As I have always said, it is good to use the right tool for the job whenever possible. And this applies to pliers as well. There are so many types of pliers, each one for a specific task. You will be amazed at how much they make work easier.
However, in some situations, you need to be creative and use the tools you have at hand to get the job done. A classic example is using needle nose locking pliers to pinch off rubber hoses when working on fuel lines, coolant hoses, or vacuum lines of a car.
Why do you need hose pincher pliers?
As you might have learned from my post on hose pinch-off pliers, you do not need to drain off the fluid or remove rubber hoses every time you are working on them or components attached to them. Sometimes pinching the hose to shut off fluid flow does the trick.
But you need a good tool that will squeeze the hose completely to prevent any leakage or fluid loss. Also, the tool should squeeze the hose and stay locked in place without leaving any damage. This is where dedicated hose pincher pliers come in handy.
But do you know that with a little improvisation, you can use regular needle nose locking pliers as hose pinch off pliers? Well, in this post I share how to make a rubber hose pincher out of long nose locking pliers.
What is needle nose locking pliers?
Needle nose locking pliers or vise grips are simply regular needle nose pliers with compound lever action and a locking mechanism. The lever-action provides a mechanical advantage so that small pressure on the handles generates more clamping force on the jaws.
On the other hand, the locking mechanism keeps the jaws locked onto the workpiece so that you don’t have to apply constant pressure on the handles. In other words, vice grips are like an extra pair of hands. Learn more about the different types of locking pliers and their uses in this article.
Without improvisation, needle nose locking pliers are not good for pinching off rubber hoses. Their jaws have teeth that can puncture or leave permanent damage on hoses. Therefore, to use them as hose pinchers you need a bit of creativity.
How to use needle nose locking pliers to pinch off rubber hoses
A simple hack that works all the time is to put two deep sockets on the jaws of locking pliers. The sockets cover the teeth of the jaws so that they will not damage the hose. They also provide nice rounded smooth edges.
Another advantage of using deep sockets on needle nose jaws is that they close completely leaving no gap. This ensures that you get a leak-free squeeze on rubber hoses. Not to mention that deep sockets are long enough to effectively pinch even larger hoses. You can use them to pinch radiator hoses and other hoses wider than 2 inches outside diameter.
Without covering the jaws, it is not a good idea to use regular locking pliers to pinch rubber hoses. As I mentioned, the teeth on the jaws can puncture or mar the surface of rubber hoses. Also, some jaws don’t close all the way and therefore might not squeeze the hose all to keep fluid from flowing.
In a nutshell, if you want to use regular long nose locking pliers as pinching pliers for radiator hoses or fuel lines, just cover the jaws with deep sockets and you’ll be set.
You will be surprised that this improvisation does as good of a job as a decent pair of hose pincher pliers.
The deep sockets provide a smooth edge so that you can pinch the hose without causing damage. On the other hand, the locking mechanism of the pliers locks onto the hose without letting go. The end result is a nice tight seal on the hose.