QOTD: First Hit of a Lifelong Addiction?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd first hit of a lifelong addiction

Most of the gearheads in this audience turn a wrench or three. It’s part of what makes the community at TTAC such a great one: authors and readers alike enjoy (and understand!) wrenching on cars as much as they enjoy driving them. Those attributes aren’t a requirement for hanging around these digital pages but it sure does help.

You author spent a leisurely few minutes changing over the tires on his trusty Dodge Charger from winter to all-season rubber. While spinning lug nuts, I started thinking: what is the first tool bought by most gearheads?

Some obvious answers to this question? A socket set is surely near the top. Armed with a few ratchets and sockets of various sizes (metric and standard, right?) most of us probably cut our shadetree teeth with these tools. If you picked a set with six-sided deep sockets, you get extra bonus points.

Or perhaps a floor jack was your first buy. After all, a good one allows for quickie tire changes and extra clearance while diagnosing that clanking sound that reared its head during the last handbrake manoeuvre. You’re supporting the thing on jack stands while you’re under there, right?

With those purchases comes the need for a tool box, of course. Then special tools like a torque wrench or timing light. This gives rise to stuff like angle grinders and bodywork tools, eventually culminating with an enclosed garage of some shape … which quickly becomes full. As I said, it’s the first hit of a lifelong addiction.

Spill the beans below. We’re all friends here.

[Image: Sajeev Mehta/TTAC]

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4 of 42 comments
  • SoCalMikester SoCalMikester on May 06, 2019

    a set of ramps to do oil changes and exhaust work on the family cars back in the early 80s. ingersoll electric impact ($160 in the early 90s) was probably the next important tool i bought, though i got it for a side gig building bicycles during xmas season.

  • Terry Terry on May 06, 2019

    GTL, Wizard was the name of the house brand of tools sold by Western Auto. I have a couple of Wizard brake adjusters I bought when I was 14(Johnson was President). I had a couple of the Chrome Craftsman timing lights. I gave them away when I got my Snap-ons. Once I was setting timing on my '65 Ford Galaxie big-block out on the driveway in a light mist. Hand on the chrome light, other on the radiator support, and promptly got shocked. That was the end of them for me.

  • -Nate -Nate on May 07, 2019

    _Wire_ typ feeler and spark plug gauges are getting hard to find . Going to a breaker less ignition system that fits inside your original distributor is the biggest bang for your buck, few comprehend it until I've installed it then they're in love with it . -Nate

  • Cbrworm Cbrworm on May 07, 2019

    My favorite tool, which I have been using since my first motorcycle, is a craftsman 12mm/14mm dual box-end wrench. I have been using it regularly for close to 40 years. I don't remember what my first tool was. I would imagine wiring related tools. I think my most useful long-term tools would be the various impact guns and drivers and torque wrenches.