Automotive Tools: The Ultimate Guide of 2023

Automotive Tools Guide

Automotive Tools Introduction

Every auto mechanic or repair fan knows the value of having a good collection of automotive tools. With the required tools, you can easily take on projects to fix or maintain your car. If you’re a mechanic, an assortment of professional automotive tools and equipment makes your job easier. But deciding what tools to include in your collection is not always a straightforward task. That’s why we put up this “go-to” resource. Use it to learn about the different kinds of automotive tools, their uses, and cost. Learn, also, about the types of automotive tools every mechanic needs and those that suit DIY-ers including useful buying tips.

Chapter 1: What are Automotive Tools and Equipment? Automotive Tools Cost

a collection of automotive tools showing the different types

Auto repair requires three things; knowledge, skill, and, (you guessed it right), the right automotive tools. These tools are available in many different types, some essential and others useful accessories. Regardless of whether you’re only a repair enthusiast or beginner mechanic, it’s crucial that you own the best automotive tools and equipment for your needs. That’s what this first chapter will talk about. We will see what auto repair tools are then explored their categories before looking at prices.

Automotive Tools Definition; what are automotive tools?

Automotive tools and equipment are products that mechanics (or car owners) use when working on vehicles. They can be tools to keep parts and systems in good condition, popularly called maintenance tools, or tools to fix problems such as those used to remove and install fasteners. They can also diagnostic tools that detect issues.

Automotive tools are also either hand or power tools. Hand tools include wrenches, ratchets, and pliers. Examples of automotive tools that need electricity to run are drills, electric wrenches and some types of tire inflators. Some power tools, such as pneumatic impact wrenches, are air-driven.

Most auto tools such as wrenches and screwdrivers need to be strong enough to withstand rough use. They are, therefore, usually drop forged and made from tough materials such as high-carbon steel or chrome-vanadium. You will also often find them coated to prevent corrosion. If plastic or rubber is used, it’s usually the heavy-duty type.

There’s no limit to the number and types of automotive tools that a DIY enthusiast or mechanic can own. Many motorists keep a collection of the tools, usually the types needed for simple repairs. Other owns a large selection, almost the size of a mechanic’s. Read on for a list of these tools.

an example of basic automotive tools

Common Types of Automotive Tools and their Uses

Automotive tools are many types, so many that it’s almost impossible to own them all. Your tool choices depend on several factors, chief among them necessity. If you’re a DIYer, your collection is most likely composed of basic automotive tools and if a professional, both basic and advanced types. Below is a list of basic tools and another for professional tool types.

Basic Automotive Tools List

Basic auto tools refer to common hand tools that find use in almost every car repair and maintenance task. Examples include those listed below.

  • Wrench set- to remove and install bolts. One of the most used automotive tools
  • Ratchet and socket set- for fastening and unfastening bolts in tight spaces. Also among the most used
  • Oil filter wrench- used when removing and installing the oil filter
  • Punches and chisel set- for a wide range of uses including removing and positioning components
  • Screwdrivers- to remove and fasten screws. Come in different shapes and sizes. Also a prying tool
  • Pliers- useful when cutting wires, bending parts, and other tasks
  • Multimeter- one of the diagnostic automotive tools and measures current, voltage, and capacitance
  • Jack and jack stands- used to lift a vehicle and allow working underneath. Jack stands to ensure safe support
  • Wheel chocks- wedges or any other structure that prevents the vehicle from accidentally moving when you’re working on it
  • Pry bar- a large bar for jobs that involve prying or separating parts such as ball joints and shock heads
  • Breaker bar- a socket wrench with a longer handle (around 24 inches) used to break loose stubborn bolts and nuts by increasing leverage
  • Scissors- a type of heavy duty scissors used to cut things such as wires
  • Hammer- usually a dead blow hammer and useful when you have to bust components
  • Funnels- used to pour liquids and avoid messy spills
  • Oil drip pans- to catch liquids that may spill when changing the oil filter, bleeding brakes, and more
  • Wire terminal crimper- a useful automotive tool when working with cables and used to prepare wire ends for installation
  • Flex magnet pickup- to find and pick bolts and other metal parts that fall in hidden spaces
  • Socket adapters- useful when a ratchet cannot be used with the socket due to space constraints
  • Test light- used to test for the presence of current or voltage in electric circuits
  • Ignition spark tester- tests if a spark plug is producing a spark or not
  • Spark plug socket- for tightening or removing spark plugs instead of regular sockets
  • Spark plug gauge- used to gap spark plugs
  • Flashlight- to light up areas that are not well illuminated
  • LED headlamp- you need this to illuminate dark areas when working on a vehicle. Straps to the head for convenience
  • Underhood LED light bar- a tool to light up a vehicle’s underhood when fixing things underneath a vehicle
  • Creepers- allow you to slide under your car safely and comfortably during the repair
  • Tire inflator- used to inflate tires. Often comes with a gauge and uses electricity
  • Protective gear- allows you to use automotive tools and equipment safely. Includes eye protection goggles and hand gloves

Professional Automotive Tools List

These are popularly used by mechanics or vehicle owners who take their repair projects seriously. The most used include the following.

