torch wrench header pic

Some folks might look at this and say, “I’ve already got a socket wrench” or “I’ve got plenty of ratchets (and I don’t need one that big).” But what makes the torque wrench stand out– and why you absolutely need to have one in your arsenal– is that it measures the precise amount of pressure you use to tighten down a nut or bolt. Why is that important? Because in certain situations (as with lug nuts and oil drain plugs) it’s important that the tightness is definite.

torque wrench engine 2

Many sub-assemblies of the car, such as the engine and transmission as well as the vehicle itself, are built to exact tolerances, and it’s up to the torque wrench to deliver that specific tolerance. It’s even more crucial with newer vehicles thanks to the advent of a lot of aluminum, soft metal and plastic parts on cars. The last thing you need is to strip or over-tighten. In fact, both under-torquing and over-torquing can have unfavorable consequences. For instance. under-torquing a wheel lug could result in the nut loosening and eventually falling off. Over-torquing a lug can actually weaken the wheel stud and cause it to crack and break which can lead to the same results. So, it’s obvious why every DIY mechanic should own a torque wrench.

torque wrench dial

Take the example of oil drain plugs and wheel lug nuts. Check the manual for the recommended torque. Set the torque setting on your wrench by twisting the handle to the desired settings. Listen for the click, which indicates you’ve reached your set torque, then stop.

Something else you should be aware of with your torque wrench. Never drop it or use it as a hammer. That’s a sure way to seriously mess up its calibration, which could seriously mess up whatever it is you’re torquing.  When you are done using your torque wrench, back the torque all the way down before you store it away. That will help maintain the settings a lot longer.

To see the calibration and use of a torque wrench in action, check out the video below. 

Harbor Freight carries a number of high quality torque wrenches at great, low prices. The Pittsburgh Pro 1/2″ Drive-Click Type Torque Wrench is a bestseller and one that Car Craft magazine endorsed as having “impressive accuracy” and “amazing value.” Check out these and other heavy-duty hand tools, all with a lifetime warranty.

How To Cut Metal Bolts With Your Angle Grinder

angle grinder product artLet’s say you’re in the middle of a project and a bolt you’re working with is too long, stopping you dead in your tracks. You could make a run to the local big box store (and then the next one), hoping they’ve got the right size. You could hacksaw it (you weren’t doing anything else for the rest of the afternoon, were you?). Or, if you’ve got an Angle Grinder with a metal cutoff wheel, you can make quick work of it. An angle grinder is the best tool in the arsenal for trimming bolts. Here’s how.

1. Mark the Cut Line

Measure and mark the length of the bolt with a Sharpie.

mark bolt with sharpie

 2. Add Nuts

Screw a couple of nuts onto the bolt all the way to the head (or base). This will make it easier to clamp the bolt to the work table as well as lining up the threads again after you cut it.

nuts and vice

3. Cut the Bolt With the Angle Grinder

Turn on the angle grinder and approach the bolt at a flat angle. Cut right through the bolt.

cutting bolt

4. Deburr Bolt

Clean and smooth the cut end of the bolt with a bench grinder or an abrasive pad.

deburr bolt with bench grinder

5. Try the Thread

Unscrew the nut to the top of the thread until it offers resistance, then use a wrench to back it completely off the bolt. This will reform the thread and leave you with a working bolt.

wrench the nut

6. Moving On

You can now resume with your project!

clean cut bolt


Remember to always wear Safety Glasses when using your angle grinder, taking note where the guard is to catch the flying sparks. Also remove anything flammable or easily ignited such as dirty rags.

chicago electric grinder in action

When it comes to cutting, grinding or polishing, you won’t find a more versatile power tool than the angle grinder. They’re indispensable for jobs that can’t be done any other way, and heaven-sent for the jobs that otherwise could only be described as excruciating ordeals. 

For a great deal on a powerful angle grinder, we recommend the Chicago Electric 4-1/2″ 4.5 Amp Heavy Duty model from Harbor Freight. It has a powerful ball-bearing motor that can tackle the hardest metal cutting, shaping and slag removal jobs, and the price is VERY doable. They also make a great pneumatic model. You can also find great deals on extra metal cutoff wheels and wire brush wheels for a plethora of automotive and shop projects.



You might think of Harbor Freight as the place to shop for vocational school but you may not be aware that Harbor Freight is a great place to shop for general back-to-school items as well. Below are five must-have items available at all Harbor Freight stores nationwide! And with Harbor Freight’s ridiculously low prices, you’ll feel a lot better before your son or daughter heads off to the University of Drastically Expensive & Burdensome Tuition, a.k.a. U of DEBT.

