fotolia 137696208 subscription monthly m

5 Car Repair Tools Every Driver Should Own

Can't fix your car problem on your own? Ask a live mechanic!

With the advent of connected-car services and apps, like OnStar and Zubie, it’s understandable that drivers have become complacent about breakdowns. After all, it’s easy to call up roadside assistance using your smartphone or even your car itself.

However, it’s still important for anyone who drives a car to know how to perform basic tasks — and to carry a few essential car repair tools for that purpose.

Let’s take a look at five of the most important items that should be in everyone’s car trunk.

1. Tire-Pressure Gauge

When your tires are feeling a little squishy — or when the exclamation-mark symbol lights up when you start the engine — you’ll need to check your tire pressure. In fact, some experts recommend doing this regularly, as a matter of course.

Not only can tire blowouts be dangerous, but underinflated tires can be a serious drag on your fuel economy. So make it a habit to use the first tool on our list: a tire-pressure gauge.

High-quality digital gauges are the most reliable. These will set you back $30 or so, but the peace of mind they provide is well-worth the investment.

2. Lug Wrench and Jack

In the event that you do get a flat tire, you’ll need these next two car repair tools (although we’re counting them as one item, since they go hand-in-hand): a jack and a lug wrench.

A recent survey discovered that only 42% of Americans feel confident when it comes to changing their own tire, but the job isn’t that hard. Check your car manual for information. It’s even OK to”cheat” by Googling it if you need to.

3. Jumper Cables

If you’ve ever left your car lights on while the car wasn’t running, you know that sinking feeling of trying to start your ignition to no avail. You might need a new battery, or you might just need to charge yours up again, but either scenario calls for jumper cables.

As with all of these tools, don’t cheap out. Investing in a high-quality set of cables with spring-loaded clamps is a good choice. Just ask the experts at House of Cars.

4. Duct Tape

Think duct tape isn’t a tool? MacGyver would beg to disagree. This workhorse of the repair world is as handy when it comes to quick automotive fixes as it is around the house.

Keep a roll of the magic silver stuff in your trunk or glove box. Use it to attach a loose headlight cover, side mirror, windshield wiper, even a bumper. Of course, it’s a temporary solution, but that’s better than nothing.

5. Emergency Kit

Again, some might quibble at calling these items car repair tools, but they just might save your life.

You can put together your own emergency car kit or buy one that’s premade. Either way, make sure you carry the essentials, such as:

  • non-perishable food items
  • bottles of water
  • first-aid supplies
  • flares
  • a flashlight and extra batteries
  • a blanket and/or warm clothing
  • rags or paper towels
  • a fire extinguisher

What Car Repair Tools Do You Carry?

What are your must-have car repair tools and emergency supplies? Anything we’ve forgotten?

Let us know in the comments!


Can't fix your car problem on your own? Ask a live mechanic!