  • Air compressor- stores compressed air that can be used to inflate tires or operate pneumatic tools such as impact wrench
  • Cordless drill- to drill holes or remove fasteners such as rivets
  • Tire pressure gauge- ensures vehicle tires are inflated to the correct pressure
  • Torque wrench- lets you tighten fasteners to the correct and manufacturer-specified torque values
  • Impact wrench- makes removing bolts a breeze by using a powered mechanism
  • Ramps- provide a means to elevate a vehicle so you can work underneath. Many people find them less safe compared to jacks
  • Machinist vice- used to hold things firmly when working on them. A useful automotive tool for parts rebuilders
  • Angle grinder- used to cut metal parts quickly and conveniently or level edges
  • Digital calipers- for measuring different components to ensure their correct dimensions or to detect flaws
  • Jump starter- allows you to start a car when the battery is not working
  • Brake caliper wind back kit- used to force back a brake caliper piston and allow enough space to mount brake pads or brake discs
  • Laser thermometer- measures heat to diagnose car problems that involve overheating
  • OBD11 scanner- to read trouble codes, especially when dashboard lights come on. One of the most expensive but essential types of automotive tools
  • Wi-Fi video scope- allows you to view hidden places such as inside engine cylinders. Consists of a camera and screen linked by a Wi-Fi connection
  • Brake bleeder and vacuum pump- used when draining or changing brake fluid to make the process easier and more efficient
  • Rethreading set- also popular among tools for rebuilders. Used to replace the stripped thread
  • Radiator pressure tester kit- measures radiator pressure to detect leaks. Useful when changing the coolant
  • Cylinder compression tester kit- mechanics use this tool to check cylinder compression and diagnose gasket problems, among other issues

Besides the automotive tools and equipment described above, there are supplies that every car owner or repair technician needs to stock. Important ones include electric tape, zip ties, a set of fuses, and wire connectors- not forgetting the user manual.

Other important supplies include lubricants, penetrating fluid, and cleaners. In addition to commercial cleaners, it’s crucial to have soap or detergent and several buckets around. Your list is also incomplete without sponges and towels to help you wash and wipe surfaces or fire extinguisher to handle small fires.

a scanner is one of the most expensive automotive tools

Automotive Tools Cost

Based on the length of the automotive tools list above, you can be sure that prices vary wildly. They do, with the cheapest tool costing less than $10 and the most expensive above $1000 dollars. Automotive tool prices depend on several factors including the following.

If buying a single piece or set– automotive tool sets cost more, usually up to $100 and higher. Single pieces, on the other hand, are inexpensive and can cost as low as $10. These include wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers. However, sets are more economical to buy if planning to own a large collection of tools.

Type of tool- basic automotive tools such as pliers and screwdrivers are less expensive than professional tools used by mechanics. They will cost you less than $20, while advanced tools go for as high as $200 upward. And OBD2 code reader, for example, often goes for $200 and higher.

Quality– most of the time, high-quality automotive tools cost more than those of lower quality. These include those that offer higher levels of accuracy, or high-quality material tools. Quality tools last longer, though, and provide better results when used to measure or diagnose problems.

Brand- automotive tools manufacturers set their own prices. Suppliers too, making similar products to cost different amounts. Comparing prices before making the final move will help you land great deals.


There are many different types of automotive tools, some simple and others complex. Some are also must have tools, others useful additions. If looking to shop for auto repair tools, it’s important that you understand what these essential types are. That will help you make the right choices, especially if buying on a budget. It will also help you limit your collection to include tools that you are sure to use. The next chapter contains a list of these essential automotive tools and equipment.

Chapter 2: Must Have Automotive Tools and Their Uses with Pictures

must have automotive tools include the commonly used types

When looking to build your collection, you want to know the must have automotive tools or those that you cannot do without. That’s because it isn’t practical to own every tool out there. This section aims to provide you with a list of essential auto repair tools. Most are also basic types- simple to use and affordable. Without further ado, below are the must have automotive tools’ names and pictures.

