Why you need a Tool Kit for your car

Be good to your vehicle and take care of it, and in turn, your vehicle will be good to you. A car or motorcycle is a literal ticket to freedom, independence, and geographical autonomy.

No matter what maintenance you’re doing,  you’re going to need a set of hand tools to help you complete the job. Nearly all of us own basic tools like spanners, screwdrivers, and measuring tapes – all essentials for general household tasks and car maintenance – but if you work on your own car, you might need some specialized automotive hand tools as well. 

You could buy all the tools you need separately, but what you really need to invest in  is a tool set.  This will save you money and time and is a worthwhile investment, if you choose tools made by a reliable brand like Mastercraft Tools with tough  components that are backed by a written lifetime guarantee. The best tool kits give you a better price per item, and there are both basic and deluxe sets available, depending on your needs.

If you grew up wrenching in a garage, spinning a spanner is likely second nature, though to the uninitiated, knowing where to start when assembling a mechanic’s tool kit can be a more-than-daunting task.  These are the basic tools that everyone should have.

Socket, Ratchet & Screwdriver Set

Even on the most modern cars, sometimes things come loose, whether from vibration, age, or other reasons. Often, a simple tightening of whatever’s loose will solve the problem. This can be especially helpful with a loose battery terminal connection, a slipped hose clamp, or other simple and obvious problems under the hood. Even if you aren’t an automotive whiz, popping the bonnet and looking for obvious problems like these is easy–just put eyes on the major systems and scan for loose or disconnected sections.

A socket set is the tool you’ll need most in order to work on your car. A proper mechanic’s tool set will include standard and metric sizes and 3/8-inch, 1/4-inch, and even 1/2-inch drivers, sockets and ratchets.  Extensions and thin walled sockets are also useful for hard to reach situations.

A nice set of screwdrivers is one of the basics of any well-assorted toolbox, whether as part of a socket set or individually.  There are shapes galore although the most common are: Flat, Phillips, Allen and Torx.  If faced with an uncommon kind of screw, you can always Google it  and see what is the kind of screwdriver that you need.

Ratchets allow you to work with freedom, speed and accuracy. The main sizes of ratchets are: ¼” (small), ⅜” (medium), and ½” (large). There are sets with all three, two or just one size. With sockets of all kinds, or just the basic ones. Some sets come with ratchets AND wrenches… Try and get yourself at least a big and a small ratchet set with the basic sockets as those are the ones you’ll use the most. Get a set with multiple socket sizes and screwdriver tips for the most flexibility, such as the and be sure to familiarize yourself with how they fit together before stowing the box in your boot.

Hex Keys

For those cases where the allen head socket of your flamboyant ratchet set just won’t reach the bolt, you can probably do good with a good old hex wrench. Manufacturers have this little secret passion about hiding Allen headed bolts in the most inaccessible spots.   Sets of these tools are usually inexpensive and we recommend you buy metric. 

Pliers and Wirecutters

There are a ton of electrical projects you can take on with a vehicle, such as installing a stereo head unit, speakers, or wiring new headlights. Most jobs will require you to use some kind of pliers. From brake jobs to removing small electric connectors, pliers are a must.  From wire cutting  to working on reduced spaces with long nosed pliers keeping some of this will come in handy.  Get at the very least some regular and wire cutting ones.​ Adding a Jaw plier that adjusts to a lot of different sizes will be quite helpful too.

You’ll need pliers of various sizes to achieve this, as well as wire cutters and wire strippers. Mastercraft offers a full-range of pliers and other hand tools to get the job done.

Hammers and Mallets

A dead blow mallet is many times the only solution when it comes to removing stuck bolts. A few smacks with this hammer—and maybe a little heat—will loosen almost anything. This mallet is covered in molded poly to prevent marring metal surfaces.

Things get stuck with dirt, grease and rust, and sometimes a good whack with a hammer is all it takes for that rotor or that ball joint to come off. Specially when we work in brakes and suspension, things tend to get really hard.​  Look for a nice rubber handlebar to ensure a good grip.

All the automotive hand tools in this article are supplied by Mastercraft, which is DIN approved and carries a lifetime warranty. These tools can be bought at Makro, Builders Warehouse, Builders Trade Depot, Builders Superstore and Builders Express.  We’ll be talking more about the tools you need next time!