If you have a car, then you probably do maintenance on it every once in a while.
And while the obvious option for many people would be to hire a professional to do the job, in some cases, doing the job yourself may be able to save you money.
Besides, some people love to DIY their car maintenance!If this applies to you as well, then here are my must have tools for your garage workshop...
Must Have Tools for a Garage Workshop
1. Adjustable Wrenches
A wrench is a must-have tool for any garage owner.
There are various types of wrenches available out there, but they all do the same thing – loosen and tighten nuts that are abundant in cars.
A multi-size set of combination wrenches will probably be good enough for most people.
But if space is a big concern for you, then we suggest that you consider either an adjustable wrench or a socket wrench.
Though you probably will encounter only a few metric fasteners, it’s a good idea to have a few metric tools just in case.
2. Pass-through Socket Set
Some bolts have studs that extend well beyond the nut – for example, your car’s exhaust manifold probably has such bolts.
These nuts are difficult to grab with a standard socket – the stud will just hit the top of the socket, not allowing it to go lower.
In these cases, you have two options – use a pass-through socket or a deep socket.
A pass-through socket allows the stud to pass through itself, thus avoiding bottoming out.
Deep sockets, on the other hand, essentially are longer non-pass-through sockets. Since they are longer, they can take longer studs without bottoming out.
While both socket types can work around longer studs, pass-through sockets are better because:
- They allow you to reach the nut no matter how long the stud is.
- They allow you to keep the torque closer to the nut, making the driving easier.
3. Torque Wrenches
A torque wrench is a type of wrench that allows you to tighten fasteners with a specific torque.
This tool is key for wheel tightening since wheel lug nuts require specific torque for fastening.
Fasten the lug nuts too tight, and you run the risk of damaging the wheel or the fasteners.
And fasten them too loosely, and the nuts may spontaneously unscrew someday.
Aside from cars, there may be some other equipment in your garage that requires precise tightening torque.
You should use a torque wrench for any such fasteners.
4. Impact Wrench
The impact wrench basically is the power variant of the standard manual wrench.
Most people probably won’t need this tool, but if you very often deal with lug nuts, strongly consider this tool.
While impact wrenches can very quickly loosen or tighten fasteners, they can also deal with stuck or tight lug nuts or bolts.
Impact wrenches deliver very high torque when the output shaft encounters resistance, so no fastener should be an issue for you with this tool.
5. Hex Keys
Not all fasteners you encounter will be bolts or nuts – some will have hexagonal sockets in their heads.
For such fasteners, get a few hex keys, also called Allen keys or wrenches.
Make sure to get a set of hex keys with a dozen or two sizes.
The fasteners that have hex sockets have very tight tolerances, and a hex key will work effectively only if it’s sized exactly like the fastener you are dealing with.
Again, consider getting both standard and metric hex key sets.
When needing to get a secure hold onto something, pliers is your friend.
Aside from that, pliers are useful in a wide range of jobs when you need to bend, compress, or cut something.
There are many types of pliers to choose from, but to get started, consider these three:
- Needle-nose pliers. These pliers are used for both holding and cutting pieces. Their name comes from the long nose that narrows towards the end and provides good control over the material. They can also reach tight areas.
- Slip-joint pliers. Also called adjustable pliers, these pliers have a pivoting joint that allows you to increase or decrease the size of the jaws. Slip-joint pliers can typically only hold pieces, but some may also be able to cut.
- Locking pliers. Also called vice pliers, these pliers can be locked into position. This is useful when you need added grip when holding a piece.
While you’ll probably mostly deal with larger fasteners in your garage, don’t ignore screwdrivers.
Consider getting at least two sets of screwdrivers – one a set of flatheads and the other Phillips heads.
It would be great if each set came with a few screwdriver sizes.
For added storage efficiency, consider screwdrivers with switchable tips.
8. Tape Measure
The tape measure is among the most basic tools that you could get for your garage.
With that said, it’s an indispensable tool when you need to accurately measure something to make a cut, make screw holes, or maybe make a vinyl car wrap of a specific size.
Measuring tapes usually have both metric and imperial units, but just in case, when shopping for a tape measure, make sure that the desired option has these units.
9. Utility Knife
A utility knife can be insanely useful for cutting wires, scraping dirt off surfaces, slicing insulation, removing paint from painted screw slots, or whatnot.
You can find plenty of basic folding or straight utility knives, and for most people, these will be enough.
We also suggest that you consider Swiss army knife-type multi-function utility knives.
10. Air Compressor
If you have any pneumatic tool, then you will also need to buy an air compressor to supply it with air at the required pressure.
Without diving too deep into the technical stuff, we suggest that you get an electric air compressor.
You could also get a gas compressor if you need more power, but gas compressors require fuel, produce emissions, and have motors that need occasional maintenance.
Electric units will likely be enough for most people.
11. Breaker Bar
A breaker bar is a long bar that takes socket wrench sockets.
Breaker bars are typically quite long, which helps them deliver more torque and break loose very tight fasteners.
Aside from that, breaker bars usually don’t have ratcheting action since it can be easily damaged by the amount of produced torque.