Must have Automotive Tools and Their Uses

a collection of auto repair wrenches

1. Wrenches (Set)

A good set of wrenches is super useful for loosening and tightening nuts and bolts. There are many different types of this automotive tool. Common ones include open-end, box-end, and combination wrenches. Open-end wrenches feature U-shaped ends, box-end wrenches hexagonal ends. Combination wrenches use one open and another closed end, making them more versatile.

Consider owning different sizes of the tool, from sizes 10mm to 19 mm. Wrenches are also available as either metric or standard sizes. Many modern cars require metric wrenches. You may also want to have both depending on your budget, and for the fact that some cars use both metric and standard SAE fasteners. Ensure also, that they’re drop forged and made from tempered alloy steel or chrome vanadium alloy and specially plated to prevent corrosion.

a ratchet and socket set showing the sockets

2. Ratchets and Sockets (Set)

These are among the most used automotive toolsets. They are essential ratchets with matching sockets and used to remove and install fasteners such as bolts. These tools remove fasteners quickly and can be used in the most challenging of spaces such as car under the hood. Ratchets and sockets come in different sizes namely, small 1/4″, medium 3/8″, and large 1/2″.

If working on a strict budget, you may start with the 3/8 ratchet size and metric type sockets. Ensure too, that you have a range of wrenches, from sizes 6mm to 24mm to use with the sockets. Just like with the wrenches described above, most cars use the metric types. However, you may want to own both metric and standard socket sets so you can take on any repair task easily. Choose robust ones, based on the material and brand.

essential auto tools include screwdrivers

3. Screwdrivers

Screwdrivers are handy automotive tools and needed in most repair jobs. Hey help you pry parts, install or remove screws, and a whole lot of tasks. These tools come in different sizes and head designs. There are plastic and wooden handles, long and short handles, and many other variations. But the most important aspect when choosing screwdrivers is the type of head. Examples include Torx, Phillips, Allen, and Flatheads

Generally, two types of screwdrivers are most useful; the flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers. But it won’t harm to own a set of these basic automotive tools. Buying a set is cheaper anyway. If you do not, consider including the Torx head screwdriver in your list. It’s helpful in a variety of repair and maintenance tasks. Ensure that you choose a handle that offers a firm grip, such as rubber, and a tempered steel head with anticorrosion coating.

different types of pliers

4. Pliers

These had to make it to the list of must have automotive tools, and for many reasons. They are useful in a variety of tasks including cutting and bending wire ends and removing parts such as snap rings. Pliers exist in many different types and designs such as slip joint, locking, needle nose, wire strippers, and hose clamp pliers. You may not use them all but there are essential ones that you need in your toolbox.

Must have pliers include needle nose and slip joint. The locking (vice grips) pliers are also a pretty useful and necessary tool in your collection. Again, be sure to select pliers that use tempered steel and are coated to prevent corrosion. These will be strong and long lasting. Ensure, too, that the handle covers are tight and provide a firm grip.

oil filter wrench, one of the must have automotive tools

5. Oil Filter Wrench

The oil filter is one of the car parts that require frequent removal and mounting. To make that easy, have with you an automotive tool called oil filter wrench. The tool comes in different styles. Common types include metal band, socket (end cap), strap, chain loop, spider, and pliers. Because oil filters come in different sizes, it’s recommended to own several oil filter wrenches.

Many people find the metal band oil filter tool more usable (check out video). This type features a metal band that goes around the oil filter. To handle different vehicles, buy several types of these tools, including those that fit the top of the filter assembly like a socket. It’s advisable to start with a medium size first if budget is a constraint.

punches and chisel set

6. Punches and Chisel Set

These are among the must have automotive tools and for a good reason. Punches help with removing or positioning components such as bearings, while chisels help to loosen fasteners and pry parts. They are usually grouped by the shape of the tip and include center, prick, pin, drift, starting, and aligning punches. Chisels for automotive use include flat style, rivet type, round nose, and cape.

