The advantage of self-locking grips or wrenches, such as Mole grips, is that they will lock on whatever they are gripping, leaving hands free. An adjuster alters the width of the jaw opening, and squeezing the handles together locks the jaws in position. Jaws are released by a lever.

Some grips can be fitted with a specially designed bench clamp, and used as a small vice. There are version with various jaw designs for special uses, but the standard serrated jaws are the nest for car maintenance work.

Locking pliers, Mole grips (Mole wrench) or Vise-Grips are pliers that can be locked into position, using an over-center action. One side of the handle includes a bolt that is used to adjust the spacing of the jaws, the other side of the handle (especially in larger models) often includes a lever to push the two sides of the handles apart to unlock the pliers. "Mole" and "Vise-Grip" are trade names of different brands of locking pliers.

Locking pliers are available in many different configurations, such as needle-nose locking pliers, locking wrenches, locking clamps and various shapes to fix metal parts for welding. They also come in many sizes.

Read more on

Guides that use

Adjusting catches and hinges

Bolted hinges Doors or bonnet and boot lids that do not close properly may have moved out of ali...

Renewing hinge pins and hinges

Worn hinge pins occur most often on front doors, where the hinges get the most use. Many hinges ...

Checking battery leads and connections

Use solder wire to fill out the screw hole in a battery post if the hole is too large....

Exhaust manifold gasket replacement

The inlet-manifold mounting at the centre of a V-engine. An exhaust-manifold gasket is more like...

How to replace dampers

Where dampers are located If dampers are worn or damaged they affect not only ride and comfort b...

Adjusting toe alignment on wheels

Camber check Prepare the car in the same way as for the toe-in check. The ideal measuring tool f...

Fitting a new speedometer cable

Speedometer failure is likely to be caused by a fault in the cable that runs from the gearbox to ...

Adjusting wheel bearings

Hub-bearing layout Wheel bearings need periodic checking - and adjusting if necessary - usually ...

Checking engine dampers

Checking a telescopic damper If for any reason you suspect that a telescopic damper is not dampi...

Replacing a water pump

Parts which you may have to remove. On some cars you must take out the radiator to reach the...