If you’re considering do-it-yourself car maintenance, you’re in privileged company. Many determined, proud vehicle owners have found themselves in the exact position you’re now in. Some find great success, others, great failure.
How can you ensure that you find yourself in the winner’s circle?
There’s a lot that goes into successful do-it-yourself car maintenance. But it all starts with setting up your garage the right way.
With that in mind, here are a few tools every garage owner needs:
1. A good creeper
The car creeper is a simple but critical device for car maintenance. It looks a little bit like a skateboard, but the purpose is to provide you easy access to the undercarriage of your car.
A good creeper will be comfortable and secure. It can come in a variety of materials, each with its own set of benefits and cons. For example, a plastic creeper will be more durable, but a padded one will be more comfortable.
It can be adjustable so you can arrange it in a way that maximizes your comfort.
You can decide for yourself what type will be most comfortable for you. Regardless, you should be able to get a decent one for under $100.
2. Floor jack
This tool allows you to lift the car up into the air. Getting one with an appropriate weight rating is critical for safety, so do your research with this purchase.
The weight rating should be able to support the curb weight of your car. There are a variety of different options that can facilitate this task.
Hydraulic floor jacks are very quick and powerful, but they can be a little pricey. There are also budget-friendly options out there, but keep in mind this tool really gets put through the ringer. It’s worth paying for quality.
Pump jacks also get the job done without costing an arm and a leg.
The amount of money you spend on your jack could range from under $100, to over $1000 depending on your needs.
The difference in cost will ultimately correspond with the level of intricacy of your setup, as well as the needs of your specific vehicle.
3. Jack stand
If you’re going to use a floor jack, you’ll also need a jack stand. This tool secures your car in an upward position once the jack has done its lifting.
There are a number of different materials out there for jack stands. We like aluminum because it can hold up to three tons, and still light enough to be easily moved around as needed.
Whichever you get, just make sure it’s suitably equipped to handle the needs of your car. This product can literally be the difference between a safe repair and a grave injury, so do your research before buying.
4. Socket set
You’ll use this for most car maintenance projects, which makes it an invaluable tool for any amateur garage.
It’s worth the money to buy a comprehensive set. The more sizes you have, the more open you’ll be to different tasks as they arise.
You can always buy additional socket head sizes as needed, but it’s usually more economical to get them in a set if you can.
A proper set will usually come with standard and metric sizes.
5. Work lights
Naturally, you’re also going to need a work light. Whether you’re working on the undercarriage or under the hood, car maintenance can take you to some dark places.
A good work light will illuminate the way so you can see what you’re doing and avoid making unnecessary mistakes.
A high wattage LED floodlight should do the trick. Just make sure it’s compact enough to easily be moved from location to location. You’ll get better use out of it if it’s small enough to provide light even in tight spaces.
6. Impact wrench
This is the quickest way to remove lug nuts. Depending on the brand, you can find affordable options that will help you to save a ton of time.
With impact wrenches, size counts, so consider something in the 1/2-inch and 3/8-inch range.
7. Drip pan
Last but not least, you’ll need a good drip pan if you plan on doing maintenance in your garage.
The oil drip pan is going to be your friend when it comes time to do a perennial do-it-yourself favorite: the oil change.
While it can be fun and exciting to change your own oil, it can also be extremely messy. And since motor oil is no walk in the park to clean up, it’s best to take preventative measures. A drip pan will help the process go smoothly, so you can focus on the task at hand.
As you continue along the path of do-it-yourself car maintenance, you’ll quickly realize that many, many tools are needed to do at-home repair work.
The seven we’ve listed here are only meant to get you started. With these tools, you’ll be able to perform a variety of basic repairs that will save you money, and give you something to brag about to your friends and family.
About the Writer:
This post was written by Adam Harris. He loves to fish, play the guitar, and his all-time favorite thing to do is to work on his home improvement, DIY and woodworking projects that he publicly blogs about on his websites: https://healthyhandyman.com/ and https://sawingpros.com/. Feel free to reach out to him if you have any cool ideas for his content and work, but do know that he recently got himself a new 3D printer so he may be a bit busy! Sources: Adam’s years of experience working from garages and woodworking shops.