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10 Tools Every Enthusiast Should Have in his Tool Box

Tools Every Man Should Have In His Toolbox

Updated September 28, 2018

What tools are you packing, and which ones can you live without? Here, we’ve got a list of the top tools every man should have in his toolbox but – like all lists – these are by no means essentials. It depends on what jobs you’re planning on doing – you wouldn’t bring a knife to a gun fight, would you? Anyway, here are 10 tools every man should have in his toolbox that are useful for a wide range of automotive jobs.

Torque wrench

Tools Every Man Should Have In His Toolbox

A torque wrench is an absolute must for every enthusiast’s tool box, even if all you’ll ever do is rotate tires. It’s function is to allow the operator to tighten a nut or bolt to an exact specification. Torque wrenches come in a wide variety of types and sizes, but it’s important to note that more expensive doesn’t necessarily make it better for your application. Going back to our example, if you’re just rotating tires, then a simple, old school beam torque wrench is sufficient, as long as its used properly. For someone with greater needs, split beam torque wrenches are extremely popular and can be purchased at a reasonable price.

Tire gauge

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The tire gauge on the end of the gas station air hose can be wildly inaccurate. The little pencil gauges tire dealers used to give away aren’t much better. If you really want to take the best care of your tires, you need an accurate gauge at home, because tire pressures  need to be checked when the tires are cold. Look for the following items when shopping for a gauge: the factory recommended inflation pressure of your tires is around the middle of the range of the gauge, where it’s most accurate, that there’s a rubber boot around the gauge to protect it, there’s a bleed-off valve, in case you overinflate, and the hose is long and flexible enough even if the vale stem ends up in the 12 o’clock position.

Digital Multimeter

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If you’re going to be doing any electrical troubleshooting on your car, you’ll need a digital multimeter to measure voltage and current into to diagnose the source of the problem. While there are plenty of multimeters to choose from, most are geared toward use by electronics technician. As an automotive DIYer, the following are the functions you’re most likely to need: measuring Volts DC and AC, measuring resistance in OHMs, measuring Frequency Hertz (Hz). and a 10 megaohm (MΩ) impedance (to be able to diagnose sensitive automotive electronics).

Protective Glasses

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A good idea any time you’re working around a car, and even better idea when you’re working under a car and rust or dirt can flake off and get in your eyes. And think of protective glasses not just as a safety item, but a productivity tool. Think of the time you’ll save if you’ve not in the bathroom trying to rinse a flake of rust out of your eye.

Nitrile Gloves

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You you spend any time coming in contact with the fluids in your car, you need to be wearing gloves. All the smart professional mechanics already do so. Why? Some of the fluids in your car are toxic to start with, while other are benign when they go into the car and become increasingly toxic with use – motor oil being an excellent example. So be smart, buy a box, they’re cheap protection, and you won’t have to worry about being poisoned by your own car.

Rubber/plastic mallet

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Sometime you need to hot things hard, and for that a metal-faced hammer is a great solution. There are other times when a more subtle solution is required. A hammer with two faces, one hard plastic the other softer rubber is the perfect choice for those situations. For example, if you need to tap a metal cover back into place a metal hammer will leave scratches or dents. The plastic end is perfect for that use. And if there’s a small click that needs just a little more encouragement to drop into its hole, the rubber side is the way to go.

Magnetic Dish

Tools Every Man Should Have In His Toolbox 7Remember the movie “Christmas Story”? Of course you do, everyone does. Remember the scene where Ralphie is helping his father change a tire for the first time, holding up the hubcap so his his Old Man could keep the lug nuts together? And then Ralphie drops the hubcap and says “Oh Fudge” but doesn’t really say “Oh Fudge”? Think of a magnetic dish as a Oldsmobile hubcab that’ll never make you say “Oh Fudge.”

Wire Crimpers

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If you’re doing any sort of electrical work inside a car, whether it be a restoration, installation of stereo equipments, or just general maintenance, you need to invest in a good pair of wire crimpers. The best ones can be purchased at an electricians’ supply store or online, not necessarily an auto parts store. In this case look to the brands of tools that electricians buy. You’ll find you crimps are tighter, more even, and less likely to come loose when you use a good tool.

Precision Screwdrivers

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If you haven’t noticed, screws on cars are getting smaller. Carmarkers are looking to shave ounces everywhere they can and that includes fasteners. And you might have noticed that smaller screwheads are easier to damage. As a result, you really need a set of small, precision screwdrivers to attack those little buggers, especially those buried deep down into a hole.

Wheel Chocks, Jack Stands

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True story: a few weeks before high school graduation, our beloved shop teacher was working under a car using only a bumper jack. The car slipped and of course killed him. Since then not only have I always used four sturdy jack stands when working on a car with four wheels off the ground, I use two wheel chocks and two jack stands when working on just one end (and that’s only for the briefest time and just reaching underneath). It’s the cheapest investment you can make in your own safety

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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