Power tools make a technician’s job easier. They operate faster and with more torque than hand tools. However, using power tools requires greater safety awareness. Power tools usually do not stop unless they are turned off. Power is supplied by air (pneumatic), electricity, or hydraulic fluid.
Although electric drills, wrenches, grinders, chisels, drill presses, and various other tools are found in shops, pneumatic (air) tools are used more frequently. Pneumatic tools have four major advantages over electrically powered equipment in an engine rebuilding shop:
• Flexibility. Air tools run cooler and have the advantage of variable speed and torque; damage from overload or stall is minimized. They can fit in tight spaces.
• Lightweight. Air tools are lighter in weight and permit faster work with less fatigue.
• Safety. Air equipment reduces the danger of fire and shock hazards in some environments where arcing of electric power tools can be a problem.
• Low-cost operation and maintenance. Due to fewer parts, air tools require fewer repairs and less preventive maintenance. Also, the purchase cost of air-driven tools is usually less than equivalent electric tools.
The mechanical repair industry was one of the first industries to recognize the advantages of air-powered tools. Today they are essential tools for the professional truck technician. However, a major disadvantage of air tools is excessive noise.