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Thread: Mechanic flashlight

  1. #1

    Default Mechanic flashlight

    What does everyone use as a auto mechanic flashlight? I have an inexpensive LED flashlight that I bought at Home Depot during their Christmas sale, but it just is not very bright. I am thinking of getting the INFRAY LED pen light.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Timothybil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    Nitecore used to have a T360M, which was a small light with a magnetic base, which would have been ideal for working on autos, especially under the hood or on the underbody. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued, but you still may be able to find one out there.

    Other than that, I will go along with the majority that will respond to this and say a headlamp of some kind. You will have to decide for yourself what features and price range you are interested in. I know nitecore alone has at least twenty variants on the theme.
    Remember, Two is One, and One is None!.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothybil View Post
    Nitecore used to have a T360M, which was a small light with a magnetic base, which would have been ideal for working on autos, especially under the hood or on the underbody. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued, but you still may be able to find one out there.

    Other than that, I will go along with the majority that will respond to this and say a headlamp of some kind. You will have to decide for yourself what features and price range you are interested in. I know nitecore alone has at least twenty variants on the theme.
    Thanks for the suggestion on the Nitecore. I do already have a bright headlamp. Sometimes I need to inspect things where I need to shine an actual handheld flashlight thought.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    A headlamp works in most cases but sometimes you are in a tight spot where a headlamp won't fit or being positioned above your eyes the light from it is blocked by an obstruction or is close so something that reflects light back and blinds you so you need a light that you can position in the sweet spot. I was replacing the starter on a truck and jacked up the car on one wheel and slid under and needed a light that I could position in the right spot. As I've converted/replaced my most used lights with 18650 format I was looking for something that could take replaceable 18650 cells suitable for working on a vehicle that can handle getting dirty and oily and being dropped and banged around and that has a few levels of light and not have to cycle through junk modes (blinking, or red). I found a 3AAA COB magnet light that would work but doesn't support 18650 cells has a flexible stalk to position the light.
    Fenix Split rings 1400+ sent, SWIVELS now available also!
    Psalm 112:4 Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    If you are working indoors a Streamlight stylus pro is a good light that easily clips in your pocket. They have one called "reach" that is a bendy light to fish down into tight places in todays modern (read crowded) engine bays. And it has a magnetic base. A maglite minimag aaa aint bad either. For trouser pocket carry a streamlight microstream or maglite Solitaire work well.

    Nebo make one called slyd that has a nice throwy front light for lighting up crevices and when you slide the head forward it exposes a nice area lighter. Super strong magnetic base is also great for sucking out that dropped socket. It's kinda big so it doesn't just slide into a shirt pocket like the stylus pro does.

    For working out in a parking lot I find a zoomie light works best. The focused spot is good when you have super duper contrasting light conditions like a sunny day versus finding a leaking coolant system. Most mechanics I know use a combination of the stylus pro and the Streamlight Stinger. They like the ability to cradle charge the Stinger.
    John 3:16

  6. #6

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    Well at our shop we use Streamlight ProTac HL USBs I mostly use a Maglite MagTAC Rechargeable and a Maglite Minimag AA Pro+ I was using a Solitaire with a good clip on it as a hat light but just switched to a Minimag AAA for the runtime.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    Did you put the hat clip from the Solitaire onto the aaa minimag BB?
    BTW a microstream two way clip fits like it was made for it. I got some at Bright Guy a while ago when I ordered another light. I was already paying the S&H on the other light so it ended up not costing more for shipping than the clip costed.
    John 3:16

  8. #8

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    I found a light that I think will work good for my purposes. I bought a NEBO Big Larry. It has a bright regular LED flashlight at one end and on the side it has a 400 lumen COB LED light that works great as an area light. And the base is magnetic. The light is narrow enough that I will be able to get it into tight spots.




  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    I see you've found your light... for now.

    I find that I can't have enough light or lights while working on vehicles. I have been using a titanium Mac flashlight for the last 7 years. I have beat the living snot out of it and it still looks new. I have a ton of other lights at my disposal, but have the Ti Mac in my pocket every day.

    I have found headlights to not be ideal for me while working on cars. My hands are always filthy and after a week of use I don't want to put that thing on my head anymore. Plus, while trying to sneak under vehicles (I have box trucks that don't fit on my lift) it just gets caught on everything.
    How often do you find yourself using a headlight for auto work?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    Did you put the hat clip from the Solitaire onto the aaa minimag BB?
    BTW a microstream two way clip fits like it was made for it. I got some at Bright Guy a while ago when I ordered another light. I was already paying the S&H on the other light so it ended up not costing more for shipping than the clip costed.
    well I had a clip I stole from my Coast stainless AA inspection light, and I yoinked that off the Solitaire and put the small chrome clip that the AAA came with on the Solitaire and gave it to our secretary as a purse light (I have a Surefire Titan + that’s all the 1xAAA I needed although I wanted a Fenix LD02, They’re discontinued and unavailable, I got an E12 instead, it arrives today) and put the Coast clip on the AAA I have to put it on top of the hat but I’m happy. The spill on the AAA is wider than on all my other mags, it works well. The two way Streamlight clips work?! Thanks for the tip!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    +1 For Nebo Big Larry. Besides my EDC, that's mostly what I use for a mechanic's inspection light (though I have the older version with just the side COB), then break out something larger for the actual work.

