Working on your own car is as rewarding as it is practical. The DIY mechanic industry is huge and includes everyone from expert mechanics to parents who want to learn more about cars to keep the family vehicle in good condition.
You don’t need a lot of tools to start working on cars, but there are a few basics every new DIYer needs in their mechanic toolbox. Here are four essential sets for both the casual DIYer and avid hobbyist.
1. Socket Set
One of the essentials of automotive maintenance and repair is a socket set. Pros and DIYers alike should shop for a set that includes standard and metric sizes and a host of drivers and sockets. For working in tight areas, nothing beats extensions and thin-walled sockets for getting the job done.
Look for a set that comes in a durable blow-molded case. The tools should be corrosion resistant, easy to identify with large markings and transferable to large metal cabinets as you gradually expand your sets.
2. Ratcheting and Screwdriver Set
A set of wrenches with open and boxed ends should be a part of every DIY toolbox. An open-end wrench, for example, makes it easier to reach nuts and bolts in out-of-the-way places such as the engine bay. Choose a set with ample knuckle clearance that’s made with full polish chrome for corrosion resistance and has large markings for easy identification.
Screwdrivers are an essential part of every toolbox and go beyond the usual flathead and Phillips styles. A hexalobular internal screwdriver with its star- or flower-shaped end supplies added torque in headlight assembly. Hex and clutch heads are two other styles that come in handy.
3. Impact Wrench Kit
Removing plastic fasteners from your vehicle can become a chore. You can use various tools that include auto clip pliers, a car panel door removal tool and a fastener remover pry tool. You can find these tools separately or bundled within a kit.
The “chore” part of removing fasteners can easily be alleviated by using a cordless impact wrench, which is ideal for removing large fasteners, as found in airbag housings and the engine bay. An impact wrench makes removal easier, as it supplies excellent torque. Choose one that has a light to see in your car’s dark recesses and variable speeds to deliver the required power for the job.
4. Drill Driver Kit
A drill driver is an indispensable tool to use around the house, which can also be useful for your car, especially in restoration work. It’s ideal for making upgrades to certain parts that cannot be directly mounted, such as when you want to attach a bumper to the body frame. The drill will relieve much of the fatigue that comes with using hand tools.
Other tools also come in handy, including a work light, lubricants and cleaners, a multimeter, gloves, a drip pan and a trusty service manual. Keep enhancing your mechanic toolbox set with the items that will help you best in mastering the art of automotive mechanics.
Check out all the DIY mechanic tools available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on building a mechanic toolbox, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.