What Tools Do You Need to Work on Cars?

Dan Smith

There are many scary aspects to diving into do-it-yourself car maintenance and modifications. One of them is what kind of tools do you need? This can quickly become a bit confusing for beginners and cost a lot.

As much as we marvel at the huge, comprehensive rolling cabinets of fancy tools used on our favorite automotive TV shows and YouTube channels, many of them don't require basic maintenance. We have several core kits on hand that can be used for various car systems, and depending on the car brand, some special parts can make life a lot easier.

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Not only should you choose your core items solidly, but you should also do your research and get to know your fellow DIY enthusiasts who are using the same model and generation of cars and trucks. There may be a detailed article, YouTube video, blog post, or forum post explaining exactly what tools you need, socket sizes, etc., and what can save you a little time. When I owned a Mazda 2, it was amazing how small the toolset was required to get most maintenance and mod work done.

For example, watching FCP Euro's DIY instructional videos on YouTube saved me from having to pry open my BMW 128i.

Depending on the manufacturer, your vehicle may also primarily (or exclusively) use metric or SAE fasteners. Having both is a good idea, but focus on having a little more of the one that's more common in your rides.

core item

If you're just turning nuts and bolts, a large kit of wrenches, sockets, extensions, etc. can go a long way. A good selection of metric and SAE wrenches and sockets, and a Phillips screwdriver, hex key, adjustable wrench, and needle nose pliers are recommended.

Then the additional tools that make life easier are breaker bars and rubber mallets. Breaker bars make ground meat from very tight bolts. Rubber mallets work wonders for breaking up corrosion between brake rotors and hubs. Attached to.

To change the oil, check the size of the oil filter or oil filter housing and purchase a special socket. Companies make universal strap-type filter wrenches and other similar gizmos, but in my experience, nothing beats having a tight-grip socket that hooks onto a wrench. Having a jaw wrench is a good idea, but these are often great for removing particularly stuck oil filters.

So we can't discuss basic tools without safety concerns. Protecting your eyes is just as important as safely supporting your vehicle if necessary. For the latter, a good floor jack, four jack stands, and a set of wheel chocks will make wrenching as safe as possible. I don't want anyone to be crushed. Make sure the jack and jack stands you are using are capable of supporting the weight of your vehicle. Truck and SUV drivers should ensure that the combined weight rating of the jack can safely secure the vehicle.

less common tools

Some manufacturers include Torx and Hex fasteners in their vehicles, especially the European variety. If you're working on a BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, etc., it's a solid choice for both.

Second, there are cheaper, but specific, specialized tools for specific jobs. They can also be used for other tasks such as fluid transfer pumps and extraction syringes to perform transmission and gear oil changes, and brake fluid removal and filling.

Speaking of brake fluid, a set of flare nut wrenches can help you avoid rounding nuts in a critical part of your car's braking system.

Learning how to use a multimeter is something I wanted to do very early on when I started turning wrenches in my car. This inexpensive electronic tool is extremely useful for troubleshooting electrical problems and for do-it-yourself installations of components such as lighting and stereo equipment. A set is displayed. Shrink tubing and wire strippers.

Liquid storage and disposal

A good quality drain pan underneath is recommended when handling brake fluid, engine oil, power steering fluid, gear oil, differential oil and coolant. I'm a big fan of the Garage Boss oil drain pan, but any sturdy unit that's suitable for pouring things will work. Do your best to keep the liquid from ending up where it shouldn't be and dispose of it properly.

Next, it is also important to pour the liquid without making a mess. I like to use different combinations of funnel sizes.

going well

Everything I've listed covers a lot of the base, but there are still plenty of tools. Things like spring compressors are important when doing suspension work, especially if you're diving into modifications. However, researching the job beforehand will give you a clear idea of ​​what kind of tools you need, and you can buy them if you need them. Alternatively, you can rent certain tools that you don't use often enough to justify the purchase.

Let's make this a living document. In addition to the fun stuff above, what should you bring to maintain your car?

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