It can be difficult to know what tools are essential for young mechanics just starting out. For those not fortunate enough to be able to inherit a collection from a relative or a family friend, there are various starter kits available. While most of these sets will disagree on what’s essential, here are eight tools that every beginner should be on the look out for before they start any jobs.
Okay, let’s start with the basics. Every decent mechanic needs a high-quality set of wrenches, preferably from a reputable manufacturer. A good set should last for decades to come, if not a lifetime, so there’s no sense in cutting corners here.
A Flat and a Phillips head isn’t all you need. To be able to tackle all of the common jobs, make sure that you’re also equipped with a torx head, a stubbed set for tight spaces, a screwdriver with an extended length for those out of reach spots.
Ratchets and Sockets
Ratchets and sockets come in three basic sizes: small (¼”), medium (⅜”) and large (½”). Most starter sets will typically include all three sizes. Make sure you also get sockets in the same sizes as well as in both short and long lengths too.
Regular pliers in addition to vise grips and needle noses are required for a lot of basic tasks like replacing faulty connectors, doing brake work, or changing a radiator or heater hose.
While you might not think you need a hammer to work on a car, it’ll likely save you a lot of time when you’re dealing with a stuck component. Use a rubber mallet on surfaces that you don’t want to risk denting.
A trolley jack and the appropriate stands are needed for any job that requires lifting the vehicle. Because a jack is hydraulic and has room for failure, make sure you buy from a reliable vendor like SGS Engineering.
A must for those working at night or just to get a better view of the situation at hand. While you likely already have a flashlight, invest in a headlamp as well so you can work with your hands free.
A multimeter that can read amperage is a minimum. While you can spend a lot of money on a top of the line unit, a hobbyist doesn’t need to go out of their way for a sufficient model.
While it’s difficult to narrow a whole garage down to its bare essentials, these eight tools should help you deal with most of the common problems and maybe a little bit more.