Learning how to repair your car at home can be convenient and cost effective. Picking up some basic auto repair skills like replacing a flat tire can help you develop a career as a car mechanic. Needless to say, you can make quite a good income from repairing cars, even if your primary clientele comprises your friends and family.
Whether you are trying to save costs by repairing your car by yourself or making a serious career as a mechanic, knowing the right tools for the job is absolutely crucial. In this article, we'll outline the basic instruments you need in your car repair kit.
If you're planning to repair your car yourself at home, wrenches are an absolute necessity. Wrenches are mainstay tools in any auto mechanic repair kit since they're used for loosening and tightening bolts. These instruments come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 6mm up to a whopping 30 inches. If you're purchasing wrenches for your tool kit, I recommend getting some between 21 and 24 mm. Ideally, you should get wrenches made out of chrome-vanadium alloy, which is highly durable.
Ratchets and Sockets Set
Ratchets typically come in three different sizes: small ( ¼"), medium (⅜") and large (½"). While some sets come with all three sizes, some have only a single size. You can buy the set with different sizes of ratchets or simply buy the large and small one which are the ones most commonly used.
When it comes to sockets, you don't need to buy an entire set. Most basic sockets are compatible with different sizes of ratchets. However, if you want a more specialized set I would recommend buying sockets ranging from 6 mm to 24 mm in size.
Hand Held Pliers
You need a set of pliers in your toolbox for cutting wires when repairing your car. Pliers usually come in handy when fixing brakes and removing electric connectors. Many people even use them to peel off the insulator covering of electric cables when soldering or joining wires.
You should get at least a couple of regular pliers and one for cutting wires. If you can find adjustable pliers that can be customized for different sizes then that's even better.
Screwdrivers and Screws
A set of screwdrivers is very essential to any car repair kit. Having a set with different sizes of screwdrivers ensures you always have the right tools for any type of screw. Most socket sets usually come with a set of screwdriver heads of different sizes and shapes. You can therefore save a lot of money by purchasing an all-inclusive kit with sockets, ratchets and screwdrivers.
A multimeter is an essential component of any auto repair tool box, since it allows one to diagnose and troubleshoot a range of problems. It makes it possible for one to measure voltage and amperage, check car battery levels, and determine whether fuses are working correctly.
Multimeters come in various prices, which means you can get one at literally any budget. I recommend buying a high quality multimeter—you'll be using it often. Make sure you get one with the right amperage.
Hammers aren't usually associated with automotive repairs, but having a good hammer in your tool box can come in very handy. It can be a major help when you need to apply blunt force to a specific spot, like when you're knocking out stuck bolts and rotors to fix car brakes.
Hammers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. As a rule of thumb, you should ensure the hammer you use is lightweight enough to handle and small enough to fit in tightly-cramped spaces. I would recommend a standard ball peen hammer. It's useful to pick one with a textured handle to provide good grip.
A Lifting Car Jack
While you won't need a jack every time you're repairing a car, having a jack can significantly ease the process. Jacks are designed to lift the car up so you can work underneath it. They also come in very handy when it comes to fixing tires.
However, jacks tend to be very expensive, so if you can't afford one you can use the mechanical one that came with your car when you bought it.
Lubricants and Cleaners
The mechanical parts of your car need to be cleaned and lubricated regularly to ensure they don't get worn out. For this reason, you need to have the right lubricants and cleaners in your tool box. Some of the products you should have in your tool kit include silicone based cleaner to eliminate squeaking and friction, rust penetrant to remove rust from bolts, citrus degreaser to wipe off oil based products, and an oil dripping pan.
An oil dripping pan is very useful for changing the oil in your car, since it allows you to collect the used oil and replace it in a clean way. Using an oil dripping pan every time you change your engine oil helps prevent spills in your garage which can be very frustrating to clean.
A quality pair of work gloves is very useful for DIY car repair. These will protect your hands from injury and prevent exposure to chemicals. I strongly recommend using nitrile gloves since they are highly durable. Avoid working with latex gloves—they offer very little protection against chemicals.
Fixing your car yourself can help you save major time and money. With the right tools, you can execute repairs on your car conveniently at your garage or yard. While there are plenty of other tools you may need to fix certain car problems, the ones discussed in this article are by far the most vital. With these basic tools you can diagnose and troubleshoot most of the car problems you're likely to encounter.