Whether it’s for a holiday or birthday, this Tools Under 30 Dollars Gift Guide Series shows you important, yet somewhat uncommon, tools that any gearhead would want.
Today, let’s talk about Long Handle Wrenches.
OK, so there’s nothing new or fancy to discuss here. All a long handle wrench is…is a wrench with a longer handle than a regular box-end wrench.
But here’s the thing: Work on vehicles long enough and you’ll undoubtedly come across a situation in which that extra two or three inch long handle is downright essential to finishing the job.
As an example, we were replacing some bushings on the rear suspension of a B15 Nissan Sentra, and we needed to remove a 17mm nut that’s tucked right between the lateral link and the gas tank—far too tight for a breaker bar or even a socket wrench. (And given its proximity to the gas tank, we were understandably hesitant to break out the reciprocating saw or torch.) The nut was also nestled up deep near the body, so an ordinary box-end wrench left little length for a good grip.
Oh, and the car spent much of its life in the rust belt, so suffice it to say, corrosion had seized the nut tight.
If you’re constantly fighting stubborn hardware, you may appreciate this article too: How to Remove Rusted Bolts and Loosen Stuck, Seized or Frozen Nuts and Bolts
After trying to turn the seized bolt with other methods for an hour, we decided to take a trip to our favorite automotive tool supplier.
Returning with a new long handle wrench in our mitt, we broke the stuck nut loose with ease and removed the rest of the Sentra’s rear beam suspension components.
But that single instance aside, long handle wrenches can be really handy when you’re working around the house on other projects—like removing lawnmower blades, breaking loose rusty fence bolts, or loosening a pesky plumbing fitting. Think of them almost like mini-breaker bars that can get in places a larger socket head can’t.
While they’re available in sets, you can also buy them individually for specific jobs too, which means you can probably put together a gift set with two or three wrenches for under 30 bucks.