Today's vehicles feature a lot of plastic, in terms of panels and snap-in clips. Popping panels from interiors or trying to remove push-pin plastic clips that retain headliners, seals, etc., can be dicey when using metal tools such as screwdrivers.
The MasterPry LED tools from GTE (General Technician Equipment) are made of high-tech plastic, so the risk of gouging or marring panels is greatly reduced if not eliminated. The angle-wedge profile eases use, as opposed to a straight and flat tool that causes your hand to get crammed in-between the tool and working surface. The angle gives your hand a bit of breathing room for better access and leverage, and the slim wedge profile eases entry behind clip heads or panel edges (think of the wedge force provided with a pickle fork that's designed to help separate suspension joints and you get the idea).
Two tools are included in the kit P/N GTEDP1. Both feature precision edges for scraping and light panel separating, an angled wedge-profile tip, and a textured grip surface that's hand friendly and prevents the tool from slipping in your fingers. One tool features a straight edge tip for prying behind panel edges, while the other tool features a slotted "fork" tip for digging under clip heads. According to GTE, the tools are constructed of "military spec" polymer plastic.
With the press of a button, the built-in 30-lumen LED light activates and stays on until the button is depressed again (no need to hold the button to keep the light on). The light aids in guiding the tool in dark areas. By the way, batteries are already included and installed (simply tear off the protective plastic film that insulates the battery contact and you're ready to go). As part of the thoughtful design, a tapered relief that starts at the light and tapers outward provides a path for the light, helping to concentrate the light toward the working surface.
During my tryout period, I found the tools not only easy to use but durable as well. After repeated use, I never experienced any burring or gouging of the tool tips. The built-in light isn't needed at all times, but it's a real blessing to have that option when required, instead of trying to hold a small flashlight in your mouth while trying to pry off an interior panel. By the way, the battery compartment feature two "button" style batteries.
I found the tools very helpful for popping A-pillar trim panels and the often fragile plastic surround panels that OEMs use for radio/NAV panels without damaging panel edges.
In addition to wedging off snap-on panels or retaining clips, I found that the slim wedge tips are also handy for separating weatherstrip material (depending on the type of weatherstrip), removing stubborn original rubber or silicone gasket beads, etc. While the polymer plastic material is relatively tough, I wouldn't use the tools for prying metal objects, to avoid burring and gouging the tool tip.
The tool tips measure about 1-inch in width, with the tip thickness tapering down to about 0.044-inch thick, which allows entry into some tight gaps. The underside of the fork-tip tool features a pair of "humps" that rest against the surrounding surface, providing a bit more leverage and stability when prying out plastic retaining clips.
Granted, pry tools don't exactly fall under the umbrella of complex rocket science, but these tools are very well designed for the intended purposes, and definitely aimed at the working pro. As trim-panel tools go, the MasterPry line is the best I've ever used. According to the package, the tools also feature a lifetime warranty, which is always a good thing.
According to the company's website, suggested list price is $44.95, which may seem a bit pricey for what may at first appear as two slabs of plastic. There's a reason for the price.
These are not cheesy little throw-away toys. They're cleverly designed and robustly built for professional technicians who want superior tools and for those who treat their valued tools with respect. When you consider the cost of replacing a customer's dash panel for their new BMW that you just scratched when you tried to pop it off using a flat-blade screwdriver, these tools are definitely worth the investment.
Want a quality tool? You get what you pay for.
GTE (General Technician Equipment)
Sign up for a FREE subscription to Auto Service Professional magazineSubscribe