The feeling of independence that you get from knowing your way around your vehicle is incredible and something that everyone should get to enjoy. Learning how to repair your own car is a lot of fun, but sometimes taking the first step can be a little scary – especially if you’ve ever visited a garage and seen the bewildering racks of tools they have in the corner.

Basic auto repair tools needed.
Don’t let the complex-looking auto repair shops fool you – you don’t need a lot of tools to get started.

Fortunately, as a beginner, you don’t need to buy the entire Teng Tools catalog. There are just a handful of tools that count as “must haves”. If your garage based activity ever grows beyond basic maintenance to modding or restoration work, then you can gradually expand your collection, but while you’re just learning all you need is a basic set of decent quality tools. Here’s a list:

Safety gear:

  • Eye protection
  • A good set of mechanic’s work gloves
  • Oil spill collector
  • A fire extinguisher suitable for gasoline fires (you should already have one of these in the garage – if not, get one before you get anything else)!

Basic Tools:

  • A screwdriver set
  • Hex keys
  • Open end wrenches
  • A ratchet set
  • A set of pliers
  • A torque wrench
  • A basic jack
  • A torch

If you’re planning on doing any wiring work, you’ll also need a multi-meter, and a tool for crimping, stripping, and cutting wires.

Most of the above can be obtained from any parts store, or purchased online. In addition to the above, it’s a good idea to have some overalls or old clothes to use while you’re working on the car, and plenty of rags lying around for cleaning up grease and oil.

You should also invest in a copy of the maintenance manual for your car. Maintenance and repair manuals are invaluable for beginners and experts alike.

One useful tip for beginners is that instead of relying on the manual for every little step, take photographs as you work. This makes it easier to tell what goes where. The diagrams in the manual aren’t always clear! Besides, digital photos are free!

A basic set of car repair tools shouldn’t set you back a lot of money, even if you invest in branded equipment such as Teng Tools. Considering that most of the equipment you need can be used for other purposes beyond just car repair, it makes sense to buy the best equipment you can afford, even if you aren’t sure how much work you’ll want to do on your car. Yes, Teng Tools are more expensive than unbranded tools, but if you look after your Teng Tools well they will last a lifetime. A cheap screwdriver set from the corner shop will probably snap the first time you try to undo a stiff screw with it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Teng is a popular brand of tools in the UK. Kind of like “Craftsman” or “Snap-on” tools in the US and Canada.

Buying low cost tools is a false economy. They may be OK as a child’s first set for practicing bicycle repair, but when you’re working on something major such as a car or a motorbike, it’s better to make sure you have the right tools for the job.

This post was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of Tool Orders. Crispin is a keen motorist who enjoys writing about all aspects of car ownership.

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