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It’s easy to transform your garage from simply the place you keep your car into a veritable amateur auto shop. A relatively small investment of time and money can gain you the tools and knowledge to DIY simple repairs and maintenance. This can develop quickly into a worthwhile hobby.
Maintaining your own vehicle is a rewarding and money-saving endeavor. With the hourly rates of auto mechanics where they are, it can cost an arm and a leg to have someone else perform even the most basic car maintenance tasks. Luckily, only a few tools and a little know-how are required to handle things like oil changes, fluid changes, and other simple jobs.
We are not advocating that you attempt an engine overhaul in your garage (unless you’ve got the experience). But if you want to improve your relationship with your vehicle and understand what makes it work, there are a number of jobs you can do at home.
In order to do the work, it’s important to have the right car tools for the job. Here are a few things you’ll need to get started.
That spinning, squealing sound you hear in professional garages? That’s the sound of an impact wrench, one of the most important tools in the arsenal of anyone who works on cars. Impact wrenches go by many names: air wrench, rattle gun, torque gun, impactor, etc. Some might run on electricity, but the more common variety works with compressed air. Cordless electric impact wrenches are becoming more and more popular, though.
An impact wrench delivers high torque output without requiring much force from the user. It looks like a thick handheld drill and can be fitted with a socket to extract or install nuts and bolts. An impact wrench is not a replacement for your standard socket wrench, however, as there is not enough room to reach some of the bolts. For those, you’ll need a socket wrench, and you’ll have to torque it with your own strength.
If you choose an impact wrench that runs on compressed air, you’re also going to need an air compressor. Make sure it puts out at least 4 cubic feet per minute of air at 90 psi.
- Upgraded Brushless Motor --- The 20V cordless impact wrench delivers a maximum torque of 250Nm (184ft-lbs). Compare with brushed motors, the brushless motor has higher engine speed and longer life spans, low maintenance.
- 1 Hour Fast Charge and Long Lasting Battery --- 1-hour fast charging and 2.0Ah rechargeable battery with real-time power indicator allow for longer run time. With a carry bag for easy storage, you could easily keep this wrench in your car and carry it anywhere.
- Auto Brake Stop Function for Safety Operation ---When in Reverse-Mode, the brake-stop function will active and the wrench will stop rotation and impact in two seconds, in case the fastener isn't installed properly. In that way, the damages to the device and fasteners are avoided.
- Three-speed Setting and Variable Speed Trigger for Precise Control --- Equipped with a gear selector button that you can use to switch between three different speed modes: 0-1500RPM, 0-2500RPM, and 0-3250RPM. Together with the variable speed trigger, you can easily apply more pressure when you want more power.
- Built-in LED Light Design and User-Friendly Belt Clip --- The built-in LED light switches on automatically when you engage the trigger, you can work in the poor lightning area with powerful LED light available on the tool. Simply strap it to your belt and you can take it anywhere with you.
Almost every job you perform on your car requires it to be lifted off the ground. But you don’t want to use that flimsy scissor jack in your tire change kit. Performing even routine maintenance calls for a floor jack, which is sturdier and stronger.
That scissor jack in your emergency roadside kit is not designed for heavy, repeated use. It’s intended only to lift and hold the car for brief emergency roadside maintenance.
Bottle jacks and high lift jacks are not suitable, either. What you need is a floor jack. A floor jack rated heavy enough for the vehicle allows for easy lifting. The wheels on the jack allow for adjustment as the lift point moves since only part of the car is off the ground.
In selecting a floor jack to keep among the car tools in your garage, you’ll want to pay attention to the following:
- Lift capacity: This is the single most important factor. Make sure the jack is more than strong enough to lift your vehicle.
- Quick or standard lift: Quick lift jacks lift quicker. They’re also usually a little more expensive.
- Lift range: If your vehicle has very low ground clearance, some floor jacks may not be low enough to get under the jack points. If your vehicle has high ground clearance, some floor jacks won’t rise high enough to get it comfortably off the ground.
A note of caution here: Don’t rely on your floor jack to hold the vehicle once it’s off the ground. Rather, once it’s at height, secure it with jack stands. Never, never count on the jack alone to hold a vehicle. Even the best jacks can fail, with dangerous or disastrous results. Use jack stands.
