Power plays: how a mechanic keeps his power tools ready for action
One of the biggest changes we've seen when working on cars has been the rise of cordless power tools. When we stared Mighty Car Mods 14 years ago most of the power tools we were using were old-style corded units (and borrowed from older relatives).
Today there is a mind-boggling array of battery-powered tools for automotive, home handiman (DIY) and gardening uses, and our mates at Ryobi (CLICK HERE) offer a good number of these. We've shown you guys a bunch of these tools over the years on the show, because we personally buy, use and believe in them... but what does a professional mechanic think?
Paulie, who is the on-hand mechanic at Super Garage, spent many years using air tools before he was introduced to battery power a little while ago. "My favourite tool is the bendy light - I have bought several of these to use at home and they're the number one thing I get out whenever I start a new job at the shop," he says.
However, if you're using lots of tools you need lots of batteries, and keeping them all charged can be a bit of a nightmare at home, as Paulie attests. "I have a single charger at home so sometimes I go out to the garage to do something and discover two flat batteries. I can't do that here at Super Garage because we have ensured there are more than enough batteries to not just run the grinders, drills and dak-daks, but also power the shop vacuum, workshop fan, and lights, too."
Paulie keeps a range of different batteries to hand. He picks them depending on the tool he's using, and job it needs to perform.
"I have 5Ah, 6Ah and 9Ah batteries here, and I tend to use the big 9Ahs in high-load tools like vacuums, lights or fans where they either need a lot of grunt or need to be on for a long time. I keep the 5Ahs for lightweight tools like drills or 90-degree wrenches, because sometimes a big battery makes it too heavy to use or too big to fit into a tight space."
As a bloke who spent his first years working on rally cars in South Africa, Paulie spent plenty of time running tools through huge industrial air compressors, but he's embracing Lithium-Ion life now.
"One of the biggest surprises for me, coming from big air tools and corded power tools is just how much grunt the 18v brushless drill has. I had to chuck some holes in our welding table, which is massively thick steel, and the little cordless drill just went through it like butter!"