Whether you are learning the basics or are a garage veteran, you need the right tools to repair a vehicle. However, it can be quite confusing to identify the right tools to use, especially if you are a new mechanic. There are basic tools that are a must-have to start working on your car and common tools which contain specific sets allowing you to work on more complex repairs.
There are also advanced tools that professionals use for unique and specific situations. Using the right tools and equipment will make a significant difference. The difference between a mechanic and a great mechanic is having an understanding of the tools to use and when to use them. Here is an auto mechanic tools and equipment list that every mechanic should know about:
Basic Tools List for Auto Mechanic
1. Oil Filter Wrench
An oil change is one of the most common works for an entry-level mechanic. Oil filter wrench is an essential tool that is used to remove spin-on type oil filters. Oil filter accumulates a lot of grime and grease, and thus it could be impossible to remove them without the right tool. An oil filter wrench enables you to remove any oil filter. It enables you to hold the canisters of the oil filter for easy removal. The different types of oil filter wrenches you can use are a strap-style wrench, specialist wrench, universal oil filter wrench or socket style wrench.
2. Wrench and Socket Set
Wrenches are of different types and sizes. Those meant for regular auto mechanic use range from 6mm to 24 mm. It is recommended that you get wrenches set made of chrome-vanadium since it is quite durable and long-lasting. There are different types of wrenches. They include adjustable wrenches, tube wrench, line wrench, combination wrench, flare-nut wrench, flex-head wrench, box-end wrench, and an open-end wrench.
Wrenches offer a tight grip and help you in the application of torque. Their main use is to turn different fasteners in your car like bolts and nuts. If you have to choose between buying the standard and metric wrenches, it is advisable to consider the metric wrenches. Some sets will contain wrenches and sockets. When it comes to sockets, you will most probably need to have those that range from 6mm to 24mm and sometimes up to 32mm.
This is another basic tool that every mechanic needs to have in their toolbox. Screwdrivers come in different gauges and lengths, and they save a lot of time. Get a screwdriver set that contains stubbed and small screwdrivers, skinny and long screwdrivers as well and torque screwdrivers. If you want something more advanced, then you can consider powered screwdrivers that come with rechargeable batteries. These screwdrivers are used to rotate air or electric motors.
4. Impact Gun
An impact gun is also known as an impact wrench. It is used to remove wheel bolts and speeds up other heavy-duty processes whether in the engine, steering, and suspension. Between the cordless and air-powered impact guns, consider the cordless one since it is much more powerful.
Your toolbox cannot be complete if it does not have a hammer, and also must have any automobile workshop tools list. A hammer enables you to do anything that needs mending and hitting. You can use it to knock out nail heads or work with any stuck component. There are several types of hammers, and you need to be careful during purchase. It is advisable to get a hammer with a rubber handlebar since it ensures a good grip. Some of the types of hammers used are ball peen hammers, claw hammer, club hammer, dead blow hammer, framing hammer, and sledgehammer. The most common type of hammer used by mechanics is the ball-peen hammer. Club hammer is, however, necessary when dealing with big industrial vehicles.
Most vehicle repair jobs will require one to have pliers. Pliers are used by mechanics when changing hoses, repairing brakes, and even when working with other connectors. They are also useful in handling hot objects and compressing and bending materials. Some common types of pliers are bent nose pliers, slip joint pliers, lineman’s pliers, and diagonal pliers, Fencing Pliers, among others. When fixing coolant hoses and clamps, you need to use pliers that come with vice-grips. Pliers came in different sizes and shapes. However, ensure that you have a cutter, long-nosed, and normal pliers in your toolbox. The tool will save you big time when dealing with tough bolts and nuts.
Vice-grips are also known as locking pliers. They are handheld clamps with a shape similar to that of pliers. This tool is useful when you need to hold something which is in an awkward position, grip something in place for a long time, or grab something without gripping features. Vice-grips are mainly sold in a set of 4, but you can also buy one classic one if you are not in a position to get the full set.
Ratchets are also known as socket wrenches. They have a socket on one side which allows a one way turning. They are used for several automotive uses and are easy to use on cramped, awkward angles, and small spaces. You can use them to loosen or tighten bolts easily and quickly. Socket wrenches set should at least contain the three different sizes. There is a large one (1/2), medium (3/8), and small (1/4). They allow you to work with accuracy, speed, and freedom.