For moving into the dorm room, you just can’t beat the 18 In x 12-1/4 In 1000 lb. Capacity Hardwood Dolly. It’s lightweight but can carry heavy load after heavy load.

18 In x 12.25 In 1000 lb. Capacity Hardwood Dolly

18 In x 12-1/4 In 1000 lb. Capacity Hardwood Dolly
Item #61899


Things break… book shelves, chair backs, desk handles, you name it! The quick fix is right at your fingertips with the 130 Pc Tool Set with Case from Harbor Freight. From screwdrivers and pliers to a hammer and tape measure, this tool set contains 130 of the most commonly used tools and accessories. With this tool set, you can fix practically everything but a broken heart.
130 Pc Tool Set with Case

130 Pc Tool Set with Case
Item #68998



After studying hard, you’ll need a road trip to blow off some steam and refresh your knowledge-wary brain. It’s never hard to find friends to join you. The last thing you need is to get stuck somewhere with a dead battery. That’s where the 3-in-1 Jump Starter and Power Supply comes in. With this device, you can jump start a weak or dead battery, run/charge 12VDC auto, RV, marine or other portable appliances that draw up to 10 amps or illuminate an area with the built-in worklight.

3-in-1 Jump Starter and Power Supply

3-in-1 Jump Starter and Power Supply
Item #38391


A good combination lock is mandatory equipment to secure class or gym lockers, bikes, storage chests and more. Harbor Freight offers this tried and true classic featuring a solid steel alloy shackle and chrome-plated finish.

Combination Padlock

Combination Padlock
Item #92769


“Laptops and tablets and cell phones, oh my!” said the electrical outlet. But you don’t need a wizard to solve the power problem—you just need the 4 Outlet Power Strip from Harbor Freight Tools! Features include a heavy duty 24 in. power cord, lighted on/off switch with integrated 15 amp circuit breaker, slotted housing for wall or bench mounting and four three-prong grounded outlets.

4 Outlet Power Strip

4 Outlet Power Strip
Item #91334


To check out more useful back-to-school items, visit your local Harbor Freight Tools store!

The Little Winch That CAN!

Taking on an off-road adventure doesn’t mean you have to be reckless or unprepared. Be ready for nearly any altercation with the 2500 lb. ATV/Utility Electric Winch with Wireless Remote Control (Item #: 61840) from Harbor Freight! Whether it’s pulling your ATV out of a ditch or loading a boat onto your trailer, this light duty winch is perfect for those smaller jobs.


This little unit packs a lot of winching power and all the features you expect from a high-quality winch. A permanent magnet motor draws less current than larger models, making this the ideal winch for your ATV and the automatic load-holding brake provides maximum safety. Plus, with the wireless remote control, you can operate the winch from up to 20 ft. away. Both reliable and easy-to-use, this 2500 lb. capacity winch also comes with a rock bottom price that can’t be beat.

“This winch pulls my John Deere out of trouble all the time when I venture into the woods and get
stuck …. It operates as I intend it to and pulls me out wherever I might be in a gully or stuck on a slippery log or whatever…. I usually attach it to a stout tree and it pulls me up a 20 degree grade without issue …. only issue is that it uses a lot of battery power and now I let the tractor keep running so as not to wear down the battery…” – by Nick from Medina, Ohio

“About 6 months ago I purchased this winch and the Truck mounted Crane. After a couple of uses I removed the hand winch that came with the Crane and installed the Bad Land 2500 winch. Boy what a wonderful product. I had contracted Tendinitis in my shoulders and hips and needed help getting in firewood. This combination was just the ticket. Now I get more wood per trip and hardly break a sweat. Needless to say, my shoulders are much relieved. Never a problem. I use a group 27 battery to gain the extra power to run the winch. I highly recommend this combo to get the job done. Great product.” – by Mr. B from Helena, MT

This handy ATV recovery winch is great for a number of tasks including loading vehicles and equipment or traversing rough terrain easily. With a 2500 lb. capacity, it’s perfect for any ATV or utility vehicle. However, if you’re on the lookout for a winch with a bit more power, be sure to check out the 9000 lb. and 12,000 lb. capacity winches as well, available at your local Harbor Freight store!

The Incredible Foldable Shop Crane

Just because you’re working out a small space doesn’t mean you don’t have room for a powerful shop crane. With the 2 Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane (Item #: 69514) from Harbor Freight, you can get the lifting power you need when you need it. And when you don’t, it folds down for easy, compact storage. That way, it’s out of the way when not in use. But with all the cool jobs and tasks you can tackle with the crane, it won’t be in storage for long!


