Before you begin to self service your vehicle be sure your tool box has what you need to make the repairs or maintenance easy, pain free and safe. Kits do exist on the market that will make the job a lot easier but if you are adding to an existing collection you can buy individual tools. AP-Tech offer a great range of vehicle service tools at affordable prices.
From mechanic to mechanic you will find variations of ‘the most important tools’ but here I will offer you a basic starter list to get you up and running.
Screwdrivers – Phillips 4-pointed star head screwdrivers are best. They are easier and faster to work with than the old flat head type. They will also allow you to tighten screws more and there will be less chance of damaging the screw head. Its wise to have a number of different Phillips screwdrivers in your tool box, you’ll end up using them all the time. When choosing, pick the size that best fits the screw you are working with.
Hex Keys (Allen wrench) – When a bolt needs to be really tight you should have a hex key. Also known as the allen wrench is has a hexagonal head which fits directly to an allen bolt. Allen wrenches typically come in sets of various thicknesses. You can also buy allen wrench sockets for your ratchet wrench which will make things easier when taking out a long bolt or you’re working in close quarters.
Open end wrench (Spanner) – The wrench of all wrenches also know as the spanner. It is of fixed size and has two ends essentially making it two wrenches in one. The size of the wrench will related exactly to that size bolt so it’s a wise idea to have a selection in your kit. Be sure to find out whether your vehicle uses metric or standard sized bolts before purchasing your wrenches. Don’t assume because your car isn’t American it’s going to have metric bolts. Many Japanese manufactures use standard size bolts.
Oil filter wrench – If you are doing an oil change an oil filter wrench is a must. The wrench is basically a firm metal strap with a pivoting adjustment hinge and handle. It’s very simple to use, simply slip it over the oil filter and pull the handle to loosen it. Once you have loosened it slightly you can unscrew the rest by hand.
Ratchet wrench – Every tool kit should have a selections of ratchet wrenches and the sockets that go with them. A ratchet wrench is one that clicks. There are interchangeable ends, called sockets, that allow you to loosen or tighten an array of bolt sizes. You should carry at least a 1/4″, 3/8″ and a 1/2″ wrench.
Cutting pliers – Also known as wire cutters or snips these are essential. These are used for wiring, cable cutting and a million other possibilities. they really are a go to tool in any tool kit so don’t miss them.
Ratchet extensions – These extensions allow you to to extended the reach of a socket when using a ratchet wrench. They go the wrench and socket to give you greater reach. It’s a good idea to have a variety of extensions for all occasions.
Torque wrench – This wrench allows you to tighten the bolt to the exact recommendations of that by the manufacturer. The specific point at which the bolt was originally tightened to is know as the torque. When tightening a nut or bolt the wrench will alert you when to stop either by indicating the tightness on a dial or giving you a click click sound.
- Eye protection
- Fire extinguisher
- Oil spill collector
- Line wrenches
Once you have all the essential tools you can begin servicing your own vehicle and making less costly repairs where necessary.