Toolbox Essentials Every Home Mechanic Should Have

Anyone that wants to do auto repairs at home need to have a toolbox ready with the right tools for the job.  While this list in no way covers all of the tools you will need for any auto repair, it will cover the essentials you need.

To start, get a lightweight toolbox that easily fits into your available space.  It doesn’t need all the bells and whistles available, just something basic and capable of keeping your tools safe, clean, and most importantly, all in one place when you need them.

Screwdrivers

You will want to have both standard screwdrivers and a Phillips head.  In addition to these, you may find an offset screwdriver to be quite useful in reaching screws with little overhead clearance.  Offset screwdrivers usually come with both standard and Phillips types, often with the different heads at either end.

Screwholders

A screwholder can assist in getting to some hard to reach spaces.  Simply fit your screw into a screwholder and you can use it to insert and then tighten the screw down.

Wrenches

Wrenches may be the most basic tool for auto repairs.  They usually come in both standard and metric measurements.  Most vehicles these days will have a variety of nuts and bolts in various sizes, requiring you to use wrenches in both measurements.

Socket Wrenches

These usually come in sets and can vary greatly in price, depending on multiple factors.  While these sets can get quite extensive, you need to have a set that contains a ratchet handle.  Most of the sets will have two or three, and usually one with an adapter.  Your set should also include socket extenders.  Socket extenders are vital to being able to reach some nuts and bolts.

Combination Wrenches

A combination wrench usually has an open end and one boxed end.  They will come in a set with several sizes.

Torque Wrenches

Torque wrenches are designed to tighten to a specific degree in order to prevent over or under tightening a nut, bolt or screw.  You will usually find both dial torque wrenches and deflecting beam torque wrenches available.

Adjustable Wrenches

A simple crescent wrench with adjustable jaws will work just fine.  You do not need anything fancy.  Something with a manual turning wheel to adjust to size will work great.

Pliers

Unless you just want to get a variety of sizes, your best option is probably a pair of combination slip-joint pliers.  This is a versatile general purpose tool that can easily adjust to multiple widths utilizing a sliding pin.

Gauges

There are all kinds of gauges in the tool section and auto parts store.  While many of them are very useful to have in certain circumstances, the following are the must have gauges you should carry in your toolbox.

Tire Pressure Gauge

Checking for and maintaining adequate tire pressure is very important.  It can affect your safety as well as your fuel mileage.

Compression Gauges

This is what you will use when you need to check the pressure building up within each cylinder while your engine runs.

Other Toolbox Items

In addition to the tools and gauges we’ve mentioned above, I highly recommend that you have a work light.  There are many available options at many prices, but if nothing else, keep a high powered flashlight in case you find yourself in a pinch.

While this only covers the essentials tools a home mechanic may need, remember that certain jobs will require specialty tools that can be quite costly.  Remember, safety should always be first!  If the auto repair you need requires specialized tools, NEVER attempt to do the job with something else.  Always call a reputable auto repair shop rather than improperly repairing the problem.