I was never confident to work on my car, and I’m not going to make out like I know my way around an engine bay entirely, but at the start of lockdown I pushed myself to dig into my car and start restoring everything I lay my hands on. I’ve taken things apart, cleaned and repaired them, and put them back together. Now, it’s safe to say, I have the confidence to attempt anything. What I don’t have is the tools. But now I’m slowly building up a collection, and while I’m still a newb, thought I’d let you in on what I’ve learnt over the past months.
These are the five tools I personally wouldn’t do without.
5. Torque Wrench
Possibly the most important of the lot, a torque wrench allows you to set a specific torque for specific bolts. This is a vital part of doing any work on your car, from simply putting a wheel back on to tightening cylinder head bolts, and allows everything to be the right level of tightness.
These come in a number of sizes and with a number of variations of torque they can tighten to. Make sure you check exactly what you need before you purchase one by using a service manual, or a trustworthy website.
4. Impact Gun
While not completely necessary, this tool has allowed me to cut down the time I spend tightening and undoing bolts drastically, and it’s also helped me when I do bits of DIY around the house, too. Using a hammer inside the mechanism, these power tools are able to produce enough torque for almost anything on your car, depending on the make of course. I bought a battery-powered model, but you can get variants that use compressed air if that’s your jam.
3. Hex Socket Set
You have no idea how many bolts I’ve accidentally rounded off because I didn’t have the right socket for the job. By using a hex socket, you’re dramatically reducing the risk of rounding a bolt compared to a twelve-point socket. I grabbed myself some standard hex sockets and some deep ones, too.
2. Vice Grip
This may not be necessary for a lot of you planning to work on your car, but for me, this has been incredibly helpful for what I’m doing. Taking bits from my car such as the turbo or even the rear wiper motor, and holding them with the vice grip has meant I’ve had both hands free while sanding, grinding, and drilling. Without a tough hold, the parts will go flying across the garage and get lost in a pile of boxes. Trust me, I’ve been there.
1. Good Lighting
This may be boring, but it really is the most important part of my garage setup. For one, I can actually see what I’m doing on my car. But two, lighting up my usually dingey garage has made it feel like another livable space, and I therefore want to go out there more and actually do the work.
My tip is to buy yourself lighting that produces a natural temperature of light. That way it’s easier on your eyes, and also allows a better view of your car’s paint while you’re in the garage. This is especially useful if you’re detailing.
Got any tips?
Let us know what you think is the most important tool in your garage in the comments below, and let us know what project you have on the go right now!