Maybe sometimes you wonder how hard it is to take on some of the car maintenance yourself so that in turn, you keep more cash in your pocket. This article will outline some of the tools every mechanic should have for your journey to becoming a DIYer or garage mechanic status.
1. Socket Wrench Tool Set
With all the bolts and nuts that hold your vehicle together, a socket tools set will more than likely be one of the most used items in your arsenal. The best choices will include a variety of sizes in both metric and standard sizes that may be made in USA, extensions, and drivers.
- Brake jobs
- Oil changes
- Battery changes
- Emergency repairs
- Changing the headlight assembly, etc.
2. Wire Cutters, Strippers, and Pliers
Modern cars are webbed with harnesses full of electrical connectors and wires. These tools are handy for those electrical jobs that require any splicing or replacing such as wiring a radio, alarm, or any lighting. You can often find an all-purpose set that includes all three types.
- Loosening screws
- Prying up clips
- Cutting thin metal (< 1.3 mm) and wires
- Cutting zip ties
3. Torque Wrench
Often, certain repairs will instruct you to only torque a bolt to a certain amount. This is because over-torqueing can result in a stripped nut or improperly sitting parts. To confidently match these specs, look for a torque wrench that allows you to adjust through a range of settings to ensure you are tightening to the proper specifications.
- Torquing tire lug nuts
- Brake replacements
- Suspension work
- Installing trailer hitches
- Motorcycles and boats as well
4. Wrench Set
A wrench set is one of those tools every mechanic should have. Wrenches are vital and you will find yourself using them often. Get yourself a good set that has an open end and a ratcheting end to make your job easier by allowing you to continually turn a bolt without having to remove the wrench on each turn.
- Pulling out the driveline and the axles on the trucks
- Removing nuts and bolts or loosening them
- General garage use
5. Screwdriver Set
We all know invaluable screwdrivers are inside the house. They are just as important when working on a vehicle because they are necessary for removing many panels and interior parts. Find a set that includes both Phillips head and flat head types in a range of sizes. You may also want to find some star ended drivers as well. Be sure to include very small screwdrivers to tackle any delicate electrical jobs.
- General garage work
- Removing and inserting screws for various parts of the car
- Quick and easy jobs that involve screws
6. Rubber Mallet
Sometimes no matter what you do, you come across a stubborn bolt that is unwilling to budge. A mallet will let you hit close to other metal components without damaging them or ruining their surfaces. Find a mallet that has poly construction or some other soft material.
- General car repairs
- Garage setup (metal shelves, other structures, etc.)
- Fitting together pieces without nails
7. Work Light
Long projects may necessitate working even after daylight has left. Or, you may need added light to clearly see when working under a dark hood or underneath the vehicle. A nice bright work light is a lifesaver when these occurrences come up. Find one that is compact but gives you a nice bright light source. Some of them even have a magnet and/or hook to secure it right to the vehicle.
- Working in the evening or night
- Emergency repairs in low-light areas or corners that are hard to reach
- General garage work
8. Liquid Penetrant
Stubborn bolts can sometimes be coerced off using a liquid penetrant. Just spray and allow it to seep into the threads so that you can crank it loose. You can usually find liquid penetrant in any auto parts store.
- Cleaning paint, rust, and other residues
- Easing off nuts and bolts
- Removing car components, etc.
This handy piece of equipment will give you a way to check for hot wires or help you troubleshoot through electrical issues. You can also use it to test the health of components such as batteries or alternators.
- Solve electrical issues
- Test car alternators and batteries
- Check the generator
- Reading AV voltage and continuity
10. Impact Wrench
Trying to loosen bolts manually can be a pain in the hands. Save yourself from fatigue, blisters and save some time by getting one of these in your set of tools every mechanic should have. There is a wide variety to choose from, so find one that will allow you to expand your set according to your personal needs.
- Removing lug nuts and bolts
- Change snow and summer tires
- Suspension work
11. Oil Drip Pan
You can get fancy or just grab a plastic tub. Either way, a drip pan will be needed for oil changes and fluid flushes so there is something to catch all of the liquid you need to empty out. It will help stop staining of your garage floor or driveway.
- Catching drips and leaks under the car
- Keeping the garage floor clean
- Keep your surroundings dry whenever you need to change or work with fluids
12. Kitty Litter
Even the steadiest of hands can have some spillage. Or, there may be a leak you do not catch right away. A bag of litter is great so you can quickly absorb these nuisances that hit the floor.
- Absorbing the liquids that leak on the ground
- Avoiding future gasoline or other stains
13. Spark Plug Pliers
A must-have in every toolbox, these will help pull plug boots and wires without damaging them during a spark plug change. Changing spark plugs will definitely be a task you undertake regularly.
- Changing spark plugs
- Pulling wires and plug boots
- Working with hard-to-reach boots
14. Floor Jack
Floor jacks lift your vehicle off the ground so that you can access underneath or to change tires. Be sure to get one that can handle the weight of your particular vehicle.
- Keeping the vehicle off the ground while you do your work
- Changing tires
- Working in places hard to reach
- Change motor mounts, etc.
15. Protective Gloves
Latex will help keep hands clean and you can simply toss them instead of having to wash them. Leather or mechanic’s gloves can help protect you from pinches, bumps, and electrical zaps.
- Working with liquids and avoiding stains
- Doing electrical work
- Doing heavy work
16. OBD Reader
This handy tool plugs right into your vehicle (usually under the dash near the steering wheel) and reads error codes to help you troubleshoot and fix issues by leading you in the right direction.
- Identifying the problems your car has
- Reading and clearing error codes
- Learning more about the troubleshooting part
17. Car Service Manual
If there is ever a question of where a certain part is located, fluid capacities, or maintenance schedules- your vehicle’s service manual will have the answer. It is essentially the Encyclopedia for your vehicle. These books usually are reasonably priced and cut down any research you would otherwise have to do. Besides the specific service manual for your car, you can also read some general guides on car repairs. It may seem boring, but it can answer lots of your questions.
- Understanding more about the troubleshooting process
- Preventing other issues in the future
A variety of tapes should be on everyone’s tools every mechanic should have list. Electrical tape is needed for wiring tasks. Masking tape is good to have around for protecting the surface you are working near and do not want to be scratched. Duct tape can be used to mend spots or wrap piping.
- Keeping together different parts
- Isolating electrical wires
- Protecting various surfaces from scratches and other damage, etc.
19. Zip Ties
Often overlooked, zip ties give you the ability to tie groups of wires together keeping things organized and neat. You can also tie back wires that may be coming in contact with hot surfaces and prevent them from burning.
- Keeping wires together
- Identifying the right wires to work with
- Isolating groups of wires to protect them
20. Cleaners and Lubricants
It is always good to keep some brake cleaner to use as a cleaner on metal parts. It dries fast and leaves a nice shine. Lubricants help stop squeaking and keep parts running smoothly by reducing friction. It is also a good way to combat dirt. Degreaser will help clean up oil-based material so that you can create better seals.
- Keeping metal parts clean for the best performance
- Maintaining a good design
- Keeping dirt at bay
- Seal off areas
Many times people consider fixing their own vehicles in order to save some money. This brings up the question what mechanic tools do I need? This may not be an all-inclusive list of tools every mechanic should have but it will give you a good starting point. What tools did you wish you had when you first decided to do some work on your vehicle? Leave helpful comments below.
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