- Hydraulic Trolley Floor Jack Is Constructed With Heavy Duty Steel, Providing Long Term Durability With An Industrial Luster
- Features A 2.5 Ton (5,000 Lb) Capacity With A Minimum Lifting Height Of 3-3/8" And A Maximum Height Of 14-15/16"
- Ideal For Most Cars, Trucks, And Suvs; Safety Bypass System Prevents Over-Loading And Ensures Safe Operation
- Equipped With (2) Large Steel Casters And (2) 360-Degree Swivel Casters For Smooth Maneuverability
Automotive Parts Washer
Parts washers are designed to clean metal parts and car tools, so they work as well as possible. They’re a must-have in any quality home garage. Anyone who has much experience working on motor vehicles can tell stories about how dirty or contaminated parts can damage a vehicle.
That might mean not only that your work on that particular job has been wasted but also that you now have more work to do thanks to the consequences of installing dirty parts. A quality automotive parts washer will remove dirt, grease, grime, oil, grit, and other contaminants so that the part can be confidently installed.
Parts washers use either solvents or water to do the cleaning. With a solvent-based automotive parts washer, chemical solvents are employed. These are more common in commercial garages where lots of parts need to be cleaned every day or cleaned at lower temperatures. Solvent-based parts washers are rare in home auto shops.
Water-based parts washers, also called aqueous washers, make use of pressure, higher temperatures, soap, and agitation to clean off contaminants. They require less maintenance, and you won’t have to worry about disposing of harsh chemicals.
Another consideration surrounding automotive parts washers is whether to choose a portable or stationary model. Each of these comes with advantages and disadvantages. The one you select basically comes down to preference and the types of jobs you’re doing, but most home garages go with stationary, water-based automotive parts washers.
- Portable part washer is designed to easily fit your standard 5 gallon bucket (not included) to degrease small parts and tools
- Safe for useage with any non-corrosive water based cleaning solution; The switch on the water pump controls the flow velocity
- Equiped with a high-frequency, waterproof, submersible pump and a flow-through hard bristle brush to remove caked on dirt; Features a unique channel drainage system to catch waste material and cycle the clean water
- Whole parts washer is portabel and easy to carry- you can pack and move anywhere like a garage, home, and workshop; Simple operation makes you clean parts effectively
- If you have any issues with Parts Washer, simply contact customer service for troubleshooting help; This parts washer has one-year warranty
Oil Catch Pan
If you’re going to be performing maintenance on your vehicle at home, that likely means changing fluids. When you drain the oil from your engine or transmission or the coolant from your coolant system, you’ll want to drain it into a catch pan, also known as a drip pan. Without one, you’re going to make a big mess.
A drip pan is essentially a low-profile bucket designed to fit under the vehicle. They have a lip or spout so they can easily be emptied into a receptacle so that you can dispose of the fluids later.
- OIL DRIP PAN: Oil drip pan keeps your garage floors clean & free of mess. The pan holds 6 quarts and is great for all liquids.
- OIL DRAIN CATCHING PAN: Reduce spillage and improve effiency in pouring liquids with this oil pan. Works for all vehicles.
- OIL DRIP PANS: Oil drip pans are great for almost any liquid when working on your own car, truck & even motorcycle repairs. Catch oil spills & keep your garage floors clean.
- INTERIOR & EXTERIOR CAR ACCESSORIES: We provide you with plenty of car auto accessories to customize your vehicle. Check out our floor mats, deer alerts, phone cup holders, chargers Bluetooth speakers & more!
- AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES: Custom Accessories is a family owned company & leader in the aftermarket automotive accessories marketplace. We are known for our extensive product line, product innovation & packaging solutions focusing on the consumers’ needs.
Sockets, Wrenches, and Socket Wrenches
Of course, the most common and best-known car tool is the tried-and-true wrench. Most vehicles produced by American manufacturers use imperial measurements, while most foreign-produced vehicles use metric ones. It’s a good idea to have wrenches of both measurement types available in your garage. Of course, you’ll use socket wrenches or impact wrenches most of the time, but you need standard wrenches for tight spots.
Generally speaking, you’ll want sockets and wrenches from 1/4 inch up to 1 1/14 inch and 7 mm up to 30 mm. Choose six-point sockets for most standard jobs. These are thought to be stronger due to the inner walls setting tightly against the six sides of a bolt.
Socket wrenches come in three standard drive sizes. These are 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, and 1/2 inch. For your home garage, you’ll want at least one 1/4-inch socket wrench for small bolts and tight spots and one 1/2-inch socket wrench for larger bolts. And you’re going to use the 3/8 drive the most, so get one of those, too.
