If you have the knack and the know-how to fix and maintain a car yourself, you stand to save hundreds in repair and servicing costs over your lifetime. But, of course, there’s something else you’ll need to successfully work on your car – and that’s a garage full of tools.
Buying the tools you need to maintain a car doesn’t come cheap, but you should see it as an investment. Sure, laying down £500+ for parts, tools and accessories might sound a lot, but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to how much you could save by fixing and tinkering yourself.
To help you kit your garage out with the right essentials, here we look at 15 tools every car enthusiast needs.
1. Oil Drain Pan
When it comes to draining fluids from the engine, don’t rely on your kitchen washing up bowl; get a proper oil drain pan instead. They’re designed to reduce splashback and make it easier to dispose of old fluid, so you can recycle it at a local garage.
2. Set of Funnels
While we’re on the topic of fluids, a funnel set is an indispensable addition to your garage, making it really easy to fill and top up engine components. We recommend labelling a funnel for each component, so you can avoid cross-contamination.
3. Magnetic Torch
Any mechanic will tell you just how essential a reliable torch or light can be when working on a car. Whether you’re under the bonnet or beneath the car, a magnetic torch with an adjustable swivel head will quickly become the can’t-live-without tool in your garage.
4. Floor Jack
Few jobs can be completed without getting under your car, so a floor jack is a must for the DIY enthusiast. Get yourself a decent jack with a strong load capacity, and it should last a lifetime.
5. Jack Stands
While a floor jack might suffice for some tasks, jack stands are really useful (and safe) for longer and more arduous jobs. A strong set of jack stands allows you to lift your whole car off the ground and keep it there, just as they would in a professional garage.
6. Mechanic’s Creeper
If you want to keep your overalls clean and back pain in check, get yourself a mechanic’s creeper. These wheeled boards let you scooch beneath your car in a jiff, and are ergonomically designed to make working horizontally much more comfortable.
7. Impact Wrench
Pretend you’re part of an F1 pit crew with a trusty impact wrench. Ideal for rapidly removing wheels, an impact wrench can also make light work of other nuts and bolts around the car – saving your wrists and arms while speeding up annoying unfastening tasks.
8. Air Compressor with Multiple Attachments
An air compressor is a handy companion to have in your garage, and for more tasks than you might think. Sure, you can pump your tyres up in seconds, but an air compressor is also useful if you get an air line accessory that lets you use it like a cleaner. Compressed air is great for blasting away dirt and debris where you might not want to use water, like brake disks, battery terminals and the fuel filler cap.
9. Set of Pliers
Let’s take a look at some toolbox staples now, starting with pliers. Pliers are a must for a range of tasks around your car, and you’ll find yourself reaching for them more than anything else. Get yourself a big set with plenty of options in size and shape.
10. Set of Spanners
Spanners are next in your arsenal of essential garage tools, and are ideal for loosening bolts big and small around your car. As with pliers, you should invest in a set that covers all bolthead sizes, or at least a quality adjustable.
11. Set of Screwdrivers
Most people have one or two screwdrivers kicking about at home, but if you’re serious about working on your car, it’s worth investing in a good set with lots of different head options. Of course, you’ll need both slotted and Phillips head drivers, but newer cars also use a range of other screwhead types, including pozidriv, torx and security T.
12. Vice Grips
Vice grips are one of those tools that you think you won’t need until you really do. Essentially providing an extra pair of hands, they’re great for fiddly mending tasks when you need to hold something in place while working on a particular area.
13. Dead Blow Hammer
There aren’t many occasions when you need a hammer while fixing your car, but a dead blow hammer or rubber mallet can be handy from time to time. Say, for instance, a bolt is rusted up and seized; a couple of knocks from a dead blow could help free things up and get you back to work.
14. Battery Charger and Multimeter
A car battery charger is a great tool to have if you run an old car with a history of charging issues. A lot of chargers also feature a multimeter, which lets you check the voltage of the battery, so you know when it’s time to give it a top-up. This can also be used for checking other electrical connections when your car has developed a fault.
15. Magnetic Parts Tray
Another tool you might not think you need until you’ve been through the stress of misplacing a nut or bolt; a magnetic parts tray lets you safely store loose nuts and bolts in one place.
We hope this guide helps you kit your garage out with all the essentials you need to maintain your car. Remember, Holts car maintenance range has lots of helpful tools for fixing common faults, making our products perfect for car DIYers. For more information, visit the homepage.