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Thread: Snap-On Tools

  1. #1
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    You may have noticed in several of my posts a reference to one or another Snap-On tools. I guess you deserve an explanation of my Love/Hate relationship with Snap-On.

    When I first outfitted the shop in the late '70s, I wrote Snap-On twice for a catalog, price list & name of nearest dealer. Nothing! I bought elsewhere. Then I sent the president the receipts -- including one for about $4,000 from Craftsman Industrial.

    They had told the area routeman, but he ignored it because I wasn't a "shop" and therefore not worth his time. I don't know if that was the deciding factor, but we got a new routeman shortly afterwards, a great guy who also lived around the corner. I bought a mess of Snap-On from him over the next several years.

    Then he moved out-of-state and the present routeman isn't worth the gunpowder to blow to hell. "Not worth his time." And I have serious doubts of his ethics after I caught him billing the race shop for a tool I bought and gave them.

    Working with the race team '92-93, I met a great Mac man and bought a lot of Mac tools. One day he had a next-to-new trade-in of big roll cab tool box. I bought it and some other stuff -- a Mac receipt for about $2,000. I sent that to the by-then-new president of Snap-0n.

    Must have rung a bell -- I got a call from an area VP! He then sent the District Manager from 175 miles away (and the flunky local supervisor who had once told me I'd NEVER get service) to my house. He saw my shop & tools, and immediately set me up a direct account where I could order via an 800 number.

    Through him, I also met a very experienced industrial salesman. When the district manager's job was cut during another corporate reorganization, I started using Walter. You couldn't ask for anyone better! Everything is just a phone call away. Repairs, replacements, new items or specials. He keeps me coming back!

    Look, Snap-On is overpriced for the ocassional home user. But they are usually the very best design and quality out there. Also, they have more specialty tools than anyone else. A shop mechanic can justify it because the time savings of the right design & fit pay out in the long run. A line mechanic has enough wear & tear to make the low failure rate & warranty worth the extra money. And they have interest-free credit (to shop mechanics). I often go with quality, especially in a tool I use a lot. I don't remember ever breaking a Snap-On socket or wrench compared to a dozen Craftsmen. I've got a Craftsman wrench on the bench now to go back.

    But Snap-On also causes some real headaches besides the price. I don't buy power tools from them anymore. Great tools but they have a company policy that once a power tool is out of the line for 5 years, they will NOT service it. Won't even look at it to see if it's something simple like an O-ring or just needs cleaning! If they consider a power tool a 5-year disposable, I might as well pay disposable prices from Northern Tool.

    The District where I get my invoices from can't ever get one right -- I always have to have Walter follow up and correct them.

    And try to get an error solved? Nightmare! When I bought the Cummins diesel set -- at nearly a $1,000 -- the injection puller was missing. When I finally got it, it didn't match the slide hammer it went with. When I returned the first set, they sent it back UNOPENED. My sealing tape was unbroken; the return authorization and note about the defect were still in it! The 3rd set was also defective. And they had the nerve to bill me for all 3 sets! It took a special order from an Exec VP in headquarters to get it right!

    So it's a Love/Hate relationship. Love the tools, love my salesman, hate the company bureacracy, attitude and some of its policies. But when you see me recommend a tool, it's because I believe in it and think the price is worth it -- admitedly to me & me only.

    For you, well, look at alternatives and examine BOTH. I still do. The way I look at any tool purchase is that I might not save any money on this job, but I've got the tool left over. And I'd rather have a good one left over! The $2 bin at Tool City is usually worth just that!

    PS: They have a new web site www.snapon.com but it leaves a lot to be desired. Lousy indexing. You can browse their catalog without registering but then can't find out prices. You figure that one out!

