When working on DIY projects at home, even the best-laid plans will turn into a frustrating mess if you don’t have the right tools for the job. Power tools can take the frustration out of and bring precision to any job. No matter what kind of DIY job you’ve gotten yourself into, here are some useful, specialized power tools to help you along the way.
Tools for Cutting
The base tool remains the same for cutting any material, but you’ll need a metal-cutting blade that’s specific to the type of metal you’re working with. Always know the material you’re cutting through, and make sure the blade is compatible.
- Reciprocating Saw: A reciprocating saw is nice to have around because it’s useful for a ton of projects outside the automotive world such as taking down limbs and demolition. With a metal-cutting blade on it, this saw can be used for heavy bodywork and alterations. This saw has been known to cut whole cars in half, which demonstrates its power and readiness to saw through anything.
- Die and Angle Grinder: These saws are great for their versatility and mobility. You can use them when you need to make smaller alterations and cuts on parts already removed from the vehicle or for bodywork requiring quick removal of large amounts of filler.
Tools for Attaching
These are the real VIPs of the automotive power tool world, as they speed up the job and add torque without you having to break a sweat.
- Power Drills and Drivers: These may be more DIY staples than specialized tools, but they’re worth a mention. Power drills and drivers are necessary for attaching hardware and fasteners, and are versatile in their own right.
- Impact Wrench: Impact wrenches are more powerful and can deliver more torque than a driver. These heavy hitters are ideal for jobs where you want a lot of torque quickly, such as installing lug nuts and removing larger fasteners.
Tools for Finishing the Job
In the end, you want your project to look polished and operate safely and precisely. Here’s what to use to get it done and dusted.
- Orbital Sander: Gentler than a finishing sander, orbital sanders don’t wear down surfaces as quickly and are great for prepping and polishing a paint job.
- Mini Belt Sander: Mini belt sanders are used primarily for bodywork, specifically in hard-to-reach nooks and corners. Just make sure to keep it moving or you’ll wear right through the material.
- Wet/Dry Vacuum: Working always generates a mess, with spills and general dirtiness building up over time. Whatever you’re dealing with, having a vacuum capable of sucking up both dirt and liquid is not something you’ll regret when you need it.
Your need for specialty power tools will vary based on the job, but choosing wisely can make life much easier. As a regular DIYer, having a small collection of versatile tools within reach will level up your game significantly. Just remember, with all these potentially dangerous specialty tools, make sure to study technique and read the manual before you turn them on.
Check out all the power tools available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on specialty power tools, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photos courtesy of Blair Lampe.
Blair Lampe is a New York-based professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and speechwriter. In her downtime she enjoys backpacking wherever her boots will carry her, rock climbing, experimental theatre, a crisp rosé , and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck.