Do you love tinkering with cars? Perhaps you want to fix up a classic car or you simply want to do repairs yourself to save money? No matter your reason, you’ll need the right automobile repairing tools to get the job done right.
What should a DIY mechanic’s kit include? Here’s your guide.
10 Essential Automobile Repairing Tools.
A DIY auto repair kit should include all things you’ll need to replace parts and tighten loose fasteners while adding convenience and safety. Here are 10 of our favorite tools for cars.
1. Socket Set
The most basic tool for mechanics has to be a set of sockets. Why a set? Well, you’ll need different sizes, of course. Your set should have standard and metric sizes, including 3/8-inch, 1/4-inch, and 1/2-inch drivers and sockets.
You may also need extensions and thin wall sockets.
2. Wire Cutters and Pliers
You’ll come across a lot of wires and electrical projects so pliers are absolutely necessary. Be sure to buy different sizes, as you will be working in a variety of areas.
PRO TIP: In many cases, your hand ends up being in your line of sight when you’re working with pliers. Out-of-sight pliers let you grab clamps, clips, and retainers without anything blocking your view.
Good wire cutters and wire strippers are also essential.
3. Torque Wrench
If you don’t already have a torque wrench…get one. A torque wrench will let you know how much force to use when tightening a fastener or lug nut.
Why does this matter?
Every car model has a specific tightening level set by the manufacturer. You’ll see torque value expressed as pound-feet (lb.ft.). Torque itself is the rotational force applied around a lug nut. For instance, if you apply 10 pounds of force to a nut with a 1-foot wrench, you get 10-lb.ft.
If you use too much force, you could damage the nut or other surrounding parts. A torque wrench will keep you in check.
4. A Set of Wrenches
You’re not done with only a torque wrench. You’ll need a set of wrenches in various sizes.
Here are 5 recommendations:
- Open-end wrench – This one-piece wrench is double-ended and has different size openings for gripping opposite faces of bolts and nuts. It also has a U-shaped opening on each end so you can flip it over and use the opposite side.
- Combination wrench – This is another double-ended tool. One side is an open-end and the other is a box-end that consists of a closed ring with various diameters.
- Allen wrench – These small tools have L-shaped or T-shaped handles with hexagonal shaped ends that match the openings of bolts or screws.
- Socket wrench – This tool has a hollow cylinder (socket) on the end of the handle that fits over nuts and bolts. The sockets are detachable and come in many different sizes.
- Adjustable wrench – This old stalwart, also called a crescent wrench, has an adjustable head so it can fit various size bolts and nuts.
We also recommend you look for wrenches with a ratcheting box-end so you don’t have to remove it from the bolt after every turn.
5. Set of Screwdrivers
You probably already have a few screwdrivers in your house for minor repair jobs. When it comes to doing mechanic work on a car, you’ll most likely need to add to your collection.
Your set should include a larger flat head screwdriver that you can also use as a prying tool. Small screwdrivers are ideal for electronic work.
Be sure to research screwdriver set options from Wheeler Tools.
6. Flex-Head Ratchet
This ratchet has a flat, ultra-thin head that makes it ideal for working in tight spaces. Unlike traditional ratchets, these tools let you pivot up and down so you can access places where a straight ratchet won’t fit. It’s a good idea to have several sizes, including ½-inch and ¼-inch.
For extremely hard to reach places, such as lug nuts underneath the dashboard, consider buying a finger ratchet.
7. Automotive stethoscope.
You thought a stethoscope could only be used to listen to your heart, right? Think again. This ingenious tool is invaluable for figuring out the cause of those strange noises you keep hearing.
Some automotive stethoscopes are designed to work when the car is off, which isn’t very useful when the noise only occurs while you’re driving. You can solve the problem by buying a wireless stethoscope.
Find a kit with multiple transmitters, microphone clamps, a receiver, headphones, and hook-and-loop straps. Clamp a microphone in the area where you “think” the noise is coming from and then hit the road. This will allow you to listen for the noise while you’re in motion.
8. Ratchet Extenders
Need to get into a tight or hard-to-reach space to reach a socket? Get a set of extension bars. There are several kinds that can help make tightening sockets easier.
Locking extension bar – This type will ensure that the socket does not get stuck on the bold head when you remove it.
20-inch extension bar – If you want to save your back from misery, invest in this longer extension bar.
Flexible sockets – These models have a shorter profile than an ordinary socket, along with a universal joint combo. This makes it easier to remove bolts in inaccessible places.
9. Impact Wrench
A portable, battery-powered impact wrench is a favorite tool of many professional mechanics. They’re great for loosening lug nuts or in high-torque situations. A standard impact wrench can handle ½-inch sockets in various sizes, including wheel lugs.
Impact wrenches are traditionally pneumatic-powered, but today’s cordless varieties can loosen lug nuts that are tightened up to 100-feet of torque.
10. Portable Work Light
If you’re working in a garage or at night, you’ll need extra light in order to see what you’re doing. Get a large LED floodlight, which can sit on the ground. It’s also a good idea to buy a hood light, which you can attach to the inside of the hood.
Build Your DIY Auto Mechanic Kit
This guide will get you started collecting the automobile repairing tools you’ll need to build a real DIY mechanic kit. You’ll soon be on your way to restoring your classic car or doing repairs to save money.
To read more about how to take care of your vehicle, explore our site further.