What tools should a new Diesel Mechanic buy?

My son is graduating soon and the Snap On Dealer is trying to talk him into $6500 worth of tools and a box. He has a set of NAPA tools that he got when he started school. Should he chuck those and get all Snap On? What does he really need. He is getting a good sale pitch from school and I don’t want to see him get ripped of or too far in debt. Thanks for any help

LZ
He is graduating from Nashville Auto Diesel College and gets a discount from Snap On.

Start off with a basic set of tools. Screwdrivers, sockets, ratchets, wrenches, hammers, punches, pliers, etc. He doesn’t need to immediately jump into a massive box full of tools because he will start off low in a shop doing basic work until he gets more experience. As he starts doing more work he can add more tools and a bigger box down the road. For now he can start off with craftsmen or equivalent. Snap-on, and Matco tools are expensive but you usually have weekly service from them at work. The higher prices reflect a good tool and if something breaks they come to you. But back to the start, begin with basic stuff and build from there. I’ve seen alot of guys dump 20k right off the bat on tools they won’t need right away and they’re paying 300/mo for those unneeded tools. I started my career with a small craftsmen top and bottom box with like a 550 piece craftsman tool set. Now I have a much larger box and about 75k in tools.

This entry was posted on Friday, December 10th, 2010 at 10:11 pm and is filed under dealer tools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “What tools should a new Diesel Mechanic buy?”

  1. Warrick Dunn Says:

    December 11th, 2010 at 3:58 am

    Make sure he has a screw driver.
    References :

  2. PAUL P Says:

    December 11th, 2010 at 4:46 am

    Hi,
    Stay with NAPA and get him a engraver to put ID on them. Ask the teacher or him what he needs. There is some special tools that will be needed . A mechanics stethoscope. Drill bit sharpening machine etc.
    References :
    old age

  3. Don S Says:

    December 11th, 2010 at 5:35 am

    I suggest he makes a list of various tools for diesel work and shop around. There are many applicable tools around that are equally good but less expensive. Just be careful with the super cheap tools cause they don’t last too long. Most of my tools are were made by Craftsman but I also have ones made by Ridgid, Huffy, and such. Power tools made by Makita, DeWalt, Ryobi, etc. are all equally good.
    References :

  4. Boe Says:

    December 11th, 2010 at 5:53 am

    If you ask me, and I no professional. But I own a Ford diesel. I do all my own work. Aside from the regular joe’s tools that one may have in his tool box I’ve yet to come across anything yet where what I have does not get the job done. I guess it depends on how deep into the motor you are going to go. But as far as everything you can visibly see I just could not see dropping 6500 bucks on tools that I may or may never use. But then again its snapon tools so your paying for the name and the brand reputation.
    Full set of sae and metric sockets deeps and short. Basic screw drivers, crows feet wrenches, line wrenches, box wrenches, extensions, universals, torque wrenches, breaker bar, fan clutch tool and a good set of pneumatic air tools and a code reader designed for Diesels. I think personally I about 2K worth of tools. The biggest chunk was the scanner. That was about 500 bucks.
    If I were you and or he, I would drive over to a dodge,chevy or ford dealership and ask if you can talk to the the diesel mechanic for 5 mins. That will give the straight answer. Im just a back year diesel mechanic and I have no problem with the NON name brand tools working on my truck. 7 years 200K 2 trips to the dealer for work ( i did not want to invest in a 500 tool)
    References :

  5. tod m Says:

    December 11th, 2010 at 6:00 am

    many… http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog/catalog.ASP
    napa tools are good, many brands are good. if he has the basics he can add to them as he goes. different areas of mechanics need different tools, the shop may supply some. he can borrow others temporarily until he gets more. buy as you go, the tool truck comes around and sometimes used tools can be bought cheap.
    a new set of snap on tools is nice though.
    References :

  6. Mark Says:

    December 11th, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Some Snap On tool boxes without any tools cost $6500. In the end he’ll have to invest $50,000 or more but he can do it little by little. Never chuck any tools, use them till they’re broken.
    References :
    Old mechanic/parts guy

  7. Dennis Says:

    December 11th, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Snap-On tools are greatly over priced, Wait till he looses one . However some specialty tools are hard to find in other brands.
    References :

  8. James Bynum Says:

    December 11th, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I graduated from tech school about 10 years ago…Snap On is good for certain tools but keep in mind that a standard 3/8 ratchet from sears will maybe be about 25$ but its at least 60$ from snap-on. Your son will pretty much know what he needs/wants within a year, but beware the new mechanics snap-on syndrome. Pretty much all new/young mechanics will automatically be wowed by the pretty chrome/red colors of the tool truck. I cant talk down to them- Ive had three or four toolboxes that came off of the truck too. But I can honestly say that the best box ive ever had was my 500$ craftsman. Ive even had a lot of NAPA brand tools. Your son might be interested to know that screwdrivers from NAPA are manufactured by WITTE, a german company. If he were to buy a set of screwdrivers from Matco or Cornwell (another overpriced tool truck) he would get the same screwdrivers, only different colored handles with name brands stamped nexed to the name WITTE. Kennedy toolbox company makes boxes for many tool truck brands too. Those ready made sets that the snap-on man is trying to sell your son usually are not representative of an actual complete mechanic’s tool set. They might have 30 specialty offset wrenches he wont need, while the set will be missing something as simple as a complete set of short wrenches(300$ from Snap-on) that he will use often. The best thing for him to do would be stick with the set he has now and add pieces as he goes. Or even pieces that he prefers in a certain band (Snap On is my favorite for ratchets and screwdrivers) can be bought individually as desired. Snap-On also offers some specialty tools that a store like NAPA or sears has never heard of. Any quality tool is backed by a lifetime warranty, and you might warn your son that the tool man on the truck will often not be especially eager to replace a broken tool due to abuse. And your son will abuse tools from time to time. Ive hit wrenches with hammers, used screwdrivers as prybars, and put cheater pipes on ratchets…all the things tool dealers and tech school will tell you not to do. If there is any evidence of this kind of stuff the snap on man will tell you he doesn’t have to replace it and you’re stuck buying a new overpriced tool. Or you’ve got the snap on man telling you if you just had one of his 125$ longer handle ratchet or breaker bar you wouldn’t need a cheater pipe lol. Its also a lot easier to take a torch to a cheaper wrench when you need to make your own specialty tool. But from personal experience, if your son is just graduating, odds are that he wont need a master set right away no matter where he goes to work as most service managers will basically start him as an apprentice. I know he will have his degree but the prevailing theory is that there is no substitute for real world experience. Oh and there really is no reason for your son to spend the money for a scanner/computer as 99% of shops will have their own for him to use.I know this is a really long answer to a straight forward question but I felt like maybe you would appreciate info from someone who has been in your situation recently.
    References :

  9. Ryan Says:

    December 11th, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Start off with a basic set of tools. Screwdrivers, sockets, ratchets, wrenches, hammers, punches, pliers, etc. He doesn’t need to immediately jump into a massive box full of tools because he will start off low in a shop doing basic work until he gets more experience. As he starts doing more work he can add more tools and a bigger box down the road. For now he can start off with craftsmen or equivalent. Snap-on, and Matco tools are expensive but you usually have weekly service from them at work. The higher prices reflect a good tool and if something breaks they come to you. But back to the start, begin with basic stuff and build from there. I’ve seen alot of guys dump 20k right off the bat on tools they won’t need right away and they’re paying 300/mo for those unneeded tools. I started my career with a small craftsmen top and bottom box with like a 550 piece craftsman tool set. Now I have a much larger box and about 75k in tools.
    References :
    13yr diesel tech

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