Save yourself some time, arm strain and possible frustration. Treat yourself to a breaker bar today!
Don’t have a breaker bar/ breaker bar wrench handy? Here’s a few things we’ve found them very useful for:
- Frustration over tight bolts. When it came sale time for my Rx7 I had to replace the ageing drivers side seatbelt over for it to go through it’s safety inspection correctly. Come hell or high water, nothing I hit the stubborn floor mounted bolt with (and I tried a lot of things!) would get it to turn even a wasps tackle of a degree. $20 at Supercheap Auto for the breaker bar and another couple of bucks for the correct socket later and it turned an hour long frustration into a 2 second bolt loosen. Hardly any pressure was needed either adding to the chorus of ‘Why didn’t I buy this f’n earlier?’
- Reach. Personally I use a breaker bar when performing an oil change in my own driveway. Since the combination of my arm and the bar can reach the filler pan bolt without any hassles, there’s no real reason to jack the car up to get at the pan. I simply loosen the bolt, slide the oil collection container underneath the hole, remove the bolt and let gravity do the rest. It’s far safer than having the car elevated (especially if you’re just relying on a jack – you should at least have some jack stands or ramps to play it safe) and it’s far easier to use a breaker bar to get a tightened bolt off than a shorter handled socket wrench.
- A breaker bar can replace a tyre iron. Keep one in the boot/truck with the right socket ready for your next flat. They’re a little easier to store (especially if you’re swapping over a four way tyre iron) and easier to get the nuts loosened due to the leverage you can get from the long handle. (2019 update: I carry my breaker bar, socket set adapter and the correct socket for my wheel nuts in the back of my wagon, tucked in near the spare wheel. There’s a four way tire iron in there too but since the breaker bar is far easier with the extra leverage, I universally use that instead.)
- Baz the father in law reckons that a good quality one made of toughened steel can replace a hammer when it comes time to belt something. This is not something we recommend you try but hey, if there’s an absolutely emergency and your hammer has gone missing (don’t do this with thin one’s obviously)..
So 1/4, 3/8 or 1/2 inch drive?
Depends on your sockets and if you’ve got more of one size or another. It doesn’t matter if their metric or imperial, torx, or impact sockets – get the proper sized breaker bar (or at least a decent adapter) and suddenly your socket set becomes far more useful. For decent sized structural bolts you’ll probably prefer the extra strength of the 1/4 drive.
Is there a ratcheting option for breaker bars?
There sure is! If you don’t like having to reset the socketed end when you run out of room then a ratcheting breaker bar is worth it’s weight in gol- er steel. As you’ve guessed the ratcheting breaking bars are more expensive than their not ratcheting basic counterpart and there’s plenty to choose from. Looking through Amazon, this one from Titan Tools seems to tick all the boxes: ‘You don’t have to change the ratchet. It’s ratcheting breaker bar one tool and get it done.’
So what’s a cheater bar then?
A home made breaker bar comprised of a wrench put into a length of metal pipe. Obviously not as structurally sound (unless you weld it we guess) as a proper made breaker bar but can still do pretty much everything you ask of it….just ask these guys!
So where do I get one?
Auto stores, eBay, tool shops, pretty much everywhere and anywhere that deals with car products. If you’re a big Amazon shopper this Neiko 3/8 drive seems great value for money and comes with a lot of favorable reviews. For more heavy duty work involving a breaker bar, maybe try this heavy duty 25 inch bar instead. There is also the option of the Craftsman breaker bar which does come in a pack of 3 so you can cover all sizes in one hit.