Air Tools for Car Repairs

Air tools are affordable and speed up auto work

Air tools speed up auto work and can loosen just about any nut or bolt. We help you identify quality tools.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

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Must-have tools for serious gear-heads

Air tools can really speed up auto work and loosen just about any stubborn nut or bolt. If you're a serious gear-head, they're must-have tools. Even if you just do your own routine car maintenance work like brakes or parts replacement, air tools are still worth having. If you're in this category, you can get by with discount tools and just throw them out when they die. But if you're a serious amateur mechanic, it pays to buy quality. Here's how to tell the difference.

For impact wrenches and ratchets, forget about the forward torque ratings. You want to see the tool's power in reverse. The bigger the number, the better. If that specification isn't listed, move on—the manufacturer left it off for a reason!

For cutoff tools, air chisels and sanders, find the tool's air consumption rating, expressed in cubic feet per minute (cfm). The lower the cfm, the more efficient the tool. Also, be sure your compressor has a high enough cfm rating to operate the tool—some of these are air hogs.

All of the air tools shown here are available at tooldiscounter. com.

Air-Powered Driving Tools

Driving tools are the main workhorses for removing nuts and bolts.

Chicago Pneumatic CP828 3/8-in. drive ratchet
Chicago Pneumatic CP824 1/4-in. drive ratchet
Chicago Pneumatic CP734H 1/2-in. drive impact wrench
Other Useful Air Tools

Make sure your compressor puts out enough air to operate these tools. Nylon covers on the socket set protect alloy wheels.

Astro Pneumatic Blo Gun No. 1716
Astro Pneumatic Cutoff Tool No. 207
Astro Pneumatic No. 7835 impact socket set with nylon covers