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Mechanics Glossary

(Stolen, without permision, form another List.)

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used
as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive car parts not far from the object
we are trying to hit.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard
cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes
containing convertible tops or tonneau covers.

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their
holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling rollbar
mounting holes in the floor of a sports car just above the brake line that
goes to the rear axle.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle.
It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more
you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads.  If nothing else is available, they
can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETELENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting those stale garage
cigarettes you keep hidden in the back of the Whitworth socket drawer (What
wife would think to look in _there_?) because you can never remember to buy
lighter fluid for the Zippo lighter you got from the PX at Fort Campbell.

ZIPPO LIGHTER: See oxyacetelene torch.

WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and
motorcycles, they are now used mainly for hiding six-month old Salems from
the sort of person who would throw them away for no good reason.

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal
bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings
your beer across the room, splattering it against the Babe-filled, "SNAP-ON
Tools" Poster over the bench grinder.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under
the workbench at the speed of light.  Also removes fingerprint whorls and
hard-earned guitar callouses in about the time it takes you to say, "Django

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a Mustang to the ground after you
have installed a set of Ford Motorsports lowered road springs, trappng the jack
handle firmly under the front air dam.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4: Used for levering a car upward off a
hydraulic jack.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.

PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbor Chris to see if he has another
hydraulic floor jack.

SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading
mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is
ten times harder than any known drill bit.

TIMING LIGHT: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease buildup on
crankshaft pulleys.

TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength
of ground straps and hydraulic clutch lines you may have forgotten to

CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large motor mount prying tool that
inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end instead of a

BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER: A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from
a car battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery
is dead as a doornail, just as you thought.


TROUBLE LIGHT: The mechanic's own tanning booth.  Sometimes called a drop
light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin", which is not
otherwise found under cars at night.  Health benefits aside, its main purpose
is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105-mm howitzer
shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the
Bulge.  More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the lids of old-style
paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; can also be used, as the
name implies, to round off Phillips screw heads.

AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power
plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by
hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty suspension bolts
last tightened 40 years ago by someone in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, and rounds
them off.

87 5000CS TQ - Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
84 5000S - Boulder, Colorado
90 80 - Bethesda, Maryland
(hunting for the elusive Lago Blue '91 200Q)