There’s a reason gearheads often use “wrenching” as a synonym for working on cars. The vast majority of the work done in installing parts is removing and reinstalling the screws, nuts, and bolts that hold the parts of the car together. This is usually quite straightforward. Other than the number of bolts you must remove, there is little difference between the techniques you need to put on a cold air intake and the techniques necessary to swap cylinder heads. It just takes more time and effort.

There are several styles that have a place in the mechanic’s toolbox. The most familiar style of wrench is a solid piece of metal with open-ended tips, each tip grasping a single size of bolt. These are useful for when you have to slip the wrench ...

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