A mechanic toolkit that covers the basics is great, but when DIY jobs start to get more complex or repairs require in-depth diagnostics, the ability to go above and beyond is indispensable. Adding advanced tools to your repertoire will help you finish projects that might have frustrated you in the past, while expanding your skills and comfort zone to a new level.
Let’s take a look at some of the items you should add to your toolkit once you’ve got the basics covered.
OBD-II Bluetooth Scan Tool
If you regularly work on modern vehicles, your mechanic toolkit isn’t complete without the ability to scan the OBD-II vehicle control system. This tool can reveal error codes and other information about how your engine, sensors and other systems are performing. What’s better than a handheld tool? One that instead transmits to a phone or computer app that tracks codes over time, provides real-time information while you’re driving and gives you insight into the ones and zeros that manage your motor and everything attached to it.
Frustrated by an old bolt that’s corroded or stripped to the point where you don’t trust using it on your vehicle, but still need that fastener to finish your project? A tap and die set helps you create new threads on a rusted bolt by measuring the original threads per inch or create a replacement bolt out of new steel, while also cutting a fresh hole for the bolt to tap into. You can use this to refresh old, worn bolts and holes or create entirely new ones.
Bolt Removal Set
What if you can’t get an old bolt out because it’s become rounded, stripped or had the top snapped completely off? This is where your advanced mechanic toolkit comes to the rescue with screw and bolt extractors. Whether they use reverse-thread drill bits to dig into the remaining bolt metal and spin it free or fit over a rounded bolt to grip it with serrated, spiral scallops, extractors can turn a stalled project into a completed job with very little hassle.
Many of your vehicle’s systems rely on vacuum in order to function. A vacuum test kit lets you not only determine whether you have a leak, but also gives you an idea of how your engine is behaving based on how the vacuum system is functioning overall. In some ways, vacuum is the secret language spoken by your motor, and a vacuum gauge is your Rosetta stone.
Each of these tools gives you a leg up on the standard toolkit most amateur mechanics use, helping you tackle more complex projects on your own.
Check out all the tools and equipment available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on your advanced mechanics toolkit, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.