The Shop Crane is easily adjustable from 73-5/8” to 89” in height to fit the job at hand while the boom extends from 41” to 61-3/4”. For any project that requires lifting items up to 4,000 lbs, this Foldable Shop Crane is designed for performance and reliability. Plus, it comes with the low, affordable price you’ve come to expect from Harbor Freight Tools.

“I bought this crane for my husband’s garage and he says it works great! Pulled the engine right out of the car…no problem! He’s very happy with it!” – by TJ from Western PA

“Great product !! Excellent value & price , Harbor Freight communication was also the best
Very happy with this 2 ton hoist “Fantastic Quality.” – by Rick from new Jersey

“Used this crane out of the box to unload a BMW engine and transmission out of the back of a pick-up truck and park it in my garage. Assembled in 15 minutes and worked perfectly when used with the HF 2 ton load balancer. This is a must have. This crane lifted a load from 72″ high and put it down safely on the ground – not all cranes can lower that far. This crane is excellent value for money and folds down into a very small footprint.” – by Seawolf from Springfield, MA

With an included ram, chain and hook, the 2 Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane contains everything you need to start lifting those heavy parts right away. So if you’re ready to handle bigger projects from the comfort of your own shop or garage, get down to your local Harbor Freight store and pick one up today!

Get a Jump Start on Trouble with Reliable Booster Cables

There’s nothing fancy about the 16 ft. 6 Gauge Heavy Duty Booster Cables (Item #: 60396) from Harbor Freight Tools. When it comes to getting out of a jam (or jump starting a drained battery) all you care about is the end result. And with these great jumper cables in your trunk, you can rest assured that you’ll never be left stranded again.


Designed for use in all climates, the Heavy Duty Booster Cables are ready to go anytime your car isn’t. Hooking them up is easy, even if you’ve never used booster cables before, thanks to the color coded cables for positive and negative terminals. The vinyl-dipped steel clamps are easy on your hands and the copper jaws are perfect for electricity conduction, allowing you to get going quickly so you can transport your vehicle to a safe place for repairs.  As you can see, it’s no secret what makes these jumper cables so great.

“Probably the best cables you can buy for under twenty, clamps are tight, crimps look good, cable is soft and easy to handle and does not fight you while tucking it back into its case after use.” – by Travelling Mechanic from Chicago, IL

“It looks good and feels good. I like the design. The copper wire is attached on the top and the bottom is stabled by a clip. The design will keep the contact wire from detaching.” – by Yang from Morgantown, WV

Simple and reliable, the 16 ft. 6 Gauge Heavy Duty Booster Cables are a must-have item for any vehicle. Providing superior performance just about anywhere, these jumper cables also provide peace of mind even if you never use them. For any well-prepared motorist, or frequent driver, swing by your local Harbor Freight and get a set of these Heavy Duty Booster Cables for quick and easy jumpstarting of dead or drained batteries. Don’t waste your money on some fancy set of jumper cables with a bunch of useless features and extras. All you need is a set that works.


Abrasive Blast Cabinet

More often than not, wire brushes or sanding discs just won’t cut it! Blasting is the only way to really get parts clean and prepped for paint and powder, especially when it comes to automotive parts. But blasting can create quite a mess. Save yourself the hassle with the Abrasive Blasting Cabinet (item #: 68893) from Harbor Freight Tools. The blasting cabinet is constructed from sturdy 19-gauge steel to keep dust, debris and blasting medium contained. It also features a fluorescent lighting system, ceramic nozzle, hose and gloves.

Here’s what customers are saying about the blasting cabinet:

I use this product daily. It works VERY WELL… – Scotty B., Jupiter Farms, FL

I have been doing all powdercoating for 2 motorcycle shops and use the heck out of this rig. I have not had a problem with leaks, assembly, gloves etc. This system works comparable to any others that are 4 times the cost. – RS-SS Restorations, Colorado/Arkansas

This is one of the best purchases I have made for my shop. Finding all kinds of uses. – Joel, Wisconsin

Harbor Freight also carries compressors and dust collectors, which can be used with the Abrasive Blast Cabinet. For accessory specifications, please be sure to consult the user manual.

When it comes to parts that need to be stripped down to the base material, give ‘em a blast that will last with the Abrasive Blast Cabinet from Harbor Freight Tools, available at one of 600+ stores nationwide!

