When dragging, driving, and hauling equipment for Hot Rod Drag Week, there’s no avoiding roadside repairs. Attendees of this massive event put their cars through the ringer—thrashing them at the track, loading them up with equipment, and then driving hundreds of miles to do it all over again. There’s no doubt several drivers suffered some setbacks during this grueling week-long test of endurance. Were you one of them? These are the tools you wish you had at Drag Week 2018.
Portable Car Jumper
Older cars are subjected to a lot of electrical issues. Likely, the most frustrating is when the charging system ceases to function or some other related issue kills the battery. Sure, there’s always the option to stand roadside waiting for another contender to pull over and give you a jump. But it’s safe to say that things will move along faster if you have a jump starter on hand.
Stanley part number J5C09 is an industry favorite when it comes to this department. For around $100, this system provides an instant 500 amps, features a built-in air compressor, and easily stores just about anywhere. The next time you head out to Drag Week, keeping one of these on hand is a must.
Battery-Powered Impact Wrench
Breaking the jack out, lifting the car, remembering you forgot to loosen the lugs, dropping the car down, loosening the lugs, jacking the car back up and carrying on is such a pain in the neck—especially when you’re in a parking lot or working roadside with a sense of urgency. Portable battery-powered impact wrenches are the cure for not only this issue but many others.
Sure, you can save a few pennies and buy the budget brand. Or you could spend a few more dollars on the Dewalt DCF887D2, which ranks top on many users’ lists of the tools you wish you had. This is a brushless unit that throws out up to 1825 in-lbs and runs right around the neighborhood of $160. With a compact and lightweight design, it’s ideal for tight spaces. And its three LEDs mean you won’t be left in the dark when those Drag Week repairs come calling well after sundown.
When working with only a trunk and hitch storage, space is a limited and highly valuable resource. Sure, you’d love to bring a creeper and a seat along for Drag Week, but the space taken up by the combination can be better used for carrying tools, fuel, and other much-needed equipment.
Though, with the Pro-Lift C-9100 collapsible creeper you can bring both along, without sacrificing much space at all. With a 2-in-1 design, this bad boy keeps the gravel off your back and the scrapes off your knees, and will only run you about $50.
Craftsman 150-piece Mechanics Set
You might have a nice collection of high-end tools that you consider your investment pieces. And sure, they’re really nice to have but maybe not what you want to keep with you when traveling thousands of miles track-to-track. With that said, you likely don’t want to invest your hard-earned cash on no-name tool brands that you can’t rely on, especially for an event as important as Drag Week.
Lucky for you, Craftsman just released a new line of tools which include 120-tooth professional feeling ratchets. They bundle the basics together in a 150-piece mechanics tool set which runs around $200. They may not be the top dog in many techs’ eyes but when you need a reliable tool set to keep in your car, you really can’t beat this deal.
Underhood Work Lamps
Hot Rod Drag Week participants will tell you that working in the dark is no pleasure, especially when you’re under the hood. Trying to hold a light in your mouth while using your hands, quickly leads to a cramped jaw and potential gagging. This is exactly what makes units like the Nightstick SLR-2120 rechargeable under-hood work light so amazing.
These units hook to the hood, giving you plenty of light, and only run in the neighborhood of about $80. When you’re caught with a light in your mouth trying to maintain composure, this will be one of the tools you wish you had on your tour of Drag Week.
Ratcheting Caliper Piston Compressor
Servicing brakes is a pain. Whether it’s swapping pads while gearing up for the strip on Drag Week or switching back to street pads when hauling to the next event, it’s just a pain. Most all Hot Rod Drag Week participants are running disc brakes and the most painful part of servicing disc brakes is compressing the caliper pistons.
We’re all familiar with the knob-style compressors or may even cheat with use of a c-clamp. Alltrade is just one of many companies that produce ratcheting brake caliper piston compressors, but their units are particularly easy-to-find and run only about $45. These units will fit easily in any tool bag and make a breeze of wrestling with caliper pistons.
Automatic Wire Stripper & Crimper
Here we are back to talking about wiring. Is it really a surprise, though? Most other jobs are very straight-forward and require traditional finesse. Wiring, however, never fails to be a total nut buster (lug nut buster, that is).
The demands of Drag Week can leave you in awkward conditions where working properly just isn’t an option with traditional strippers and crimpers. That’s what makes tools like the Irwin VISE-GRIP Self-Adjusting Wire Strippers so special. For about $22 this multipurpose tool makes a breeze of working with wires in tight spots, earning it a place on our list of tools you wish you had at Drag Week.
Did we miss any must-have tools? Do you have opinions on any of the ones listed above? Let us know in the comments!