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When it comes to making your home garage a mechanic haven, quality is more important than quantity. You can probably perform about 75% of basic car repairs and maintenance with 10% of the tools that are out there.
Socket Set and Torque Bits:
That mechanics tool set that your daughter got you for Father’s day last year actually does contain the right tools for most jobs. If the brand is a well known one, like Craftsman, you know you have a set of tools that is going to last. With the wide range of socket sizes, extensions and torque bits, you can remove and replace just about anything in your engine.
Hydraulic Jack and Stands
Expect to spend a good deal of time underneath your car if you are into DIY auto repairs. Invest in a high quality hydraulic jack and jack stands to make it easier to get under there and safer to stay. Look for one made with aluminum so it isn’t too heavy to haul around and swivel wheels to make it easy to maneuver. If your ride is a large pick up or SUV, think about upgrading to a heavy duty lift and stand set.
General rule of thumb when installing engine parts: when in doubt, torque. Everything from lug nuts to head bolts needs to be installed with the right amount of torque, so having a good quality torque wrench on hand just makes good mechanic sense. The better torque wrenches have a range of 30 to 250 lbs and come with a lifetime warranty.
The tool to use when all else fails. A good pair of vise grips can get you out of many car repair jams from stripped head bolts to stubborn screws. With the amount of use these locking pliers will get, it pays to buy high end. A 10 inch pair is a good starting point, but expanding the collection to include smaller sizes and flat jaws is not a bad idea.
Fluorescent Drop Light
The inside of your engine is dark, and if you can’t see it how are you going to fix it? Equip your garage with a fluorescent drop light to illuminate your entire motor. A fluorescent bulb gives off less heat and eats up less energy than its incandescent bulb cousins, making it a well deserved addition to any garage.
Oil Filter Wrench
If you are still taking your car to a quick lube for an oil change, then you are not a true grease monkey. Add an oil filter wrench to your collection of tools and get the job done right yourself. Sure, you can borrow your neighbors, but having this inexpensive item in your own tool box just makes things easier.
Magnetic Screwdriver Set
If you have ever dropped a screw inside of your engine, then you already know why these tools will come in handy. Not only that, but they make removing and installing in tight spots easy to do by holding onto the screw for you.
This short list of tools is a good starting point for any wanna be mechanic working out of his garage.