I saw a cordless 3/8 ratchet kit on the tool truck. How long do the battery-operated tools last?
"To begin with, it all depends upon how you treat your tools. And with cordless tools, this includes careful maintenance to keep in running longer and stronger. For example: dropping the cordless ratchet on the ground or not maintaining the battery as prescribed by the manufacturer will shorten its lifespan. Tools are the devices that make you money under the hood. Take care your stuff and it will 'make you money all at the same time!"
Is it worth buying an electronic, a/c leak detector?
"Nowadays, most vehicles have dye installed in their system. So, using a black light will give you a good picture regarding a leaking hose or compressor. But, if you have an evaporator leak—located behind the dash—you will need the electronic leak detector to check for Freon concentration (after a vehicle sits motionless for 12 hours). I know that I have both items in my toolbox. You should, too."
Have an automotive service-related question for Pam Oakes? Email it to Tire Business reporter William Schertz at [email protected].
ASE-certified technician Pam Oakes is the owner of Pam's Motor City Auto & Tire Center, an award-winning automotive service business in Fort Myers, Fla. She also is the author of the book series Car Care for the Clueless and hosts a weekly radio talk show by the same name on CBS Radio's The Sky and CoachMeRadio. And yes, she still "turns wrenches."