Top 10 tools for DIY automotive repair
A common misconception is that maintaining your vehicle requires the expertise of an automotive technician. While this holds true to a certain extent, the fact is, you too can perform basic maintenance procedures on your own. Whether your car is due for an oil change or needs a scheduled tune-up, all you really need is a good set of tools and a little elbow grease to get the job done yourself. By being a DIY (do-it-yourselfer) and performing the car repairs yourself you’ll not only save money but you’ll also learn a thing or two. If you want to save on costly repairs that most dealerships and independent repair shops charge then consider the following tools.
Air compressors: Rather than manually having to loosen and tighten the nuts and bolts on your car, an automotive air compressor simplifies the task by sending pressured air to your air tools which speeds up the process. The point of having one is to make your work duties more efficient as you’ll no longer have to exert manual efforts such as turning a wrench to remove or install certain parts. They are available in various sizes depending on your needs. For a do-it-yourselfer who has limited space, a 5 gallon air compressor will work just fine.
Impact wrench: Removing stubborn bolts that have been over-tightened becomes a thing of the past with a heavy duty impact wrench. An air compressor is not necessary to use this tool. Cordless impact wrenches are now available and are actually used by experienced technicians and automotive enthusiasts everywhere. It’s the most ideal solution for those who need quick and convenient impact power. 3/8” and 1/2” is the most common size square anvil they come in. No electrical cords, no air lines, no worries!
Air ratchet: In situations where there is limited space to work with, try using an Ingersoll Rand air ratchet to provide easier access. Since these tools are powered by compressed air, you will need to purchase an air compressor prior to use. It’s the perfect tool for removing smaller nuts and bolts such as from valve covers, oil pans, and anything else along those lines. You’ll save so much time during the disassembly process of your repairs. Additionally, having a large capacity air compressor ensures that your air ratchet will have a constant supply of power.
Standard/Metric socket set: Nuts and bolts come in different sizes, therefore you’ll need either a standard or metric socket set to remove them. Depending on the vehicle you’re working with, you’ll need either one, or a combination of both. Bare in mind that socket sets aren’t for mechanics only. Every home owner should have one readily available. They easily work with your existing torque wrench to ensure accurate tightening.
Torque wrench: Proper tightening of the nuts and bolts that you previously removed is a crucial step – one that must not be overlooked. There are many instances in which you can accidentally apply to much force when reassembling parts back together – often times causing unnecessary damage to parts. To avoid this issue, you’ll want to carefully tighten all the hardware with an adjustable torque wrench. Simply adjust the torque wrench to the specifications that your repair manual recommends. Once the proper torque has been achieved you will hear a click sound indicating that the bolt is now tightened to specs.
Industrial toolbox: Now that your collection of tools is starting to expand, you’ll want to consider investing in a heavy duty industrial toolbox for storage. After all, you’ve invested countless dollars in acquiring them to begin with so why not add protection right? It’s also a great way to keep all your tools organized. There are various styles and sizes to accommodate your tool storage needs. Most handymen have specifically designed toolboxes for trucks that provide greater convenience. Toolboxes are considered to be one of the best additions to any household garage.
Industrial workbench: A great way to organize all of the parts you’ve removed is by placing them on a sturdy and durable industrial workbench. They are designed to be sturdy enough to support heavy parts such as transmissions, cylinder heads, engine blocks, differentials, and much more. You’ll appreciate the fact that you can store brake cleaners, lubricants, silicone gasket makers, motor oil, and all the other fluids that you need to get the job done right. Most workbenches are available in different sizes to accommodate your needs.
Battery chargers: Cold winter nights can be the cause of those frustrating mornings when your car doesn’t want to start. It can also be that your cars battery isn’t sufficiently charged enough to provide the required cranking power. An automotive battery charger allows you to charge the battery overnight so that it will be ready for use the next morning. In addition, when cars are parked for an extended period of time without start-up, the battery gradually begins to drain which leaves you with nothing more than a dead battery.
Jack stands: In addition to floor jacks, another tool needed to support the weight of your vehicle is a pair of automotive jack stands. Consider this. While you’re underneath your car tinkering with all those nuts and bolts, thousands of pounds is hovering right above you. Safety is the number one rule to keep in mind when it comes to working on cars. Once you’ve raised your car, it only takes a second or two to slide the jack stands underneath. Don’t risk your own safety by failing to properly support your vehicles weight. Use jack stands each and every time you get underneath your car. No exceptions.
Floor jack: One of the most basic tools that every do-it-yourself mechanic must have is an aluminum floor jack. Before performing any under carriage repairs on your vehicle, you’ll need to raise the vehicle to a desirable height. You’ll want to make sure that the floor surface in which the jack is placed on is completely flat. Floor jacks are intended as a means to raise your vehicle only and should not be used without a pair of jack stands. The most common uses are for rotating tires, checking exhaust pipes, inspecting brakes, and checking for leaks.
Engine hoist: If you’re up for the challenge to replace your vehicles engine yourself, then a 2 ton engine hoist will be your greatest friend. It works similar to a hydraulic jack by allowing you to safely lift the engine from the compartment. Of course, this is more of a time consuming process that usually requires some mechanical know-how. Removing and replacing an engine yourself will save you a substantial amount of money on costly repair bills that the dealerships and independent repair shops will likely charge.