This is why you don’t want to use a ratcheting socket wrench to loosen very tight fasteners.
12. Floor Jack
A floor jack allows you to lift your vehicle to perform maintenance like wheel removal, brake replacement, or other quick jobs that will only take a few minutes.
Floor jacks are typically powered by hydraulics. Any decent hydraulic jack will be able to lift a sedan.
But if you have an SUV or a pickup, you may need to look for a tougher jack that will be able to support your car’s weight.
13. Jack Stands
Jack stands are designed to support a vehicle that has been raised by a floor jack.
Jack stands are sturdier than floor jacks and are a must-have when you need to go under the car for maintenance.
Besides, jack stands should be used when you need to keep the car raised for a long time.
Jack stands are much sturdier than floor jacks and thus much safer.
14. Engine Hoist
If you’ll be removing engines from cars, then make sure to get an engine hoist.
There’s no point in trying to lift a heavy engine out of the vehicle manually.
Besides, an engine lift can be very useful in cars with tight motor compartments.
15. Auto Dolly
Auto dollies are designed to help you move vehicles in any direction with ease.
An auto dolly is particularly useful when you need to move partially disassembled vehicles around.
To use an auto dolly, you’ll need to have a floor jack as well since you have to lift the car to place the dollies beneath its wheels.
16. Timing Light
A timing light is used when correcting the engine’s ignition timings.
This tool helps you illuminate the timing marks on the crankshaft pulley and give you an idea of whether you need to change the timings or not.
If you have an older vehicle whose engine is equipped with a distributor, then a timing light could be used to help you with the timing correction.
But modern engines usually control the timing electronically, which requires you to use a timing scan instead.
17. Workbench with Vice
When you need a flat surface to perform maintenance on small car components, no tool is better than a workbench.
A workbench will provide you with not only a working surface but also with some space for tool storage.
Strongly consider getting a vice for your workbench as well.
A vice is an indispensable tool when you need to secure some mechanical component to be able to work on it.
18. Battery Jumper
Battery jumpers are used to start the car’s engine with a dead or discharged battery.
Once the car is started, its charging system will recharge, allowing you to remove the battery jumper.
Battery jumpers may be used to jump-start the vehicle with a bad battery, and they may also be used for troubleshooting when you don’t know whether or not the issue lies in the car battery, its charging system, or elsewhere in the vehicle.
19. Code Scanner
A car code scanner, formally called the OBD (on-board diagnostics) scanner, is a tool that allows you to access the status of your car.
You connect the tool to the car’s OBD port, and it shows you what’s wrong with it.
Older OBD scanners only flash an “idiot light” to show that a problem has been detected, but they don’t tell you where it is.
Modern OBD-II scanners provide you with an error code, allowing you to locate the issue.
They don’t show what’s precisely wrong, but they do tell roughly where to look.
If you have a more or less modern car that’s been manufactured no earlier than the 90s, it should have an OBD-II port.
A multimeter allows you to measure voltage, current, or the resistance that goes through the component that the tool is attached to.
Multimeters make for great diagnostic tools since they allow you to assess the electric systems of your car.
Among the things you could test with a multi-meter is the battery, USB ports, and the cigarette lighter port.
21. Shop Vac
A shop vac is a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner that has a tough hose, a durable motor, filters that can catch fine dust particles, and some other components that make shop vacs suitable for jobs such as screws, nails, or water.
Regular household vacuum cleaners cannot tackle such messes without damage, so do consider getting a shop vac for garage cleaning.
22. Tool Chest
A tool chest is a must-have if you have plenty of tools.
It will not only provide your tools with storage space, but it will also allow you to keep all your instruments organized and within easy reach.
We suggest that you consider an at least 3-drawer unit with wheels, but you may also go for a roomier tool chest if you have a lot of instruments.
Here are some tips on how to organize tools in a tool chest...
23. Fire Extinguisher
When dealing with electricity or flammable fuel, the likelihood of fire is pretty high.
To safeguard yourself, be sure to get a fire extinguisher for your garage.
It doesn’t matter if you already have a fire extinguisher in your home – get one specifically for your garage.
While not a tool, a refrigerator will allow you to keep food and beverages nearby while you are trying to figure out what’s wrong with your car.
Given that you probably don’t have too much space in your garage, get a more compact and less power-hungry unit.
But make sure that it’ll fit enough stuff to last for the entire job!
Wrapping It Up...
Even if you only get half of the tools for your garage on this list you will have a workshop all your friends will envy!
There is no need to get them all at once of course, unless you are going on a spending spree.
So pick the ones you need for your more pressing projects then add the rest over time.
If we missed any, let me know your must have garage tools in the comments below...
About THE AUTHOR
Founder - CountrySilo
Growing up around the farmlands of the Midwest you learn at an early age getting your hands dirty is a way of life. Whether it was helping my Grandpa make cedar furniture, mowing neighborhood lawns or throwing bails of hay the do-it-yourself mentality runs strong in our family.
I am excited to help you tackle your projects and discover new ways to make your house a home!
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