Last month we put locking pliers through an extensive torture test in our new Truckin Tough section, and in doing so, we developed a fondness for Irwin's Vise-Grips. A trusted tool brand since 1885, Irwin Tools is no stranger to meeting the needs of professionals and home handymen alike, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise when we came across the automotive trade category at irwin.com. Delving deeper into Irwin's automotive tool lineup, we found several tools we didn't even know were available to us DIY mechanics.
Nearly every mechanic or fabricator we know worth their salt has a pair of Vise-Grips in their toolbox, however, it was when we learned about Irwin's massive 15-inch adjustable wrench, compact oil filter pliers, and wire crimpers that we began to get excited. Ordering a large FedEx box worth of new tools is better than Christmas morning, but would the automotive-specific tools meet our strict demands?
Trying the 10-inch wire crimper (PN: FC10) first, we were impressed with the thick and comfortable ProTouch grips, while being blown away by the cutter's sharpness. Imagine cutting a 4-gauge audio cable with one snip and you'll get the idea of their effectiveness. Terminals were easily attached to wire with the two different sized crimp joints, and thanks to the 10-inch length, plenty of leverage was on your side when needing extra force.
Moving to the oil filter pliers (PN: OF9), the compact 9-inch design worked well in today's cramped engine bays, and the teeth grabbed smaller LS-engine oil filters with good leverage. Larger diameter filters, found on older small-block Chevy, Ford, and Dodge engines may have a harder time getting a solid bite, but if there is adequate room to expand the ProTouch grips, the pliers will bust the filter loose.
Finally, we tested out the 15-inch adjustable wrench (PN:15”). As one of the first and typically last tools you'll need when working around the house, in a garage, or anywhere else for that matter, a large adjustable wrench cannot be overvalued. The Irwin Tools' wrench has jaws that open up to 1.8 inches, but our wrench did not have the inch scale on the jaws, which is helpful info, and it didn't include the ProTouch grip on the handle as we were expecting. Made out of durable chrome vanadium, it will without question outlast our trucks, garage, and many cheaper tools we have around the house.
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