Hand Tools; Inflation Gauges - Tire Review Magazine

Hand Tools; Inflation Gauges

Hand Tools Offer Valuable Services

Sometimes it feels as if there is no better tool than the tried and true hammer. You’ll find a variety of them for sale under the heading “dead blow hammers.” Buy a high carbon steel head with a machine-polished face and a top grade U.S. hickory handle, or a polymer-handled hammer; both are readily available. The latter features a hump design that prevents the tool from wedging between the rim and bead.

This hammer marketed by Ken-Tool breaks the bead with little or no prying. Additionally, its full-length, 32-inch handle design provides longer lasting everyday use plus greater strength. A special coating on the handle provides durability, says the maker.

The company’s dead blow hammer has a head that is shot filled for maximum force with no bounce effect. According to the manufacturer this is the safest non-marring, non-sparking hammer available. Further, it is said to be good for tire changing and general shop use.

The hammer can be purchased in 1 lb. and 1.5 lb. weights in safety yellow or bright orange. If you need still more power, try the professional dead blow hammer complete with a power-drive fiberglass handle that provides 20% more driving power while it reduces user fatigue.

And what is a service bay without a rubber mallet? Check the Ken-Tool site for a 2 lb. mallet with a head that minimizes marring wheel surfaces.

Switching gears to front-end service tools, the company offers hand tools made from a single piece of alloy steel, forged and heat-treated for long life. These tools are used to remove camber adjustment sleeves on Ford 4×2 and 4×4 pickups and can be used as a Pitman arm wedge on medium and heavy duty trucks.

You’ll find them essential when replacing suspension parts, because their striking ends have been enlarged to provide a bigger and safer striking surface. This tool comes with a painted finish for rust resistance and can be ordered in a variety of sizes, says its maker.

Under this general category, Ken-Tool also offers the Pitman Arm Wedge, used to remove Pitman arms on cars and light trucks, a shock, link and tie rod separator, along with a ball joint separator. The latter is used on spindle support arms to remove ball joints with damaging other suspension parts. It is generally used on compact cars and light duty trucks.

Inflation Gauges That Talk?

With the digital age comes new technology, the likes of which some of the older generation has yet to fully experience. Try the Accutire MS-4201B programmable talking tire gauge, for example. This gauge can announce pressure measurements in both English and Spanish. According to its manufacturer, it also allows you to enter and store the recommended inflation levels for a vehicle’s front and rear tires.

An easy-to-read blue backlight LCD read-out helps you see what you need to see and an LED flashlight is also built in for low light conditions. This particular unit includes a metal carrying case and a replaceable lithium battery.

Other features include its ability to read inflation from 5 psi up to 99 psi, along with its very light weight of just 6.4 ounces. You’ll pay in the neighborhood of $30 for this inflation pressure gauge.

If that isn’t handy enough, how about a digital tire gauge that fits on your keychain and is easily detachable? After activating this inflation gauge, push it onto the tire valve until no hissing sound escapes and hold onto the valve stem until a reading appears on the blue backlit LCD display.

The onboard flashlight should be used in a poorly lit environment. This unit measures inflation pressures from 5 psi to 99 psi, comes with a five-year manufacturer warranty and requires two CR1225 batteries (included). You’ll pay about $20 for this gauge.

One gauge produced by Campbell Hausfield is said to be a 3-in-1 tire inflator with gauge that combines an inflation gun, chuck and gauge in one easy-to-use unit. According to the company, this enables one-handed use of the tool to inflate, deflate and check tire pressure.

Moreover, its clip-on design also enables hands-free use of the chuck. A built-in relief valve reduces pressure in over-inflated tires and this gauge includes a flexible hose for easier use and a 10 psi to 140 psi range. The weight of this gauge is 0.69 lbs. Called the MP6000, this gauge also comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Also new to the market is the Smarthead compact tire gauge with a digital read-out that precisely measures tire pressure. According to its manufacturer, the Smarthead valve adaptor works on both Presta and Schrader valves without changing any parts or adaptors.

Housed in a durable plastic casing with a rubber-like grip for comfort, the shape of this gauge provides an unobstructed view of a tire’s inflation pressure when in use. A reset button returns the gauge back to zero for your next pressure measurement. The price for this gauge is $26, plus shipping.

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