    [Update: 1/23/10. I've discovered Snap-On has removed the lifetime warranty from a number of tools. They don't tell you which ones and there is no listing in the catalog so it's a crap-shoot. I called a dealer I work with the other day to order a replacement #JT64 two-arm brake hone. The drive shaft had split and the flex shaft had come out. I'm informed Snap-On now considers this tool a "consumable". I could understand the stones -- they wear and you can get replacements in a couple of lengths & grits. But the hard shaft of the tool? I'll give Snap-On more than two cents worth during the work week. They don't accept emails for warranty questions or comments.]
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 01-24-2010 at 07:18 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Well, you can forget browsing the catalog at Snap-on.com. They've now apparently eliminated the ability to even access it unless you register. When you hit the <+Enter Catalog> link on the home page, it takes you to registration. Didn't find an option to let you look at the catalog without registering.

    9/4/01 Update: I had griped to Snap-On about the catalog blockage and they did respond that you can get into it. It sure isn't intuitive!

    Their response was:
    Thank you for your comments regarding the on-line catalog. I'd like to assist you with gaining access to the catalog without registering on the site. You are correct; when we first started the web site, it was neccessary to register with us just to gain access to the catalog. After months of fighting and complaining, we got our way and now have the catalog fully open to the public.

    Please log onto www.snapon.com . You will be taken to the home page of the web site. Please select <+Enter Catalog>. You will then be brought to the home page of the catalog. From this point, please select <Go Shopping>. You will then have full access to the catalog. All current pricing, new products and specials will be availible to all of our customers.
    The <Go Shopping> looks like the title to the registration page, not a link. But it does work as a link and opens the catalog index and -- hoorah -- it finally has prices. I haven't delved into it deep enough to see if or how much they nail you for shipping -- you wouldn't pay shipping if bought through a dealer.

    9/6/01 update: Well, I've played with the site some more. It's irritating because it keeps trying to place permanent cookies all the time, which I don't allow when browsing. To test shipping, which they DON'T post upfront, I started an order. It won't process the order unless you become a "registered" member and it won't tell you shipping charges. Not very consumer friendly, but that was never Snap-on's forte.
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 09-21-2008 at 06:24 AM.

  4. #3
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    I still don't know how the catalog works but I recently had a small part drop-shipped. They tried to tack on $5 shipping and a $3.95 "handling" charge to a $25 socket that couldn't have weighed 3 oz. Shades of JC Whitney!

    I guess I'll have to start having parts shipped to my dealer and pick them up because I'm darn sure not going to pay for shipping & handling when that's already included in the retail price when you buy from a dealer's truck.

  5. #4
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    So, Mike, how does one go about getting a replacement for a missing fuel injection tester part from Snap-On? I also have a timing light with a bad potentiometer. Is there a Snap-On (or Mac, for that matter) service center that you know of? I know Snap-On does not manufacture their tools. If I could find the manufacturer, I might have a chance. As you mentioned, the dealer is not very interested, and I don't really care to escalate to Corporate. Sure wish the websites had parts listings. Does anybody have any sources?

  6. #5
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    Snap-On does manufacture some tools and uses a vendor for others. One of the guidelines is if it's labeled "Blue Point". Those are vendor supplied items.

    It's a shame Snap-On still tolerates dealers that don't give a damn about individuals. Some are only interested in the commercial shops. When I sent a copy of my tool invoice to Snap-On's president, I quickly found he wasn't thrilled. That dealer is no longer around, but I know of many others that are of that same ilk. I sure wish you'd reconsider escalating the dealer to Corporate, if not the problem itself.

    Snap-On does have their own service center. Per above, you will run into items discontinued or superceeded, which they quit supporting after a certain period of time -- typically 5 years. This is a policy I strongly object to -- good tools should last a lifetime, not 5 years. If I want disposable tools or ones I can't justify Snap-On prices for, I buy Northern or Harbor Frieght's Chinese crap.

    Your (or any) dealer has a catalog of repair parts supplied for all their tools, or can quickly on-line to Snap-On via their private network. Of course, they may not offer all sub-assemblies or parts independently. Knowing Snap-On, I'd also suspect they have some they won't sell outside their service work from a "safety" rationale. Liability or profit margin? They sometimes confuse the two.
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 07-20-2009 at 06:04 PM.

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