If you have decided you are confident with doing your own maintenance and some repairs on your own cars you will need to have some basic hand tools to get you going. There is no doubt most professional mechanics invest tens of thousand of dollars on hand and power tools for their career. Most are quite expensive and often specialty tools that are out of the budget for the average car owner.
But there is no need to make that kind of investment for taking care of your personal vehicle. In fact you can set your home garage up relatively cheap with a variety of tools to accomplish simple repairs and maintenance. I have done some of the work for you to make this a little easier. Some of these tools are a must. What we in the field call essential tools. If you own nothing else you should have at least the essential tools I suggest. As a rule you should never have to borrow a tool from any one more than once. If you need it a second time you should own one of your own.
In an earlier post I mentioned the very minimum you should have in your garage is a tool set that includes and wenches, ratchet and sockets, as well as a set of screw drivers. These can be purchased individually but can add up pretty quickly. WORKPRO W009044A Mechanics Tool Set with 3-Drawer Heavy Duty Metal Box (408 Piece) is a nice 408 piece tool set that includes everything I recommend in one kit with a box. It is relatively inexpensive and takes up minimal space which is nice if you have a crowded garage. The tools themselves are a decent quality and should hold up to whatever maintenance and light repairs you will be doing on your personal vehicles.
If you are like most homeowners, the lighting in your garage leaves a lot to be desired. It is adequate for looking for that box of Christmas decorations tucked in some corner. But to perform any kind of car repair it pretty much sucks. A good drop light is essential for doing any kind of work. Drop lights have come a long way. In the past they were clumsy and gave off a tremendous amount of heat. Newer drop lights are rechargeable and give off minimal heat. Neiko 40464A Cordless LED Work Light, 350 Lumens, 5 Hours Run Time, 4,000 mAh Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, Multi Purpose is one of the best I found because of its 5 hour run time meaning you won’t be tripping over an extension cord while trying to lean over a car. It provides ample lighting and takes up very little space.
In the past I mentioned if you plan to work under a vehicle, never do so on a car or truck supported only by a jack. This is like playing Russian roulette with a 2 ton weight. Torin T43002A Big Red Double Locking Steel Jack Stands: 3 Ton Lift Capacity, 1 Pair is an inexpensive set of jack stands that take up very little storage when not in use. Not only to they support the weight of any car or SUV, they double lock to ensure your chest won’t be supporting the weight of the family car.
These are my recommendations for car owners choosing to do their own maintenance and light repairs. I have personally studied these myself and believe they are the right fit for any home garage. Feel free to drop me any questions or comments you have regarding tools.