Funnels are helpful to mechanics when they need to pour any type of liquid or oil to avoid spillage. Funnels have no alternative. If you change the oil of your vehicle without using a funnel, the spilled oil may cause gasses and odors, which may end up affecting the engine. You are advised to use different funnels for different purposes. Avoid using the same funnel you use to pour oil for pouring water or coolant. If you do not want to buy a set of funnels, ensure that you have a long and a short funnel in your toolbox.
10. LED Flashlight or Work Light
When working on car repairs, visibility is not always obvious. Imagine you are driving at night and get stuck in the middle of the road. It is impossible to repair a car in the dark. An LED work light acts as a backup to provide you with light whenever you need it. This will enable you to look in every corner of the vehicle to know where exactly the problem is. Having proper lighting will make a big difference during a repair. At times, you will also need the flashlight during the day to pull and fins specific bolts from the vehicle. A headlamp is a great option when working beneath the car since you will be able to use both of your hands.
Scissors are an important tool for a mechanic since it can save them in an emergency. It is part of a tire puncture repair kit. It can help in cutting wires, electric tapes, and zip ties among other tasks. It may not be a specific tool for mechanics, but it is basic for a well-equipped toolbox due to its versatility.
12. Test Light
Test lights are used during the inspection of blown fuses, starters diagnosing, light bulb not working, and other simple electric problems. The best type of test light you should buy is a dual polarity test light. It is of great help to any beginner mechanic for it will help them to make a correct electric diagnosis. Every Auto mechanics Should Include this tool mechanic hand tools list, specially who repair the Vehicle electrical system.
13. Jumper Cables
This is one of the most important tools for both beginner and experienced mechanics. Jumper cables function as a bridge in the supply of 12v from working to a dead car battery. A mechanic should have its own set of jumper cables, especially if you are in your repair shop.
14. Tire Pressure Gauge & Inflator
One common task a mechanic does is maintenance and tire jobs. You will need to check the air pressure of the car as you adjust them for quite a number of times in a day. This job will only become easier if you have the best tire pressure and inflator gauge. Tire pressure gauge is the most simple air compressed tool. As soon as you buy a compressor, then you need to purchase this tool. The tire inflator gauge will enable you to always have your tire pressure spot on. Ensure you get one with a gauge reading at least 100PSI or 8 bars.
A grinder is quite useful, especially when working on metal cutting works or exhaust lines. If possible, buy a straight and 90-degree angle grinder. You can use the straight grinder for exhaust works, brake system maintenance as well as cutting disks for different purposes. The 90-degree grinder, on the other hand, is ideal to use on wheel hubs, valve covers, wheels, and rims. Grinders are very versatile tools. They perform multiple tasks from sharpening, polishing, sanding, routing out mortars, cutting pavers, stucco and tiles, and grinding metals.
A multimeter is a crucial tool for electrical troubleshooting and diagnosis. It enables you to measure amperage, resistance, and voltage. Ensure that the multimeter can read amps. This is useful in checking fuses and batteries, just to mention a few. It also helps mechanics to check if they have a hot wire and the amount of juice flowing through it.
17. Feeler gauge
A fleer gauge is a gauge that consists of several thin blades that measure clearances or small gaps. This tool gives measurements in inches and millimeters. It gives the mechanic an idea of the wideness of a gap by filling the gap with bladed of known thickness value. They are ideal for use in places where other measuring tools such as calipers and measuring tapes cannot fit.
18. Torque wrench
A torque wrench looks similar to a simple ratchet, but it is not the same. It enables one to tighten bolts at the exact torque specified by the vehicle manufacturer. This is very important when dealing with operations inside the transmission gear or car engine. A toque wrench is an ideal tool to use when tightening spark plugs. Consider a toque wrench that reads in both Nm. and ft.lb.
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Equipment List for Mechanics
A mechanic needs a combination of both automotive tools and equipment for efficient and excellent work. The equipment below makes work easier for the mechanic during their daily working routine.
1. Air Compressor
Having an air compressed system enables you to perform heavy-duty jobs with minimal efforts. An air compressor enables mechanics to run pneumatic tools and some auto lifts. Get an air compressor that is easy to use and portable for convenience purposes. The best air compressors range between 60 and 120 gallons. Other things to look at when buying an air compressor are horsepower, requires pistons, PSI, and cubic feet per minute.
2. Jack, Jack Stands, and Pole Jacks
You will mostly be needed to raise a vehicle, especially when repairing the wheels. There are also other car maintenance tasks that need the vehicle to be lifted. A jack stand or a floor jack assists you in the lifting of the car. Never opt for a cheap jack or jack stand at the expense of quality since poor quality jacks can cause injuries. Pole jacks are useful in supporting axles and other parts of raised vehicles.
