Whether or not watching NASCAR races inspired your love of cars, it’s safe to say most automotive professionals find the concept of pit crews fascinating. Keeping pit stops under 12 seconds long requires expert skill, precision, and—most importantly—a great set of tools.
If you’re interested in becoming an automotive professional, check out these five top tools NASCAR pit crews use—some of which you might encounter during your career!
1. Duct Tape: An Unexpected Tool for Pit Crews
Duct tape has earned the nickname “200 mph tape,” and it’s not without good reason. When a race car driver pulls into the pit and needs a repair, there’s no option other than fast. If a small piece of the car is coming off and needs to be secured, pit crews often rely on duct tape to piece the car back together.
In the racing world, fixes are not made with longevity in mind, unlike in the repair shop. The only goal is to maintain the vehicle’s aerodynamics and get it across the finish line. It is unlikely during your professional auto body repair technician career you’ll ever repair a vehicle using duct tape, but for pit crews, this is an essential tool to have.
2. Air Compressors: Used By Pit Crews and Auto Body Technicians
You may get the chance to work with air compressors during your auto repair training. In a regular auto shop, air compressors are filled with air, but pit crews’ air compressors are filled with nitrogen. The air compressor still works the same way; the gas is compressed and when it is released, it unleashes a great deal of force. However, out on the race track weather conditions can change drastically. Oxygen is volatile and unpredictable, whereas nitrogen is reliable no matter the temperature. When pit crews only have seconds to make a fix, knowing the tool is going to work predictably regardless of the weather is paramount.
3. Jacks: A Must-Have for Pit Crews and Auto Body Repair Technicians
Car jacks are a must-have for every car owner and auto body technician. In order to change a tire, a vehicle needs to be jacked up. When a race car driver burns through their tires while driving at top notch speeds, they pull over to the pit area to get a full tire change. Pit crews are equipped with powerful jacks that use hydraulics. In racing, where every second counts, these impressive jacks can jack up the vehicle in just one pump!
4. Extension Poles: An Extra Set of Hands for Pit Crews
Only some members of a pit crew are allowed near the car during a pit stop. With the strict regulations imposed on pit crews, extension poles can provide an extra set of hands in the pit. Without crossing the threshold, extra pit members can use extension poles to wipe the windshield clean and remove debris from the grills to improve aerodynamics. Extension poles can also be used to pass the driver a much-needed drink of water. Although simple, extension poles can have a huge hand in helping a driver win the race.
5. Hammers and Bats: A Life Saver for Pit Crews, but a Nightmare for Auto Body Technicians
When it comes to taking a blunt force object to a car, most automotive professionals will cringe at the thought. However, for pit crews taking a hammer to a car is all in a day’s work. As cars get bumped and damaged while racing, parts may become so bent out of place they could impact the outcome of the race. Pit crews will use bats and hammers to quickly knock car parts back into shape.
Are you interested in learning more about auto body technician careers?
Contact an advisor at Automotive Training Centres today to learn how you can get started!