- DRIVE SIZES: 1/4" and 3/8"
- SOCKET SIZES: 5/32" to 3/4" and 4mm to 17mm
- KIT INCLUDES: Ratchet, extension bar, 1/4" spinner handle, spark plug socket, adaptor, and more
- CHROME PLATED: Durable tools are resistant to rust and corrosion
- HIGH CURRENT CLIPS: With protective boots, the clips will last a long time in tough workshops
Lights and Headlamps
Don’t forget the lights! It’s dark under that car, and it’s dark in that engine bay. Granted, you’re not likely to need any special lighting for a basic oil change, but the need to be able to see what you’re doing cannot be overestimated. You’re going to want at least one of each of these:
- Clip-on light: to clip to the hood and shine down on the engine.
- Durable Material: This led work light is made of hard rubber, anti-sweat and anti-slip, the head is aluminum which dissipates the heat effectively, prolong the life of the lamp. Thanks to the foldable design, the lamp is easy to carry, and save storage space
- 5 Modes & Rechargeable: Built-in rechargeable battery, rechargeable by USB port ( included usb cable), you don't need to buy another battery, this will save you cost, time and effort. has 5 Lighting modes: High Brightness / Medium Brightness / Front Light / Red Warning / Strobe Red.(long press the switch button to switch to red light modes)
- 360 Degree Rotary, Magnet Base & Hook: 360 degree rotate provide multi-angle illumination, magnet base and hook make your hand free to do other things in the night. It can be used for BBQ, camping, reading, car repair and any other things you would want to do at night.
- Portable and Versatility: It's very compact at 5.8" folded and mere 4.9 oz in weight (140 gr), They're small enough that they can fit in many different places. 3 white light modes can be use as a flashlight, work light, grill light, 2 red light modes can be use as an alert light.
- What You Get: Package included 2 Rechargeable Work Light and 2 USB cable. It is a practical tool can use on daily time and outdoor active, It also can be used as a gift for friend or family member.
- Tripod light: to set on the ground and shine up at the engine.
- SUPER BRIGHT - Two brightness options can choose, 5000Lumen and 11000Lumen are available, it provides high intensity light. When you need a brilliant light to view your project that allows you to see in vivid detail.
- ADJUST COLOR TEMPERATURE - The light's temperature can be adjusted from 3000K to 5000K, provides flexible lighting choice. you can adjust according to the work environment，bring the best indoor lighting experience.
- CONVENIENCE - The lamp heads rotate 90° s vertically and 330° s horizontally.Tri-pod stands with flip lock.Built-in cord wrap system makes LED work light easier to fold up. It's easy to transport thanks to the practival handle, a 2.5m cable wrap and its compact dimensions when closed.
- HEAT DISSIPATION - It's made of high-quality aluminum. Multiple groove shape design on the back side is to increase air contact area and speed up heat dissipation without any security risk.
- WARRANTY - 3-year warranty provided, please feel free to contact us if any issue arises.
- Head lamp: to wear on your head so you can see what’s in front of you.
- Super Bright LED: The brightest head lamp to wear is consists of eight lights which provide 18000 lumens max which guarantees that you can see everything around you clearly whether you are fishing, jogging, running, hiking, camping, cycling, reading, caving, and other outdoor activities.
- Support USB Charging and Long Battery Life: The flashlight headlamp support USB Charging, which is very convenient for our daily use. And with 2 pcs rechargeable batteries, the streamlight headlamp can support 3-6 hours of long-term use in different modes. You don’t have to worry about running out of power anymore.
- Waterproof and Light: IPX5 Waterproof grade ensures that splashing water from all angles can be used normally mo matter you are hiking or fishing. The high power headlamp is only 5.3 oz and you will not feel tired even if you wear it for a long time. The miners headlamp ensures powerful functions while ensures comfort.
- Multi-mode Selection: The rechargeable headlamp has 8 modes to choose from to adapt to various scenarios, such as strong beam, warm beam, red light, SOS red strobe,main beam, side beam, all beam, SOS strobe.You can choose according to your situation at any time.
- Great Gift Choice: Are you still struggling with gift choices? Now you have the answer. This headlamp will be the best gift for your father, mother, husband, son, boyfriend on Father's Day, Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Approachable DIY Auto Maintenance
Once you’ve acquired the right equipment, it’s time to move on to the jobs. Typically, an amateur grease monkey will start with the basics, like oil changes, brake jobs, and emergency preparedness.
Changing Your Oil
Let’s start with a simple one: Performing an oil change. At its most basic, changing your vehicle’s oil is a straightforward process:
- Lift the car, and place an oil drip pan beneath the engine.