3. Oil Drain and Oil Caddy
Transmission of fluid and changing oil is a common task for auto mechanics. An oil drain enables mechanics to catch and store fluids and oil from lifted vehicles. This keeps the floor free from oil. They also help in the storage of old oil, which can later be recycled to be used for asphalt, heating oil, and many other ways.
4. Battery charger and jumper
Most tasks in an auto repair shop will involve charging or dead batteries. You can only handle these tasks if you have a good jumper and battery charger. The battery charger will come with an operation manual that you should go through and understand before use.
5. Engine hoist/ Engine crane
An engine crane is must-have equipment if you want to do any works on the car engine. It enables one to remove the car engine without using too much effort. Consider buying an engine hoist that can support the maximum weight of the vehicles you will be servicing.
6. Hydraulic Lifts
A hydraulic lift is a machine that uses hydraulic apparatus to move or lift objects using farce created after exerting pressure in a liquid piston. You can either by a two-post or a four-post hydraulic lift. A two post hydraulic lift will raise a car vehicle higher in a low ceiling garage while a four-post lift takes more room than the former. Four post hydraulic lifts make it easier to position and load the vehicle.
7. Grease gun
A grease gun is a common equipment in a garage or an auto repair shop used for lubrication. Its purpose is to apply lubricant via an aperture to a given point mainly on a nipple or grease fitting. There are different types of grease guns. There are electric grease guns, air-powered grease guns, and hand-powered grease guns. The air-powered and electric grease guns are easier to use compared to the hand-powered ones.
8. ATF Changer
One of the complex components of a vehicle is the automatic transmission. It has several moving parts under hydraulic and electronic control, and thus fluid is vital to its operation. Most automatics depend on the Automatic Transmission Fluid for lubrication of the transmission and activating different clutches which assist in the changing of gears. This fluid needs to be changed from one time to another, and an ATF changer will help you in this. Having an ATF changer in your auto repair shop will make it easy for you to change ATF fluids from vehicles.
9. Strut compressor
A strut compressor is useful when dealing with suspension systems or replacing the strut. This equipment will make your auto repair shop more profitable by adding your service capabilities. Strut compressors are however dangerous to operate. Ensure that you are well conversant with it and handle it with care during the operation.
10. Workbench with Vise
Workbench vice, also known as bench vices attach directly to the workbench to hold a workpiece firmly during operations such as drilling, planning, and sawing. It has two jaws where one jaw is fixed while the other is movable using a cam, lever, or screw. For general household tasks consider a bench vice of 4 to 5 inches.
11. Wheel Aligner
A wheel aligner helps you to adjust the angle of the vehicle’s wheels to a position as per the recommendation of the vehicle’s manufacturer. This equipment will help you to offer services such as measuring wheel orientation by inspecting caster, camber, and toe and checking tire trends for signs of poor alignment. Most car manufacturers recommend checking the wheel alignment after every 10,000 miles.
12. Wheel Balancer
A wheel balancer is used to balance the weight of a wheel and tire assembly so that a vehicle travels evenly at high speeds. Every time you mount a wheel for the first time in a vehicle, you have to balance it. As an auto mechanic, you need to ensure the weight of a vehicle is evenly distributed on each tire and wheel, and this is why you need a wheel balancer. Wheel balancing also ensures that the vehicle has a vibration-free and smooth ride.
13. Portable Welding Machine
At times as an auto mechanic, you will deal with metals and a portable welding machine will make your work easier. This machine helps you to maintain high quality and safe weld. A portable welding machine is easy to control and has high performance. It is portable, so it has to be lightweight and easy to move around with. It reduces gas and wire wastage since only the determined amounts are used to the weld bead.
Some of the problems you will face as an auto mechanic are issues with fuel injectors. Most of the time, the issues are brought about by dirt, and they need to be cleaned with injector cleaners. Injector cleaners work very well to address initial problems with fuel injectors at their early stages. Some issues, such as clogging can be solves by using injector cleaners regularly. Using these cleaners leads to a more powerful engine, better throttle response, shorter cranking time, and smoother feel on how the car runs.