    I'd rather it took 2x18650 cells for better runtime, but have plenty of Eneloops so it's no biggie.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by J_C View Post
    +1 For Nebo Big Larry. Besides my EDC, that's mostly what I use for a mechanic's inspection light (though I have the older version with just the side COB), then break out something larger for the actual work.

    I'd rather it took 2x18650 cells for better runtime, but have plenty of Eneloops so it's no biggie.
    I agree a 2x18650 side/side with a 400 lumen COB LED and a low level of about 50 lumens in a tough case would be nice.
    I'm not a fan of 3AA tube lights they are way too long IMO and a single 18650 can match the output and more for a lot less size.
    Fenix Split rings 1400+ sent, SWIVELS now available also!
    Psalm 112:4 Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    I use a headlamp and a few flashlights, but 95% of the time I'm in my garage with access to 120V and use an AC LED light!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Raptor1956 View Post
    I use a headlamp and a few flashlights, but 95% of the time I'm in my garage with access to 120V and use an AC LED light!
    I've considered a corded LED light but none have peaked my interest either too expensive or look a bit too fragile. I may retrofit my fluorescent one with a COB LED and driver as I could probably do that cheaper than buying one with a retractable cord.
    Fenix Split rings 1400+ sent, SWIVELS now available also!
    Psalm 112:4 Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* Timothybil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    The other thing with 3cell alkaline/lithium/NiMH lights is that many times they are unregulated with probably a dropping resistor to bring the voltage down a little. The big giveaway is when the LED starts getting dimmer and dimmer. I personally won't even look at a 3 cell light unless the packaging/blurb clearly states regulated.
    Remember, Two is One, and One is None!.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    My dad’s hobby is restoring old Mopars so we spend a lot of time in and under cars and have used different task lights. Lately our favorites are the Milwaukee Tools rechargeable Rover series floody task lights. They come in a couple orientations with different clips, magnet bases, pivoting stands. They are small, have good runtime (proprietary 18650s that charge inside the light but you can remove and swap for a fresh one if you want) are very bright (2-3 modes available) and have proved durable so far. Might be worth a look.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    Zebralight headlamps, I have 5, is what I use to work on cars or buildings. In 10 or so years, they served me well without a single failure. It is the most compact, lightest and brightest 18650 that I am aware of with choice of different reflectors and LEDs for required beam profile, It is tough too: I dropped it in shafts, covered in mud, paint, banged around objects, left in wet conditions, etc. I absolutely destroyed a couple of g-shock watches, just by wearing them at work, the zebralights are still kicking. I almost want them one fail so I can have an excuse to buy another one.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    Millwalkee is doing some nice ideas lately. They may give ole Nebo a bit of cempetition.

    I had forgotten about the big Larry. It's pretty popular. I have a brand called KwickLite that is a little Larry from before the little Larry and that sucker casts light around corners. The magnetic pocket clip rotates around the light.
    The LED array lights are amazing. Just don't look at it. Yikes.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 04-04-2020 at 05:49 AM.
    John 3:16

  19. #19

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    Today I ordered the Ryobi P790 project work light. I have the Nebo flashlight and it is handy for looking into tight spots under the hood, but I felt I needed something with more horsepower that would light up the area when I am working in low light. This Ryobi is small enough to easily move around, it is cordless and has a hook to hang it under the hood, and the light panel rotates to different angles so I can shine the light where I need it. I already have a lot of cordless Ryobi tools and they have been very good quality, plus I already have the batteries and charger.

    Last edited by Jeep guy; 04-15-2020 at 01:34 PM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by stewdogg View Post
    I see you've found your light... for now.

    I find that I can't have enough light or lights while working on vehicles. I have been using a titanium Mac flashlight for the last 7 years. I have beat the living snot out of it and it still looks new. I have a ton of other lights at my disposal, but have the Ti Mac in my pocket every day.

    I have found headlights to not be ideal for me while working on cars. My hands are always filthy and after a week of use I don't want to put that thing on my head anymore. Plus, while trying to sneak under vehicles (I have box trucks that don't fit on my lift) it just gets caught on everything.
    How often do you find yourself using a headlight for auto work?
    I do not use my headlight too often for automotive work. They are great in an emergency but I do not like to use a headlight on a regular basis. My step-on's vehicle recently had a dead battery and I had to go jump the car to start it. I grabbed my headlight for that as he was parked in a very dark area. The headlight was ideal for that situation because I could use both hands to get out the jumper cables.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Mechanic flashlight

    Lovin that Ryobi Jg. Very nice.

    I was thinking of a Millwalkee since I have spare "drill" batteries but that Ryobi has those OCD voices whispering in my ear "you want that P790, you know you do"………
    John 3:16

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