Need Hangar Tools? Snap-On Comes At A Premium
The first step in wrenching your own aircraft is buying the right tools. You'll pay a hefty premium for the Snap-On brand, but they remain the shop gold standard.
If you’re setting up a personal hangar for light DIY wrenching, it’s worth following the lead of maintenance shops that know what’s good. Walk through a real maintenance hangar and you won’t have to look hard to spot the Snap-On tool logo. Whether it’s a gigantic rolling tool cabinet or a pair of cutters, there’s a reason why professional technicians invest big for Snap-On tools. There’s a rich heritage behind what many believe to be the gold standard in tools, which dates back to 1920.
Gregory Narozniak, an independent authorized Snap-On franchisee in central New Jersey, rattled off a long list of traits that lend to Snap-On quality. The photo here is the interior of his traveling tool warehouse—part of the Snap-On convenience and support effort.
According to Narozniak, when a tool is designed or an improved version is created there are hours upon hours of engineering incorporated into that tool, which is evident in user ergonomics and precision. “When the instinct handle on a Snap-On screwdriver fits better in the hand, it simply makes the tool more efficient,” Narozniak told me. Additionally, the steel that’s used during manufacturing is often specific to a tool.
For example, the shock-resistant steel used in Snap- On screwdrivers, punches, chisels and so forth isn’t particularly the best fit for the company’s sockets, so a different steel blend is used in those sockets. Similarly, a different blend of steel is specific to Snap-On wrenches. One of the many primary differences between lower-quality tools and high-end tools like Snap-On is accuracy. Snap-On’s sockets and wrenches utilize flank drive, a concept that came at the request of the United States Navy in 1960. There was a need to remove bolts with rounded corners and as a result, the socket had to be designed to grab the flat part of the fastener rather than the corners. The design is still in use today on Snap-On flank drive and flank drive-plus tools.
The other draw that keeps technicians coming back to Snap-On is the support and warranty. According to Narozniak, Snap-On battery-powered tools are one of the only industrial product lines that carry an extensive warranty, which can initially be one or two years, depending on the item, and after the warranty expires, the tool is covered with a flat-rate repair should anything go wrong.
Moreover, nearly all of the company’s hand tools are covered under a no-hassle lifetime warranty. “Simply hand the item to your Snap-On franchisee and it will be covered,” Narozniak told me. It's a sales pitch, but worth boasting about. I once dropped a small Snap-On torque wrench off a wing and the visiting rep grabbed a replacement from his truck and handed it to me on the spot.
Snap-On tools are available for purchase through a local authorized Snap-On franchisee or via Snap-On Tools direct.
Look for a full report on equipping a personal hangar with tools for DIY aircraft wrenching in the January 2018 issue of Aviation Consumer magazine.