Car Maintenance Kit - 20 Essential Tools
The thought of doing your own car maintenance can be daunting. Having an understanding of how a car works can save you both time and money, especially when you can do basic repairs yourself.
We’ve created this list of tools to help you start building your own vehicle repair kit, and hopefully save you a trip to the mechanic.
20 Essentials for Your Car Tool Kit
1. Socket Set
Every car’s tool kit should include a good, fully stocked socket set. It will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. We recommend finding one with at least 6mm to 19mm sockets, extensions, a ratchet, and Allen keys.
You’ll need these handy tools to work on any electrical project with your car, including rewiring headlights and installing a new stereo system. You can find a good set with different sizes at many hardware stores.
3. Wrench Set
Wrenches are an essential part of any car tool kit. We recommend wrenches with an open-ended side and a ratcheting side, so you don’t need to remove the wrench between each turn.
Another important component of your car tool kit. You probably have some screwdrivers lying around at home, but it doesn’t hurt to expand your set to include a wide range of shapes and sizes.
A torque wrench is a specialized ratchet that sets nuts to their proper tightness, which will prevent damage to the bolt, prevent slippage, and make it easier to remove the nut in the future. For example, a torque wrench is used to install tires, to make sure all the lugs are fastened to the same tightness. To use one, simply adjust the setting to your desired torque, and tighten until you hear two clicks. This tool should not be used to remove nuts—use a breaker bar or impact wrench instead.
6. Breaker Bar
Breaker bars are longer handled ratchets that make it easier to remove nuts and bolts and are important for new mechanics to keep in their tool kit.
While this powerful tool is not required to get started in car repair, it makes a great addition to any car tool kit. Impact Wrenches make tire changes and rotations a breeze by providing you with electric powered torque to remove or replace lug nuts in a flash!
Rubber mallets have many uses when it comes to a car repair, from straightening out bumpers to removing stuck bolts.
You need ramps or a floor jack if you’re going to get under your car to do repairs. Ramps are a much easier and safer option, as you can simply roll your vehicle onto them, so they’re best for those new to car repairs.
10. Jack Stands
Jack stands are the most important thing you need in your vehicle tool kit. Whether you are using ramps or a floor jack to elevate your car, you MUST use a jack stand to hold it in place.
11. Oil Drain Pan
If you plan on changing your oil yourself, you’ll want some kind of pan to drain your old oil into. This will keep it from leaking all over your driveway and leaving a nasty stain.
12. Oil Funnel
Another essential for your car tool kit if you want to change your own oil. No matter how careful you are when pouring oil, these can make the job much easier. Even a spill under the hood can make a huge mess, and your car might start to smell like burnt oil while the engine is running.
These won’t directly help you fix your car, but they’ll keep your hands from getting greasy and filthy while handling any repairs. Hand soap alone won’t be able to remove the heavy oils emitted from your vehicle, so we recommend a solution designed for oil removal.
14. Work Light
An LED work light is a must if you want to see what you’re doing and keep from losing small parts under your car.
15. Zip Ties
Zip ties are a great item to have on hand in your car tool kit. They can be used to bundle wires together, keep them away from hot or moving parts, and keep yourself organized during electrical projects.
A digital multimeter will keep you from playing the guessing game when working on electrical projects. Most are easy to use, and they’ll help you decode most issues with your car’s electrical system.
17. Jumper Box
A jumper box with a built-in air compressor for your tires is a great item to keep in your car at all times. It can save you from unexpected flat tires and dead batteries, and keep you from getting stranded on the side of the road.
18. OBD-II Scanner
OBD stands for on-board diagnostics. This tool fits into your car’s OBD port, located under the dash and above the brake pedal, and can diagnose your car with a number of issues and save you a ton of time. They are relatively inexpensive and intuitive to use.
Moving parts tend to get greasy and need to be cleaned and lubricated regularly. Cans of rust penetrant, citrus degreaser, brake parts cleaner, and silicone lubricant are necessary components of your car tool kit.
20. Factory Service Manual
The factory service manual for your vehicle is the best way to learn how to do car repairs yourself. They are much more reliable than internet videos, and many even come with step-by-step guides for common tasks. With specific instructions for your vehicle’s exact make and model, you’ll be working like a pro in no time.
Infinity Insurance knows how important it is to maintain and take care of your vehicle, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Call one of our friendly agents at 1-800-INFINITY today to receive an auto insurance quote within minutes or get a free quote online.
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