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Five Automotive Hand Tools Every Car Owner Should Have

Posted by on 5/5/2013 to Mechanic Hand Tools

Hydraulic JackProfessional mechanics recommend that car owners should have their own basic set of automotive hand tools to cut costs and should learn a few techniques on troubleshooting their own vehicles. You will find the investment worthwhile since some repairs can be done easily in just a few minutes, like changing tires, replacing minor parts or tightening screws and bolts. These tools should be made of top quality steel or material that will last a lifetime. You can continue using the same tools for different car types and models.

The Basic Needs

1. Hydraulic Jack

The hydraulic jack is one of the top automotive hand tools you should have. It generally serves to lift the vehicle and can support up to 50% or more of the total weight. The jack should be made of good quality metal and the mechanism should be efficient and reliable. The hydraulic jack can be used when changing tires, checking the under chassis, and doing other types of job below your car.

The hydraulic jack should be positioned properly so that it props the car up well. Unstable jacks can lead to accidents such as crushing the car owner underneath the vehicle if it drops or slips. The jack will start to lift the car on one side as you pump or twist the knob or lever to begin the mechanism. Always practice safety measures when using the hydraulic jack. After use, unwind and let the car rest on all tires first before removal. Only invest in trusted makers or brands of jacks.

2. Oil Filter Wrench

The oil filter needs to be checked regularly to make sure that the oil is fresh and replaced. During car tune-ups the oil will be changed as standard protocol. However, you can save more if you can do this yourself with the aid of the oil filter wrench. Find the right size that will suit the oil filter properly.

There are different types of wrenches. The strap version is not recommended due to incompatibilities with size. You can get a set instead, consisting of 3 to 8 wrench sizes to accommodate small and big cars. Cartridge-type filters will not require special wrenches. The tool will be used to loosen and tighten the covers and other parts of the vehicle to avoid clunking and unusual noises.

3. Pliers

Pliers should also be added to your list of automotive hand tools. Many car owners would invest in assorted pliers instead so that they can fix and handle various types and sizes of vehicles.

Some of the types of pliers include the long nose or needle nose pliers, standard pliers, gripping pliers, locking pliers, channel-locking pliers, wire cutters, and O-ring pliers. These are very useful in tightening and loosening different parts of the vehicle. The tools can also pinch and hold wires, cables, and other metals while doing welding jobs and other repair tasks. Find a pair that has a rubber grip to make the work more convenient and fast.

4. Spout or Funnel for Fluids

Car owners also need to fill their tanks and other car parts with fluid to keep it in optimal running condition. Some of the usual fluids you need to put in your car include water, oil, brake fluid, coolant fluid, gasoline or diesel, etc. Using the funnel will prevent spills and help you save money.

A spout or funnel for fluids will cost under $10. There are types that are made of metal or hard plastic which will last for several years. Keep it in the trunk of your vehicle at all times because the tool will also be useful during road problems and quick repairs.

5. Forged Steel or Socket Set

Several parts of the vehicle will require the use of basic automotive hand tools like a 12-point socket set together with a ratchet-type wrench with fine teeth. The tools should be made of durable and solid steel or metal which will handle tight parts. There should also be long and short extensions as well as different sizes of spark plug sockets. These will be useful when repairing or replacing spark plugs and other parts of the engine and underchassis. Car owners must invest in a set to accommodate different part sizes and vehicles.

Tips On Buying Tools

Compare different sellers and brands first on the internet and in hardware and automotive stores before investing in basic automotive hand tools. Some sets will cost you under $100 if you find a good source.

Also observe the quality and material used for the tools. Do not buy cheap tools which can cause further damage to the car and accidents to the owner. As for the hydraulic jack and spout or funnel, car owners only need one. When it comes to wrenches, sockets and pliers, they will be better off investing in a complete set to fix and upgrade any type of car. 

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