Scott Palm, owner/repair technician
ASE MasterTech, L1
Palm’s Town Pump
Hoyt Lakes, MN
My top 5 tools are evolving as the repair industry changes, and a few may change from month to month, but there will always be one or two that seem more like an extension of the hand. Our business is a small family-owned, independent two-bay shop. We repair anything from an occasional lawn mower or snowblower to full front-end repairs including the alignment. I have been known to lube a kid’s bike chain and change the tube. My passion is problem solving, and diagnostics are my specialty, which means I don’t know everything, but love the quest to repair the unrepairable. I also am the IT guy for the multiple computers. I co-handle customers with scheduling, ordering and billing. I also do the web advertising and web page operations.
My top 5 tools may differ from a repair tech, but here goes:
My Snap-on VERUS and Droid Phone I use these tools for all parts of my business, both are integrated with shop management and allow me to do everything from diagnostics, to estimating, and parts ordering through websites for my local parts stores. I can e-mail or text the customer about problems or just a question about the job, take pictures with my phone and send them to parts depots for proper identification. I can keep up with the latest industry news and check on known problems through iATN while having a Bluetooth device hooked up to a car outside waiting for a certain condition to happen on my phone! (P.S. I am currently writing this back and forth on my VERUS and my phone.)
Streamlight Stylus Pro Flashlight I am always looking for the best light source. I have tried countless “troublelights,” and this little light fits great in the shirt pocket. So far it seems to indestructible as well as battery efficient.
Induction Innovations’ Mini-Ductor This thing has cut my oxy-acetylene bill in half and does it in a safer way. In northeastern Minnesota, rust is king and anything that will help loosen a bolt or fitting is worth any dollar amount. A must-have in a tech’s toolbox.
Multitool Any brand is fine, I currently own a Bluepoint and I have tried all brands. Having needle-nose pliers with multiple screwdrivers and a flashlight aiming out the end of the pliers works great while laying under a dash. I have owned and used this type of tool since the first Leatherman and will always have one on my belt.
OTC Ball Joint Press For front end work I like the OTC ball joint press and, yes, all the adapters. If a tech wants any chance of beating flat rate consistently, this is the tool for undercar work.
For another article featuring Scott Palm, visit http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/11/11/tough_economy_car_neglect/.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 5 TOOLS?
Send in your list of your five favorite tools and equipment that help you most in the shop, and you could be chosen to win a $25 gift card for Bass Pro Shops.
From scan tools to flashlights, impact wrenches to on-car brake lathes or computer systems tell us your Top 5 Tools, complete with descriptions on why the tools are your favorites, and your photo.
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Be sure to include:
The brand name and type of tool (for example: OTC’s Pegisys scan tool);
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Your name, title, business name and address of your shop, so we can send you the gift card if you win.