An engine analyzer is a multi-function and complex instrument which assists auto mechanics to diagnose any engine or engine-related problems. It also assists you in tuning in case of an overhaul. An engine analyzer is either used with diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles. Some of the test capabilities and components it may include are a vacuum pump, a timing pump, an ohmmeter, ammeter and voltmeter, a tachometer, vacuum and pressure gauges, an emissions/ exhaust analyzer and a cylinder output test among others.
A vacuum cleaner is a necessary equipment when dealing with vehicles. This equipment is used for vacuuming car seats and carpet to remove dust, debris, dirt, and other particles. There are corded and cordless vacuum cleaners to choose from. Corded vacuum cleaners have power cords that you can connect to either an AC or DC. You can draw much power with these cleaners for better cleaning efficiency. Cordless vacuum cleaners, however, do not have any cords or wires. They offer you greater versatility, flexibility, and coverage.
A paint sprayer is a tool used to paint vehicles to give them a new look or restoring them to their old look after an accident. The best paint sprayers will make your car painting job as a mechanic, comfortable, quick, and efficient. The most common types of sprayers you can use are gravity feed spray guns, HVLP paint sprayers, LVLP paint sprayers, compressed air paint sprayers, and airless paint sprayers. All of them have their own pros and cons, but most professionals prefer to use the airless or the HVLP paint sprayers.
A polisher is also known as a buffing machine. There are two types of Car Polisher available in the market corded car polisher and another one is cordless. Now, most Popular is Cordless Car Polisher. It is mainly used to polish soft metals such as brass and copper as well as plastics like Perspex. In an auto repair shop, this equipment is necessary for polishing vehicles. When the “on” switch is pressed, the two mops will spin at high speed. It is recommendable to polish your car at least twice every year.
Personal Protective Equipment for Auto Mechanics
Safety is an important aspect irrespective of whether you are working in your own auto garage or a classic car restoration shop. Personal protective equipment will help you to stay safe from any type of injury in the workshop. Ensure that you have properly fitting clothing. They should not be extremely tight to restrict your movement neither should they be too loose for they can get caught when moving around. Below are some of the personal protective equipment each auto mechanic should have:
Auto mechanics have a higher risk of eye injury since they deal with small auto parts and chemicals. Safety glasses prevent the mechanic from any kind of eye injury. Ensure that you have your safety glasses on grinding, welding, working with chemicals, or any other task that poses a risk for eye injury. The best safety glasses should surround your eye to prevent any form of liquids or debris from entering the eye.
There are two types of gloves a mechanic can use. There disposable and non-disposable gloves. These days’ mechanics prefer to use disposable nitrile gloves when working on car interiors or for quick in and out operations. You can also use a lightweight pair of non-disposable gloves made of cloth, canvas or leather. Ensure you buy some high-quality gloves which are resistant against chemicals. The gloves should also be well-fitting.
When carrying out auto repairs, a lot of abrasive clouds and fumes are released into the air. It is important to ensure that your face is well protected. Consider face receptors provide more protection and are much more comfortable compared to disposable masks. These masks have replaceable filters so always ensure that you have an extra filter in place. Even if the auto shop is well ventilated, wear some dust mask to protect your lungs.
The best type of safety shoes to wear as a mechanic should be non-slip and steady. A work boot is one of the best options. Safety shoes should offer mobility and maximum protection to your legs from burns, scrapes, and cuts. Steel-toed boots are also a good option. They offer one with a lot of protection, but they are quite heavy. Whatever shoe you consider, ensure that it provides you with composite toe protection, flexibility, and comfort.
It is obvious that you will get dirty when fixing vehicles. A basic activity such as changing oil may leave your hands black and with a bad smell. You may say that you will be on gloves but remember that they can get ripped. A hand cleaner will make it easy to clean any form of oil or dirt you get when repairing a vehicle. It also leaves your hands smelling nice.
A safety dress for mechanics is mainly a coverall. Coveralls look like jumpsuits which cover the regular clothes of a mechanic. They are made of flame-resistant, protective and durable materials. The best safety dress for a mechanic should be made of no-scratch covered buttons, ripstop fabrics, and padded knees to ensure that your body is fully protected.
An auto repair shop requires several tools and equipment depending on the services they want to offer. The above auto mechanic tools and equipment list contain must have mechanic tools that anyone will need to repair any damaged car. Some of them are more advanced and are mainly used by professionals in car repair shops. However, any auto mechanic needs to know about the tools and how to use them before they start working or for DIY works. Each tool and equipment have different types so consider your needs before the purchase. It is also advisable to get high-quality tools and equipment that will work for you for a long time.