Expert Advice for Heavy Duty Apprentices: Best Tools to Get You Started

  • Written by Luis
HD mechanic pictured with wrenches

When enrolling in a heavy-duty apprenticeship, you want to always have the right tools available. Not having the right tools could lead to significant delays in performing repairs and maintenance services, setting back project schedules. We often hear questions from students about what types of tools they should have in their mechanics program. Here are the 3 main questions that we answer from first-year students.

What Tools Should I Buy for My Heavy Duty Program?

The number one, top-tool, to always have are wrenches. They are the basic hand tool that will be used most often on a range of heavy equipment. You will also want to invest in a wide selection of ratchets and sockets. There will be numerous bolts and hatches to remove to work within the machine. For students in mechanics programs in North America, it is ideal to invest in impact tools that are pneumatic or electric (or both). Impact tools help to speed up the work so the machine can be placed back into service.

Heavy duty mechanic holding a wrench

Should I Buy New or Used Tools?

You can get away with buying used tools. Lots of mechanics and technicians are retiring and have full toolsets. So you may be able to get all the tools you need in one set at a lower price. If you are working on electronic systems and/or are looking for specific tools, you may want to go with new ones that come with a warranty. Look for rigid and rough tools that provide a lifetime warranty.

Also, a lot of tool providers now provide a lifetime warranty, so buying used is an ideal method. It is up to you based on your budget.

Another way to save money is to look for package deals from manufacturers. They may provide specific packages based on the systems you plan to interact with as this tactic can save you money.

Is It Okay to Borrow Tools from Others?

It is not looked at favourably in the trade. Most of the time, mechanics stick with the basic 3 Borrow Rule. The rule is that if you need to borrow a tool more than 3 times, you should just go and buy that specific tool. Borrowing tools is not very common in the heavy-duty mechanic trade.

Question: Is it ok to borrow tools from others?

Getting all the right tools for your apprenticeship means that you will be well prepared to perform comprehensive services to heavy equipment machines.

For more instructional content about heavy equipment or maintenance tutorials, visit the Fortis HD blog.

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