New Tool Line Ratchets Up the Competition

New Tool Line Ratchets Up the Competition


I recently had the honor of attending the Kobalt Tools new tool launch in Charlotte, NC, courtesy of Lowe’s. I was on-hand to represent Babcox Media and to be among the first to try out some of the company’s new Kobalt tools.

But long before the media arrived, a much more famous group worked with Kobalt to make significant improvements to the tool line that originally launched in 1998. You may have heard of them — they’re the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team of five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson

“Kobalt started as a mechanics tools brand, and as we have expanded our offering over the years we saw an opportunity to return to our core to provide our customers with more mechanics tools at a quality that is appreciated by both mechanic professionals and avid automotive DIYers,” said David Vaughn, Lowe’s tools merchandising vice president. “We leaned on our friends and ultimate car experts over at Team 48 to tell us what we could improve, and we made changes that will help take the ‘Next Generation of Tough Tools’ to the next level of quality and greatness. We’re very proud of the new line.”

david vaughn, lowe’s tools merchandising vice president, addresses the media at hendrick motorsports in charlotte.

Kobalt says that Team 48 was integral throughout the redevelopment process, and that the new line reflects the quality and breadth needed by both professionals and amateur car enthusiasts.

Ron Malec, Team 48’s car chief, said, “Kobalt Tools brought the tools up to our level.” He also said the team is using the new sockets and will continue to use Kobalt Tools as more are introduced.


As with all Kobalt tools, the mechanics tools line comes with a Lifetime Hassle-Free Guarantee if any socket, ratchet or wrench is damaged or broken. Greg Palese, brand manager, said Kobalt is taking “hassle free” to a new meaning with the re-launch of the mechanics tools line. “Any mechanic understands how quickly tools can be misplaced in a busy shop environment or an over-cluttered garage…If sockets are missing from a kit, you’re not going to use that kit. That’s why Kobalt launched the Sockets for Life program, enabling customers to get a replacement socket to keep their set whole if a piece should go missing.” Customers must register their socket sets at or 1-888-3Kobalt after purchase in order to get a replacement socket should they need one.

For more information on the tools, click here.

The winning team's finished engine.

As part of the event, the media representatives were challenged with an engine-building contest. My long-time friend Bill McKnight, team leader, training, for MAHLE Clevite, hosted the contest, which pit three teams of four in a race to see who could build an R07 engine the fastest and get it to start and run for one minute. Along with Rob Stapleton of “Two Guys Garage,” Steve Lita of RoadBike magazine and Rick Muscoplat of The Family Handyman magazine — and the solid guidance of Hendrick Motorsports’ Kevin Webber — I helped build the winning engine! Most of the credit goes to the guys, but at one point, Chad Knaus, crew chief for Team 48, said he was impressed with my speed wrench skills.



Visit any Lowe’s store or for more information.

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