The Do-It-Yourself Mechanic’s Toolbox

Essential tools for working on your own vehicle

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to perform maintenance on your vehicle. Aside from some complex or challenging tasks, a large majority of auto repairs can be done with basic or intermediate knowledge and a little sweat and determination.
Oh yeah, you’ll need some tools, too. So before you get to work on your vehicle, make sure that you have these essential gadgets in your stockpile.

Vehicle Manuals

  • Owner’s Manual Outlines your specific car’s maintenance schedule and how each system functions.
  • Vehicle Repair Guide Offers complete and detailed repair information and diagrams on various auto systems in your vehicle. Chilton and Haynes are the two most popular sellers.
  • Safety & Cleaning

  • Mechanic Gloves Protects your hands with durable leather, form-fitting Spandex, and machine-washable material.
  • Safety Glasses Keeps eyes protected from debris and liquids.
  • Durable Rags Clean and absorb liquids, grease, and dirt.
  • Buckets & Pans Catch liquids or temporarily store tools or auto parts.
  • Soap & Degreaser Clean auto parts or your hands/arms.
  • Wire & Scrub Brushes Gritty surface removes film and build-up.
  • Sandpaper Smooths metal, rubber, or plastic surfaces.
  • Compressed Air Removes small debris in tight spaces.
  • Workspace Setup

  • Hydraulic Jack Elevates the vehicle to make it much easier to work on.
  • Car Ramps Provide inclined platforms to easily elevate vehicle.
  • Car Stands Securely support elevated vehicle to keep it from falling.
  • Wheel Chocks Prevent vehicle from rolling forward or backward.
  • Car Creeper Provides mobile platform to lay on while under vehicle.
  • Work Light Creates ambient light in open or tight spaces.
  • Flashlight Provides mobile light and visibility in tight spaces.
  • General Tools

  • Grease Gun Lubricates joints and auto parts.
  • Funnel Easily transfers auto liquids to their proper reservoirs.
  • Screwdrivers Remove screws with both Phillips and flathead, short and long, varieties.
  • Wire Stripper Removes rubber layer from electrical wires.
  • Hammers Create force to remove snug or stuck auto parts.
  • Pry Bar Uses leverage to remove stuck auto parts.
  • Hex Keys & Ball Drivers Installs or removes hexagon shaped screws.
  • Wrenches & Pliers

  • Open Wrench Set Ideal for open spaces, easier to use than closed wrenches.
  • Closed Wrench Set Provide a firmer grip than open wrenches and best for tight spaces.
  • Adjustable Wrench Versatile wrench that adjusts tip width for various sizes.>/li>
  • Torque Wrench Tightens nuts to precise torque specifications.
  • Socket Wrench Set Tightens and loosens nuts much faster than open or closed wrenches.
  • Socket Extensions Allows your socket to reach deep or awkward areas (such as spark plug shafts).
  • Breaker Bar Creates leverage and added torque to remove very tight nuts.
  • Needle Nose Pliers Smaller pliers that reach very tight or narrow spaces.
  • Slip Joint Pliers Mid-size pliers that grip powerfully.
  • Groove Joint Pliers Larger pliers that create impressive grip and torque.
  • Lock Pliers Maintains sturdy, vicelike gripping power.