Abrasive Blast Cabinet
Item #: 68893


air line installment

Wouldn’t it be great to have access to compressed air throughout the garage or shop without having to haul and set up your compressor everywhere you need it? Well, it doesn’t take as much as you think to make it happen. Here is a simple, rudimentary way of setting up the workshop to do just that.

What Kind of Pipe?

If you’re considering PVC pipe, don’t. If the PVC broke under pressure, the plastic would burst and send a salvo of splintery shrapnel all over the place. For a home shop, we recommend copper– 1) you won’t run into the same problem; 2) it won’t corrode; and 3) it’s readily available at the local home improvements stores. For the fittings, you’re going to want to find a refrigeration solder designed for 200+psi working pressure, such as Stay-Brite #8, which installs easily with a standard Butane or Propane Torch, as well as the Stay-Clean flux to spread it out (don’t cross fluxes).

(If you don’t want to solder, use black steel pipe. Measure the pipe runs and buy exact lengths– the home improvement stores will cut and thread them for you. The nice thing about air compression lines is, unlike water or gas lines, they don’t need perfect joints, so it’s OK if they leak a little. For the purpose of this article, we’re going with the first choice– copper)

Tools Needed

Here are the necessary tools you’ll need to do this project:

Adjustable Wrench

adjustable wrench


Air Compressor

21 gal vertical air compressor


Air Hose

air hose

Tube Cutter

tube cutter half-inch

Butane Torch

butane torch You will also need a wire brush handy for cleaning the copper joints.


  • 1/2-inch copper pipe and fittings
  • Solder
  • Flux

We recommend you run your main line high, but exposed, up near the ceiling, with a drop anywhere you think you’ll want an air hose. At the bottom of the drop, install a TA ball valve at the top and bottom of the T, and a quick coupler on the 90 (facing, of course, away from the wall).

There are plenty of sites that go in greater detail regarding connections and PSI, etc. We would advise you to look for the most authoritative direction (if you find multiple sources that concur, even better!). The subject is diverse and there are lots of possibilities for configuration. Good luck with your installation!

2015 Father’s Day Gift Guide

fathers day 2015

When you think of the best parts of your childhood, Dad is indelibly among them. The smell of his after shave and brush of his stubble. The excitement of his coming home and throwing you in the air. The weird songs he chose to sing along to when driving or working in the garage (“Love is a burning thing…“). Yup, Dad is a large part of our favorite memories, so of course we somehow want to convey that to him come Father’s Day. And since he still likes to tinker in his garage, work on his car and stay busy, here are ten excellent suggestions from Harbor Freight Tools on what to get him.


3 ton steel jack low profile

This best-selling 3-ton low-profile steel jack can fit in small spaces and lift big things– and it makes the job easier, ’cause it gets the vehicle up, fast and high. Embodied with strength and durability, the heavy-duty jack rolls and maneuvers easily on concrete with its wide steel wheels, and is long enough to get way under the vehicle. A winner for anyone looking for a “heavy” jack!


13 drawer tool cabinet

For the man who has everything… something to put it in! Finally, Dad can consolidate his multiple toolboxes into this one durable, spacious cabinet. Made of heavy-duty industrial-strength steel, this baby can hold over 2,500 lbs. of tools and roll around the garage to assist him with whatever job he’s got cooking. You’d spend hundreds more elsewhere to get the same lifelong service this favorite tool cabinet will provide.


12000 winch FB

If Dad’s the kind of guy who boldly goes where no man (in their right mind) has gone before, then our Badlands 12K electric winch is the ticket. Built to be tortured and come back for more, this winch will emancipate stuck vehicles, haul downed trees and load boats. Rain? Snow? Mud? Please. Throw in the Wireless Winch Remote #61474 and Dad can Snapchat his adventures while the winch does all the work!


90 amp flux wire welder 61849

If you’ve noticed that, from time to time, Dad’s been in need of a welder– or if he’s expressed interest to get into welding– here is the perfect unit to get him equipped, With our best-selling 90 amp flux core welder, you get the functionality of a MIG welder without the hassle of gas. Set-up and operation are way easy, and the performance is awesome! Dad will find out soon enough how invaluable this welder is, for small repairs and in the garage. Pick up one of our Auto-Darkening Helmets #61611 while you’re at it.

