Essential Tools for Basic Auto Repair
Perhaps you’re an intrepid car owner looking to fix his or her own car, or maybe you’re an aspiring mechanic looking to learn a thing or two about the essential tools needed for auto repair. In either case, basic tools such as wrenches are essential to any car repair. From swapping out a flat tire to replacing a headlight or changing the oil, here is a short list of tools that are important for the maintenance and repair of your car
A Jack, Tire Iron, or Lug Wrench
These items are usually provided by the car manufacturer when the car is purchased new, and they are located wherever the spare tire is on your vehicle. However, if your car is used and does not have these items, it is extremely important that you purchase them in the event of a flat. A jack allows you to lift the car, so that you can remove the wheel and the accompanying tire. The tire iron or lug wrench allows you to remove the hubcap (if needed) and lug nuts, and tighten them again once the spare has been swapped for the flat tire.
An Adjustable Wrench
Adjustable wrenches are the Swiss Army knife of any person’s toolkit because they can be used on many different sizes of lug nuts. However, adjustable wrenches are mainly used for larger nuts because the size of the head of the wrench is often too large to fit into the tight spaces where smaller fasteners reside. All in all, it is a great tool to keep on hand in the garage for many different repair tasks, such as replacing your air filter or spark plugs.
A Socket Wrench and Ratchet Set
Sockets are the actual attachments that fit onto the head of a ratchet-headed wrench. The socket-ratchet combo is mainly used when there is a tight space or fastener at an awkward angle that you need to reach when attempting car maintenance. Sockets generally have less of an impact on the fasteners they come in contact with, and it is harder to over tighten a lug nut or other fastener with a ratchet and damage the component you are trying to fix. Ratchets are also much quicker at mounting or removing fasteners because you only need to complete one motion. Ratchets are usually used for replacing brake pads, belts, and the alternator.
Pliers are the go to tool for the stubborn projects when brute force is needed, or you need to grab something where your hand cannot reach. Needle nose pliers are also very useful for more delicate tasks, such as wiring and removing stripped screws.
Phillips and Flat Head Screwdrivers
No doubt, your vehicle has either flat head screws or Phillips screws as fasteners somewhere on the interior or exterior body. Phillips screws are more commonly used today, but many older cars have flat head screws. More specifically, a set of these screwdrivers is useful for replacing your battery or any other wire connections in your car in addition to the removal of the headlight casings and side mirror assemblies.
For everyday maintenance, these are the right tools for jobs like replacing belts, air filters, tires, batteries, and changing the oil, all of which can be completed in the comfort of your own garage. These tools such as wrenches can help you start repairing your own car, but by no means represent all the tools that are needed for comprehensive auto repair or repairing your vehicle in the event of an accident. When you learn how to complete basic repairs on your car, not only do you save money, but you learn a valuable skill that you can use in the future.