you don't need to organize and label dozens of screws, you can make sure you don't lose any by popping a magnet in your shirt pocket or even a glove. Instead of putting small screws down somewhere to roll away or fall in the dirt, stick them to the back of your glove, or outside of your shirt pocket through the magical power of magnetism.

8) Use WD-40 to clean oil stains from your floor

We all know WD-40 has hundreds of uses, but did you know that it can help clean up any oil stains on your garage or driveway? Just spray the stain with WD-40, than rinse with water. That's on top of removing rust, loosening bolts, removing stickers, lubricating, cleaning bugs off your lights and windows, and many more as seen in this Reader's Digest piece.

9) Use a pipe wrench to remove rounded bolts

When working under a car you often come across rusty, old bolts, that have already had the heads abused by several mechanics in the past.  If you have the room, you can sometimes grip the rounded off heads by using a pipe wrench – its jaws dig in and grab the head so you can remove the bolt. And unlike a normal adjustable wrench, they are designed to grab tighter as you apply force.

10) Pinpoint lubrication with a screwdriver

Oil, or any fluid, will cling to the shaft of a screwdriver, or even a length of string. This can be used as a neat way to pour a few drops of oil from the bottle to a shift linkage, or hinge pin. If you go slow, you can even insert the end of a long-ish screwdriver into the top of your oil filler, hold it as vertical as possible, then simply pour your oil down the shaft of the tool and you won't spill a drop.