3 gallon pancake compressor 61615

While the old man’s still got plenty of hot air to spare, why not make life easier for him by having one of these handy, reliable units in the garage? This 3-gallon oilless air compressor is a mighty mite for inflation, stapling, nailing, sanding, buffing, spray painting and all kinds of small pneumatic projects around the house. It takes very little space and tucks out of the way until it’s needed again. A nice addition in any home, shop or garage.


ladder 67646

With the ability to set up in 23 different configurations, our multi-task ladder will perform for Dad like a boss, whatever his chore. Made of super-strong aircraft-grade aluminum,  this unit can transform into 4 kinds of step ladders, 6 kinds of stair ladders, 7 types of extension ladders, 2 kinds of scaffold trestles and 4 sizes of storage ladder. We wouldn’t be surprised if it’ll make him a sandwich, but don’t quote us. As the title suggests, our multi-task ladder stretches out to 17 ft. and can easily sustain 300 lbs. And, it sells for much less than the leading competitors! (*in stores only)


10-inch miter saw 61971

This 10″ sliding compound miter saw will easily make a home in your Dad’s shop. For it’s size and price, he will be pleasantly surprised at how big a cut it makes. Great for plywood, baseboards, trim, molding, flooring– and with the switch of a blade, can also cut masonry and metal. With its robust 15 amp motor this power saw delivers precision cross, bevel and miter cuts. A great deal and a handy addition for Dad.


reciprocating saw 62370

Here’s the tool Dad will grab whenever he announces, “Stand back, Junior, and prepare to be dazzled!” Our 6″ reciprocating saw is a top-rated workhorse that cuts through heavy lumber, nails, siding, branches and roots, exhaust pipe, etc., like butter. This is the go-to tool for remodeling kitchens, tearing down porches and removing a door or window. One of the features he’ll really like is how he can control direction, making it easy to get around tricky areas. The reciprocating saw could easily become his favorite tool in the garage.


motorcycle lift 1000 lb cropped

If Dad’s a “Wild Hog,” here’s the item on the type of every rider’s wish list. With our motorcycle lift, he can wrench and clean his bike with ease, saving his back and knees,  and making it a lot less effort to get up for another tool. With just a pump of the foot, he can lift his bike to a comfortable level, safe and secure on the stand. This motorcycle life is strong, rugged and could easily be employed for commercial use. Throw in a couple of our Magnetic Bowls, and the old man will be in hog heaven!



Speaking of wrenching, may we suggest Harbor Freight’s most complete, end-all mechanic’s tool kit. At a fraction of the cost competitors’ similar sets, this professional mechanic’s tool set contains a comprehensive collection of the most-used automotive and mechanic’s tools in both SAE and metric sizes.  It’s got everything organized and clearly labeled so he won’t waste time zeroing in on the right tool or right size. Dad will not only be excited about the performance of these tools, he’ll be happy to see how many different kinds are all together in one box. As one customer put it, “Hands down, the best tool set for the money!”

Whatever you think your dad might like, chances are good you’ll find it at Harbor Freight Tools— and because of the low prices there, you’ll be able to get something really nice and look like a champ (not that you’ll ever be the champ Dad is).






under hood light bar

When working on your vehicle, the hardest part is often seeing what you’re doing. Open up the hood and you’ll find a veritable labyrinth of nooks and crannies. The 120 LED Rechargeable Under Hood Work Light from Harbor Freight Tools (item #: 60793) solves that problem. The light features magnetic ends that attach to retractable cords as well as recessed fold-away hooks providing multiple mounting options. The 120 bright LED lamps are housed in a shatterproof polycarbonate tube so this light is definitely a “work” light.

The light also features two brightness settings and a rechargeable Li-ion battery that provides hours of light per charge. It also comes with a 12V cigarette lighter adapter and 120V wall adapter. In addition to under the hood, it’s the perfect light for the shop, garage or driveway.

Here’s what customers are saying about this light:

I’m a professional auto mechanic. After purchasing the first lamp, I ran right back and bought another, the next day, while they were still on sale. This lamp has an excellent battery life and two power settings for adjusting the brightness of the LEDs.The best feature is that it has both plastic fold-away hooks at each end AND magnets to mount it under the hood of the car you are working on. I’ve had these lamps for about 8 months now. I’m very happy with the purchase. – Chaz Tuna, SE Florida

I love this thing. Very bright. Multiple lighting levels and very easy to use. I use mine for everything including a closet light when I am not using it in the garage. – Bugsy’s Garage, St. Paul, MN

When I go out on a service call I want the best. This is a great light! – Mobile Truck Repair, Oakley, CA

The 120 LED Rechargeable Under Hood Work Light is available at Harbor Freight Tools’ 600+ stores nationwide. And with Harbor Freight’s ridiculously low prices, picking up one or more is a bright idea!