If you want to fix your own cars, you’ll need to stock your garage with some basic tools to get started.
Here is a list of the most essential items for being a home auto mechanic.
Socket and Wrench Set
Wrenches and sockets are probably the most essential tools for working on a car. Purchase a basic starter’s set of wrenches and sockets with a ratchet. For ratchets, you will want three different sizes; small, medium and large, thus enabling you to work in any kind of space. The same goes for wrenches.
Screwdrivers are probably the second most valuable tool in working on a car. You’ll want to stock up on different sizes here too. Along with the standard size of Philips and flat-head, make sure to get stubby sizes in both. These are perfect for working in tight spaces. Also invest in a few long, skinny screwdrivers to extent your reach in narrow spaces. The final type is a thick, sturdy flat-head that you can hit with a hammer. When deciding on sets, you might consider buying a standard size driver with a variety of heads in both Philips and flat.
Pliers and Vises
Pliers are another absolutely essential auto tool. You can invest in standard pliers to start, but a pair of needle-nose pliers will inevitably come in handy as well. Vises look a bit like pliers, but are used to grip things and hold them in place. These are an absolute must for removing hoses and clamps. You might also consider buying both long and short pliers for an improved work space.
This is a wide category that is less about working on the car and more about making it easier. Some basics here include a bright LED flashlight, a jack, a mechanic’s sled for easily sliding beneath a vehicle and a magnetic rod for extracting tools and parts you might lose in the engine. Another extremely handy item is a magnetic tray that you set near your work space to keep nuts and bolts from disappearing.
Shims and Washers
Phoenix Specialty steel shims and washers are great to have in the garage. It’s best to have a variety of sizes and materials on hand for shims and washers. That way, if you need to fill in gaps or the original part breaks, you’ll be ready.
As you work on your car more often, you’ll probably find yourself adding to this small tool collection, but this is a good place to start. Having the right tools is the first step in being able to successfully repair your car.
I’m a freelance writer from Denver.