I'd recently purchased a SureFire U2 Ultra and had it in my coat pocket, when I took my car to a local mechanic for some routine maintenance. Fifteen minutes into my visit, the service writer pulled me aside and told me that my car's brakes were "unsafe" and badly in need of new front brake pads, unaware that I'd recently had my brake pads replaced elsewhere. The service writer took me out to the mechanic working on my car to show me the condition of my brake pads. In the relatively dark garage, he shined an extremely dim penlight into the tiny gap between the brake pad and front rotor and said, "See? There's nothing there." Then he told me he'd gladly perform a brake service for the mere price of $390. I smiled at him and said, "You mean to tell me that you diagnosed my car with THAT little flashlight? Charging $390 for a brake job, you should be able to afford one of these." I whipped out my U2, set it to max output, pressed the switch, and filled his dark garage with brilliant light. When I shined it on the brake pad, it was clear as day that the brake pad had plenty of life left. Also clear as day were the glum looks on the mechanic and service writer's face. The look on their faces was well worth the price of my U2. And it's priceless knowing that this shop will think twice about bilking people out of their cash for unneeded repairs. After all, they'll never know when another customer might whip out his SureFire to shed more light on the situation.

Isaiah B. Highland Park, NJ

See the U2 flashlight: