Friday, May 9, 2014

Harbor Freight and the one Chinese power tool that's worth the $

I stopped into the 'Freight this morning to pick up a couple of things for my Prius storage project (making 2 trips through the checkout line of course so I could use 20% off coupons on both items) and ran across a sale display that reminded me of my favorite Chinese built power tool--The Chicago Electric Impact Wrench.  A trip to the 'Freight is always a risky proposition as it is a place that fuels my desire for deals and cool tools and I've learned I must avoid the store at all costs unless I actually need something.  If I do make a trip I must have a clear mission and shopping list, stopping by before work also seems to work well as I don't have time for casual browsing.

For the most part I've stayed away from HF power tools since my college days when I foolishly bought a $10 cordless drill that would drive exactly 1 screw between battery charges but I've certainly gotten my $40 out of the impact over the years.  Whether it be tire rotations, breaking stubborn bolts loose, or snapping pressure plate bolts on Festiva clutches (not a good tool to run in M6 bolts in case you were wondering), this thing is a lifesaver and makes quick work of heavy duty auto projects.

The electric impact does have its Iimits, however, and will die when subjected to long periods of strain trying to remove axle nuts (helps if you first attempt to unstake them), but that's where the no questions asked warranty comes in.  It seems to vary by locations, but on many occasions I've walked into my local Harbor Freight with a broken tool and walked out with a brand new one in the box which sure beats the heck out of Sears' "lifetime warranty" that provides replacements in the form of a poorly refurbished tool and has left me with a couple of janky ratchets that click like twice per revolution...

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