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.

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