Do you ever get into a situation where you want to tighten or loosen a fastener with adjustable pliers but the pliers cannot produce enough torque? What do you do? Some people go for a bigger tool while others choose to be creative and use a cheater bar to get more leverage. I used to be in the category of cheater bar users but I stopped after ruining a couple of pliers. Now I either reach for bigger pliers or use a different tool altogether.
So, the reason for writing this article is to share about cheater bars and why you should never use them on pliers.
What is a cheater bar?
A cheater bar tool or cheater pipe is a sturdy metal tube that you can slide over the handle of a tool to extend its length. It helps you get more torque from a tool using the same amount of force. Some people call it a breaker bar pipe because it does much the same job as breaker bar but fits on a tool differently.
Cheater bars are common in automotive garages. Mechanics use them to extend the length of socket wrench breaker bars to generate more torque than a standard length tool. This helps them break loose even the most stubborn fasteners without breaking the back.
Because cheater pipes make work easier, some people use them to extend the handles of small pliers so that they can use them on high torque applications. A good example is someone trying to get the performance of a 10″ Cobra from the tiny cobra xs or wrench xs.
While this hack may seem to work on quality pliers, it often backfires on pliers of average quality. Sometimes the hack may even fail to work on those good pliers because cheater bars are not meant for pliers.
So, why shouldn’t you use a cheater bar tool on pliers?
After bending and breaking the handles of some good water pump pliers, I learned my lesson that trying to use cheater bars on pliers to get more torque is a bad idea.
You see, pliers come in different sizes and lengths. And each size corresponds to a torque range that the pliers can reasonably handle.
So, when you use a cheater bar to get more torque, you potentially subject the pliers to more force than it can handle. This can result in the destruction of the pliers. Specifically, you could bend the handles or break them or break the joint.
If you are dealing with a high-quality tool such as most Knipex pliers, you are unlikely to break them with a cheater pipe. But you might damage the equipment you are working on or the cheater bar itself.
In a nutshell, never try to use a cheater pipe or snipe to get more torque from pliers. Otherwise, you might destroy the pliers, damage the equipment, strip the fastener, or put people in danger. If your boss is none tolerant, he can fire you from the job for not using the correct tool. So, why take such a risk while you could use the right tool?
To conclude, always use the right size pliers for the job. Don’t try to take shortcuts. If you cannot get enough torque from your adjustable pliers, try bigger size pliers. If that does not work, find a better model that can provide better leverage or consider using a different tool. But avoid the temptation of using a cheater pipe by all means. Unless you just want to use the snipes to extend the handles for extended reach.
So, there you have it. That is what I feel about using cheater bars on pliers. What is your take?