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Automotive Must-Have Tools For Basic DIY Car Maintenance

Posted by on 3/10/2013 to Mechanic Hand Tools

If you’re planning to perform your own DIY car care, you should consider getting your own set of basic automotive tools. If you’re OK with borrowing your pal’s tools, well that maybe OK for you, but in the long run, you’ll find that it’s still a good idea to have your own stock of mechanic tools. Here we have a list of must-have basic tools and a couple of accessories for a beginner mechanic.

A set of wrenches is probably the most fundamental set of tools that you can use to remove nuts and bolts from various parts of your car. Also get a strap wrench and torque wrench. The torque wrench probably requires the most amount of practice as you need to learn how to use just enough force.

Ratchets, like wrenches, are used to remove nuts and bolts, but they are designed to be used in tighter spaces, and also help you work faster. The three most needed size ratchets are 1/2”, 1/4” and 3/8”. In fact, there are ratchet spanners that combine the function of a ratchet at one end, and a spanner (head) at the other that you may consider as well.

Sockets are highly important tools (or tool extensions) for wrenches that you’ll need for many applications, including removing the lugs from a car tyre. Three common sizes for sockets (as for ratchets) are  1/2”, 1/4” and 3/8”. They extend the function of ratchets, and certain procedures simply demand the use of sockets.

Any mechanic needs a good set of screwdrivers. You’ll obviously need phillips and flathead screwdrivers in a variety of lengths and gauges. Additionally, it’s good to add Pozi-drive and Torx screwdrivers to your kit. It’s important to have a decent assortment of these so that you avoid having to damage a screw head because you don’t have the correct size screwdriver. Also, you will need to work in tight spaces at times which a stub will come in handy, and at other times you’ll need an extra reach with longer screwdrivers.

Add a few pliers and cutters to your toolbox. Adjustable pliers and needle point pliers are a couple of must-haves. Wire cutters are also good to have. For each type of pliers, it’s recommended to have a large and a small pair.

At one time or another, you may need an automotive hammer. The most common hammer used in mechanics is the ball-peen hammer, which has a rounded surface at one end of the head, and the regular flat surface on the other. You could also get a rubber mallet which isn’t ‘destructive’ as a metal-headed hammer, which you may need in certain instances.

Pry Bars are useful for removing components that have been together for a while, for example if you’re separating wheel covers.

jack is essential for providing support when performing procedures that require tyres to be pulled off. For maximum safety, use a jack stand to provide extra support, especially if you’re going to be under the car.

A multimeter is important to for testing the current, voltage and resistance of certain components of your car. You can find out if an electrical part is working or not by using a multimeter.

These tools listed are by no means comprehensive, but are for basic car maintenance. Along with them, it would be good to add a pair of mechanic’s gloves and an LED headlamp or flashlight. There are several other accessories that you can probably add to the mix to make your DIY car maintenance more efficient. In all your automotive work, ensure that you follow safety guidelines when using tools, not just for the sake of your car, but more so for your personal safety.

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