Doing Your Own Car Maintenance? 15 Most Important Car Service Tools For Every DIY Auto Mechanic

For many, tinkering with the car’s engine is a satisfying and pleasurable experience. A car is one of the most expensive things you will ever buy. Placing its care and maintenance under your capable hands will keep your more connected to its needs. After all, unlike other auto mechanics, you are financially invested in your car. As a DIY auto mechanic, you can save time, money and feel more assured of protecting your own interest. What’s more, if your car breaks down, you will have the confidence of fixing it yourself.

15 Tools Of The DIY Trade: Basic Automotive Tools List

We have come up with a basic automotive tools list to get you started. The items we have included in the list below will help you perform repairs on the most common problems cars go through.

1. Socket Set

Sockets are attached to tools like ratchets and wrenches and are used to tighten or loosen up fasteners such as nuts and bolts. When doing your own car maintenance, you will come across nuts and bolts of different sizes.

Thus, a socket set is one of the most important car service tools in your cool tool workshop. In fact, it should be the first thing you buy from this list. A good socket set should have sockets of different sizes such as 3/8-inch, ¼-inch, and ½-inch.

2. Pliers and Wire Cutters

Pliers and wire cutters are very important tools to have in your kit because cars have different wiring systems in place. You may also want to introduce improvements.

For example, you may want to install a brand new stereo head unit or new headlights.

These small hand tools come in different shapes and sizes. The new designs for pliers and wire cutters will make it easy for you to perform repairs. A good example of modern but functional design is the Out of Sight pliers.

This type of pliers allows you to see what you are doing by placing your hand away from your line- of- sight.

Another one is the Spark Plug plier which enables you to grab the boot of the spark plug without damaging it.

3. Torque Wrench

One of the most common mistakes made by DIY auto mechanics is over-torquing a nut. When this happens, the bolt can shear off. It will also make it more difficult to remove the nut should the need arise.

A clicker-type Torque Wrench will guarantee that the bolt is tightened according to proper specifications. You know you’ve tightened it correctly when you hear two clicks.

For lug nuts, use an impact wrench or perhaps a breaker bar. Otherwise, you might affect the settings on your Torque Wrench.

4. Wrenches

An auto mechanic can never have enough wrenches. Having a complete set will make car repairs and maintenance procedures easier and go faster. As a DIY auto mechanic, you should invest in a complete set of wrenches. These should come in different sizes.

Like we discussed in the previous section, there are different types of wrenches to consider as well. You may want to include a few specialized designs of wrenches among your car service tools.

5. Screwdrivers

A Screwdriver is an indispensable repair tool. Whether it is for your garage or for the home, you must have a few in your workshop. A Screwdriver comes in different types. The head will feature various shapes; each one with a specific function.

Buy a Screwdriver set for your car repair toolbox. The important ones are the Philips, the flat head, and smaller screwdrivers that can be used to handle delicate electronic work.

6. Dead Blow Mallet

There may be instances whereby even with the use of wrenches and ratchets, some bolts just won’t give. They’re stuck tight. Make your job easier by using a Dead Blow Mallet.

Apply a little heat to the stuck bolt. Then, whack on it with the Dead Bolt Hammer. You may be surprised at how fast the stuck bolt loosens up.

When choosing a Dead Blow Mallet, make sure it is covered in moulded poly so that it will not scratch or damage metal surfaces.

7. Work Light

As a DIY auto mechanic, you must be prepared for all kinds of situations. After all, you do not know when your car will stall. It could happen at night or perhaps in snowy conditions. In these types of situations, it will be difficult to effect troubleshooting procedures on your car.

This is where having a Work Light comes in very handy. A Work Light will illuminate the work area so that you can see what you are doing and not lose a spare part.

8. Latex Gloves

Grease is part of the job. However, it doesn’t mean you should always have it on you. Too much grease on your hands will make it difficult to hold work tools securely.

Compared to regular gloves, latex gloves are disposable. Once they are full of dirt, grease, and grime, you can just throw them away.

9. Zip Ties

Zip ties help organize the work area. You can use them to tie together cables and wires. If not secured properly, these wires and cables can get in the way of your work.

It is a good idea to buy different types of zip ties. You can choose from different lengths, sizes, and colours. This will make it easier for you to remember the functions and locations of each cable or wire.

10. Multimeter

A multimeter is a device that measures voltage, the level of electric current, and resistance. This is important to have in your car service toolbox if you want to check why a component is not functioning properly.

For example, if the car does not want to start, you can use the multimeter to find out if the battery has run out of power.

11. Lubricant and Cleaners

Your car has many moving mechanical parts. For these parts to function properly and to last longer, they have to be lubricated as well as cleaned regularly.

Here are 4 types of lubricants and cleaners that you should have in your auto care toolbox:

· Rust Penetrant – Used to unstick stubborn bolts and to prevent the accumulation of rust.

· Brake Cleaner – Used to clean brakes and metal parts.

· Silicone Lubricant – Removes squeaking sounds and reduces the amount of friction without bringing in the additional dirt.

· Citrus Degreaser – Removes oil-based products from the car’s steering components, skid plates, and axles.

12. Drip Pan

All that grease and oil dripping from your car can make your garage a hazardous place to work in. Worse, if your work shoes get soaked in grease and you end up tracking it inside your home.

A simple drip plan will be enough to collect the grease, oil, and other fluids from your car. It will keep your garage clean and risk-free.

13. Kitty Litter

And just to make sure the drip pan did not miss any of the spilling fluids, have a bag of kitty litter handy.

What will kitty litter do?

Simply spread some kitty litter on oil that has spilled on the floor. The kitty litter will quickly absorb it for immediate disposal.

14. Duct Tape

Duct tape and electrical tape should be staples in every toolbox. Duct tape will help you connect or put cables and wires together. Meanwhile, if there are exposed wires, you can just cover it up with electric tape.

15. Floor Jack

A flat tire can happen anywhere. A Floor Jack will make it easy and convenient for you to replace a flat tire.

There are different types of Floor Jacks. For your garage, you may want to consider getting a heavy-duty Floor Jack that can lift a car in two places. This will keep the car stable if you want to work underneath its body.

When traveling, you should have a portable hydraulic jack which can lift the car off the ground without having to ratchet it up too hard. There are portable ones which have a small motor that can do the job safely and securely.


Becoming a DIY auto mechanic is a great way to stay attuned with the general condition of your car. However, in order to get the job done correctly, you need to make sure you have the right car service tools.

A general contractor’s toolbox or the basic woodworking tool set from your garage cannot implement many of the repairs or troubleshooting procedures your car may require. You need to have the proper auto repair shop tools.

The 15 tools we have identified in this article will be enough to help you perform quick repairs on your vehicle. Once you have these car service tools, you will no longer say, “I need a mechanic”.

About the Author Jeff

Hey, I'm Jeff, thanks for visiting my website! I have been obsessed with LED light bars ever since they came out and over the last couple of years I have been testing and reviewing LED light bars. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch by clicking on our contact page.