7 Automotive Tools You Should Keep in Your Garage
Posted by: Lydia on 24/07/2019
To many people, the idea of doing car maintenance and repair can be very intimidating. This is something car gurus can easily forget, but for those who have recently become interested in maintaining their own cars, knowing where to begin can be difficult.
This isn’t the case just because of the steep learning curve that comes with servicing a car, but also because it’s hard to know the precise tools that are required for your vehicle. But there are some basics that every aspiring mechanic will need. Here are 7 automotive tools you should keep in your garage that can equip you to handle just about any car maintenance task.
Cars are modern marvels, allowing us to travel safely at high speeds. And it's under the bonnet that you’ll see all this safety held in place by a huge quantity of nuts and bolts. This can be a little frustrating at times, when changing even a small part can involve a lot of elbow grease. But having a good spanner on hand is vital to making this work easier.
While the exact spanner you'll need will depend on your car and the task you want to perform, for years petrolheads have been relying on the spanner to help them replace car fans, fix electric windows, replace radiators, and more. Spanners are also essential to use in regular inspections to ensure all the nuts and bolts in your vehicle are tightened and secure.
While spanners are incredibly useful, sometimes you’ll need a tool with a wider contact area to properly grip a stubborn bolt. For tasks like this, a good pair of pliers is essential, especially because of their narrower limbs compared to a spanner. Pliers ensure you can apply the perfect grip to a loose bolt and remove it securely before the final turn, to avoid it dropping below and getting lost.
Even if you have a garage with great lighting – or work outside in the summer sunshine – you’ll still find your car has lots of dark corners. That’s why having a good worklight on hand is essential.
For most purposes, a standard torch should do the job, but if you know your work will take a little longer – or you’ll really need both hands free at all times while you do it – opting for a proper car worklight is best. A worklight will give you all the same benefits of a torch, but can also be affixed to the underside of your car’s bonnet, guaranteeing you’ll have good hands-free lighting as you go about the job.
4. Trolley Jack
Often, work on your car involves getting under it. Although some people are fortunate to be very lean and limber, even an elite gymnast could not change a tyre without the right elevation. That’s why for anything that involves work underneath the car, having a trolley jack to elevate it is essential.
5. Jumper Cables
The value of jumper cables when you're out on the road is easy to understand. You may get stuck and need a jumpstart to get you to the nearest mechanic. But there are also very valuable uses for them at home. If you find your car doesn’t start for some reason when parked at home, this could mean calling roadside assistance, and that can get costly.
But if you have a set of jumper cables and are a multi-car household – or even just have a friendly neighbour nearby with their vehicle and a few minutes to spare – it can help you sidestep this problem. Ideally, you’ll find the set of jumper cables you keep in your car ready for times like this, but jumper cables can sometimes rust when improperly stored or exposed to harsh weather (or have been sitting unused in your boot for a decade). So keeping a spare set in your garage helps ensure you’ll never get stuck with a dud pair of cables and no way to get your car started.
Car maintenance often involves adding new liquids to your vehicle, but too few understand how messy that can be until it's time to pour. That's why a funnel really is essential to help you avoid spills and keep you safe, since many of these liquids can be dangerous if not poured correctly. Also be sure to slot a tray underneath your vehicle so if there's any leaking, it will be easy to catch.
7. Fire Extinguisher
Hopefully, you won't have need of a fire extinguisher as you work on your car. In fact, if you’re doing general maintenance and know when to step back and let your mechanic take over, the odds of a fire breaking out are basically nil. But many people make the mistake of forgetting what else is in their garage, with other dangers like flammable goods and electric wire increasing the risk of a mishap.
Accidents can spiral out of control quickly. That’s why having a fire extinguisher on hand is important – at the very least, it will provide extra peace of mind.
Having a set of automotive tools in your garage like the ones we’ve outlined here can save you lots of time and money, but being smart and safe when it comes to car repairs means knowing when to put down the tools and turn things over to the experts. With the automotive industry in Australia employing over 287,000 people, you're sure to find mechanics available near and far to help you with your car when needed.
But if you're keen to become your own mechanic, start small with easy jobs, and you'll see your skills and experience grow. As you learn more and enhance your skills, hopefully you'll soon find that no maintenance task or minor repair will ever faze you again.
What other tools do you think are important to keep in your garage? Let us know in the comments below: