Fixing up a car on your own is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction when you finally get that vintage top-down in your garage running again, especially if you accomplish the feat all by yourself.
However, fixing up a car is easier said than done. So if you’re looking to work on a project car or just simply maintain your everyday car yourself, here are the tools and gear you need to make the job easier.
PPE and workwear
Fixing up a car can be a hazardous job. Protect yourself by wearing the proper PPE and workwear, including steel-toed boots, work gloves, safety glasses, and appropriate clothing (that you won’t mind getting dirty). If you’re working with fumes, you should also wear a protective face mask for construction workers or mechanics, which is thick enough to minimize the inhalation of dangerous materials.
A socket set is one of the most important tools for automotive work, and arguably one that you can’t do much without. Get a socket set that includes both standard and metric sizes, as well as 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, and 1/2 inch drivers and sockets.
A torque wrench is used to attach nuts and wheel lugs to vehicles. Most fasteners need to be attached at a torque specification to work correctly, which means that attaching fasteners at the exact torque directly affects the safety and performance of your project car.
To make attachment easier, get a clicker-type torque wrench that will let you know when the fastener is tight enough.
Pliers and wire cutters
Fixing up a car involves a substantial amount of electrical work. That said, your auto repair kit should reliable pairs of pliers, wire cutters, and wire strippers. Chances are, you already have these tools in your regular toolbox, but it might be better if you invest in new pairs solely for your project car.
An impact driver is an extremely useful tool for removing fasteners, especially old and corroded ones that are difficult to take off using hand tools. If you don’t want to spend all day removing corroded or gunked fasteners from your project car, definitely invest in a reliable impact driver.
A wrench set is another must-have for auto work. However, not all wrenches are created equal, so be sure to choose a set that is high-quality, corrosion-resistant, and extremely durable.
You most likely already have screwdrivers in your garage, but they may not be enough to work on your project car. Buy a screwdriver set that is complete from small screwdrivers for delicate work to large flatheads that can be used for prying. It will make your life easier and can also be useful for other maintenance tasks around the house.
A propane torch will help you do certain tasks like remove stubborn fasteners or burn out old bushings. Inexpensive and easy to carry around, but they make a good addition to your mechanic toolbox.
Work light and torch
Having proper illumination is crucial when working underneath a car or under the hood, especially during nighttime and cloudy days. Get a LED floodlight to provide enough illumination to a large area. Apart from that, ensure that you have a reliable torch that is durable enough to be used for car work. If you want, you can also buy a headlamp to keep your hands free while working.
When figuring out your project car’s charging and electrical systems, a multimeter is an invaluable tool you need. It will give you actual numbers on voltage and amperage, making it easier for you to figure out what you need to fix.
Fixing up a project car is one of the best hobbies that not only entertains but builds skill at the same time. These are just some of the tools and gear you need to make the job easier, but they are the best ones to start with.