- Remove the oil drain plug, and let the oil drain into the drip pan.
- Remove the oil cap to let the oil drain faster.
- Replace the oil drain plug.
- Refill the oil.
- Lower the car.
- Put away the car tools, and drive away.
Of course, it’s true that different vehicles take oils of different weights and viscosities (and in different amounts), and the drain plugs might have different torque settings. The relevant information for your car is in your owner’s manual.
It’s that simple for almost every motor vehicle in the world, yet most people take their cars to Jiffy Lube. It’s too bad because changing your own oil, the most basic of maintenance tasks will save you a bit of money. You might even be surprised to find that you like your car more if you change your own oil. It’s a curious thing about human nature that we tend to like and care more about the things we put work into.
Note that you’ll also want to change your oil filter most, if not all, of the times you change the oil. You don’t have to do it every time, as most filters are rated for 10,000 miles at least, but it only costs a few dollars more and doesn’t require much extra work. To remove the filter for replacement, you’ll probably want to add a filter wrench to your collection of car tools.
Replacing Your Brakes
Brake pads are most commonly made of semi-metallic compounds that are up to 65% metal. The remainder might consist of wire, copper, or steel wool. Most brake pads are designed to make a high pitch whining or squealing sound when it’s getting close to time to replace them. If you hear a squeal when you hit the brakes, it’s probably time for a brake job.
Have no fear — this is a job you can do at home:
- Raise the vehicle with your floor jack.
- Secure it with jack stands.
- Remove the tire.
- With the tire removed, you’ll see the brake actuator, which holds the brake pads.
- Remove the bolts that hold the brake actuator in place.
- Remove the actuator and set it on something so the brake line is not stressed.
- Remove the current brake pads by slipping the clips off the actuator.
- Install the new brake pads.
- Lightly spray the brake rotors with brake cleaner.
- Reverse the process, and the brake squealing will be gone.
If you’ve waited too long to change the pads, you might need new rotors as well. This is a slightly bigger job, but you won’t need any extra tools to do it.
Emergencies Away From the Garage
You won’t always be able to do the job in the comfort of your garage. Sometimes issues will arise on the road that must be addressed before you can drive on.
Most cars come with an emergency tire change kit that includes a tire iron, a jack, and a spare tire of some kind. Usually, on newer vehicles, the spare tire comes in the form of a “donut” spare tire, also called a “space-saver,” or compact spare. These tires are good for only a short distance and only lower speeds.
The idea is that you can drive the car to a tire shop on the donut and get your full-size tire repaired or replaced before continuing on. These kits are a lifesaver in a pinch, but drivers who plan ahead will replace the jack with something stronger and replace the donut with a full-size spare, assuming there is room in the trunk for it.
- Emergency flat tire repair solution, connect, inflate and go! The easiest and quickest way to temporarily repair a flat tire in an emergency
- Fix-a-Flat is designed to seal small tread tire punctures up to 1/4 of an inch in diameter in seconds and provide enough inflation to lift the rim off the ground. Now seals 33% larger punctures and has been trusted for 50 years
- Flats happen, so be prepared with Fix-a-Flat, an easy-to-use, better alternative to the spare tire and perfect for roadside emergencies. This 16 oz can is perfect for standard tires
- With its eco-friendly formula, Fix-a-Flat is safe for the user, the tire and the environment. The old plastic cap has been tossed and replaced with a modern Performance Top, making Fix-a-Flat even more eco-friendly and easier to use
- No need for a jack, tools, or a spare tire and TPMS (Tire Sensor) safe, store in the trunk of your car and get your tire professionally repaired in 3 days or after 100 miles
Let’s say you’re staying at a hotel while on the road for a few days. Before you go in, you turn on the overhead light so you can find your wallet and sort out which bags to take with you. When you leave your car — whoops! — you forget to turn the overhead light off again. You return to your vehicle in the morning and turn the key in the ignition. Nothing. The battery is dead.
This situation can be a disaster for the unprepared, but if you’ve thought ahead, you should have a portable jump starter in your vehicle. Portable jump starters consist of a strong but small battery connected to jumper cables in a case. Hook it up to your battery, turn it on, and it’ll give enough of a jolt to start the car so that you can get back on the road.
There is little more rewarding than working on your own car. With the right tools and some patience and learning, you can do the basic maintenance tasks yourself. It’ll save you some money and give you a reason to hang out in the garage. After some practice, you’ll even know what you’re looking at under the hood!