It's a tool that instantly grips to any shape. Or so it claims.
"The idea seems all right, like it would work," says mechanic Scott Cain, who works at Express Tire and Auto in Cape Girardeau. We gave Scott his first glimpse of the Gator Grip Universal Socket Wrench. He's used to wrestling with, but the Gator Grip may be the only tool he needs to keep handy. It claims to fit various sizes and shapes of fasteners. But it doesn't admit one big flaw.
"We can't unhook the battery cable with this because it won't fit over the stud," adds Scott. The 'stud' Scott talks about is the end of the bolt sticking through the nut. "The pins won't push in far enough for it to work. If you're going over a long stud, it's not going to work."
"We can try it on one here, and this will probably work," says Scott as he moves to a flat-headed bolt. "See, it will work on this one." The Gator gripped various sizes and shapes of shallow fasteners. But..."We'll try to take one of these bolts off with it. But it won't work here either! Because it has a stud, and none with a stud will work"
Even when it does work, may not work well. "If you don't get this thing perfectly centered on here, it'll set here and wobble when you're taking stuff off with it," explains Scott. "It wants to fly off there, like that."
Engines are just one thing Gator Grip promises to work on. Manufacturers say it will also work wonders on broken, rusted or stripped-out nuts. So we tighten a stripped-out battery terminal with a vice grip.
"See, it won't grab on to that! A lot of the problem is that it won't go down far enough on it," Scott continues pointing out the flaw.
We move on to a different shape, a wing nut, and it works after Scott fiddles with Gator Grip to get it to fit. We can see where this $20 tool would be convenient for some home use, but don't expect it to be the tool of choice for everything.
"It says it'll work on anything," says Scott. "But i can't see how it will work on anything if it won't fit over a stud."