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 Precision Screwdrivers.



Ask any A/V studio tech or electrical engineer what a “Greenie” is, and there’s a good chance they’ll respond with the word screwdriver. That’s because the nickname Greenie evolved from the colored handle of a specific model of small precision screwdriver that’s well suited to adjusting trim pots in electrical gear.

Yet the beloved Greenie is just the beginning.

Many modern ignition boxes feature adjustable pots and trimmers, where using the proper size precision screwdriver is essential to preventing damage. (Image/Summit Racing)

Flathead, Phillips, Torx, and beyond—there are hundreds of different types and sizes of precision screwdrivers out there, each one designed to fit the tiny screw heads you’ll commonly find in, say, modern electronic components like ignition modules, distributors, and ECUs.

Believe it or not though, a lot of gearheads don’t own a dedicated set of these handy tools, often getting by with the freebies that are included with knockdown furniture, promo giveaways, and sunglass repair kits.

Many wire terminals and busses require a small precision screwdriver to tighten the connection—and you don’t want to strip these suckers out by using the wrong tool. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Those freebie tools present a problem though, since using the wrong size (or a cheaply made) precision screwdriver can cause plenty of headaches.

That’s because it’s laughably easy to strip the head of a small fastener, which often means you’re stuck drilling-out a tiny screw in a tight spot, usually surrounded by delicate parts—suffice it to say, that’s not a fun job.

OnAllCylinders contributor Wayne Scraba wrote an entire article all about screwdrivers. Check it out here: The Humble Screwdriver: The Most Mistreated Tool in the Toolbox?

The tops of these screwdrivers spin, so you can place them in the palm of your hand to apply downward pressure to the fastener head while your fingers twist the knurled shafts—a great way to get a lot of torque on a stubborn, tiny screw. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

A quality precision screwdriver set can prevent you from stripping out the heads on those pesky screws.

Better still, it can make removing small fasteners really easy, thanks to a knurled grip and fast-spinning shaft.

(These tiny tools also have a tendency to wander off as well, often forgotten on an audio rack or vehicle frame rail, so having a few spares in common sizes is a smart idea.)


A quality set of precision screwdrivers is easy to stuff in the bottom of a toolbox, making it a great addition to any gearhead or hobbyist’s tool arsenal. They’re really affordable too, so you’ll have no problem finding a good precision screwdriver set for under 30 bucks.

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.