Punches and chisels come as single pieces or kits. Always prefer a kit over singles. You will have an assortment of tools for different tasks. A kit is also cheaper and more economical to purchase in the long run. Only ensure quality material and trusted brand or these tools will blunt, flare, or break too soon.

a hammer to help you bust parts

7. Hammers

Many car repair tasks require hitting parts to remove or position them. These include brake removal, ball joint removal, and other jobs. A hammer is one of the most used automotive tools in such situations. These tools come in a variety of choices. It’s advisable to have two versions, the traditional type, and the dead blow hammer. A dead blow hammer prevents you from damaging parts and is useful for delicate repair jobs.

a torque wrench, one of the most used automotive tools

8. Torque Wrench

Although costly, a torque wrench is one of the must have automotive tools and useful with ensuring correct tightening of fasteners. It’s usually a socket wrench on one end and a long handle that contains a torque measuring device. Torque wrenches are different designs and the torque device can be manual or digital. They are mostly used when installing parts or bolts that require a precise amount of torque. Examples are cylinder heads, brakes, and crankshafts. The digital type shown in the image above is one of the most popular types.

a set of pry bars

9. Pry Bars

These are simple automotive tools used to remove parts such as brakes, wheel caps, and even ball joints. They come in the form of a metal bar with a flat and often curved end. Pry bars are usually made in sizes and lengths. The shorter ones are more useful and fit a wide range of applications. Combine them with long ones. They will make most car repair tasks easy.

breaker makes loosening stuck nuts easier

10. Breaker Bar

This tool is a socket wrench on a long handle. Mechanics use it to loosen stubborn or stuck nuts and bolts. The long handle provides the leverage to exert a high amount of torque without having to use a log of effort. It also allows you to work on bolts that are located in remote spaces where a regular wrench cannnot reach. Breaker bars are made in different sizes, the standard length being 24 inches as shown in the image above.

type of tire inflator with gauge

11. Tire Inflator and Gauge

Tire pressure is an important aspect when it comes to fixing or maintaining cars. A tire pressure inflator helps you ensure no flat tire while a tire pressure gauge ensures the correct tire pressure. You need these in your garage or your automotive tools list is not complete. Some types of tire inflators feature a pressure gauge while others are digital and easier to use. Ensure that you buy a quality one. That’s because incorrect tire pressure may lead to trouble codes and light in some cars.

test lights

12. Test Light

A test light is one of the basic automotive tools that you should own. It allows you to quickly check circuits and components for the presence of voltage as shown in this video. Although test lights perform the same job as a multimeter, it’s a lot easier to use. It can also test both negative and positive terminals at the same time since polarity does not matter. However, it won’t measure voltage or amperage values and you will still need to combine it with a good multimeter.

digital multimeter, one of the most useful diagnostic automotive tools

13. Multimeter

A multimeter is one of the most versatile types of automotive tools. It helps you measure various parameters such as circuit resistance, current, voltage, and even capacitance. They are most needed when diagnosing failed electric circuits or components in a vehicle. The tools are sold in many different brands and designs, including analog and digital versions. Digital multimeters are easier to read and more useful. Choose these and a reputable manufacturer of brands.

example of funnel for automotive use

14. Funnels

It’s inevitable that you will need to pour oil, coolant, and other types of car fluids. Always have funnels ready for such tasks. They are simple automotive tools, cheap and easy to use. Funnels help you add liquids safely so you can avoid spills that waste fluids or lead to unsightly messes. They also help you direct dangerous liquids safely and are available as different types and sizes. Choose those that fit specific tasks and stock them in your garage. You could also opt to only own two: a long and short one for the different fluids.

type of oil drain pan

15. Drain Pans

Car repair and maintenance includes changing the ne, transmission, and gear oil or any other fluid from different parts. A drain pan offers a convenient way to catch this oil. The pans exist as metal or plastic types. Because of the corrosive action of some fluids, choose plastic pans. Ensure that it’s the heavy duty type. Buy a sizeable type too, about three gallons capacity, and with firm-grip handles. Better still, have more than one drain pan.

jack and jack stands, essential automotive tools

16. Jack and Jack stands

Jacks elevate a car or truck to enable repairs such as changing brakes and inspecting the gas tank, which makes them one of the most used automotive tools. Vehicles usually come with several tools including a jack, but if you’re going to buy one, there are a few factors to consider. One is the type of jack. There are several variations, such as hydraulic, air-activated, and the popular screw operated scissor type.

A simple floor jack is all you need for small cars and a heavy-duty type for trucks. Some types of car jacks incorporate jack stands. If yours does not, consider obtaining them. Jack stands make working under the car safe should the jack fail. They are usually sold in twos. However, some maintenance tasks require more than two stands. Consider having several.

wheel chocks to help stop vehicle from rolling during repair

17. Wheel Chocks

These are wedge shaped pieces placed against the wheels during repair sessions and among automotive tools that you need in your garage. They help prevent the car from moving accidentally and provide extra safety in addition to using parking brakes. Wheel chocks are available in a broad range of shapes, sizes, and other design features. Choose a size that matches your car tires, or have several sizes for different vehicles. Select also, those that off a better grip of the ground such as rubber types.

rechargeable flashlight for auto repair use

18. Flashlight

There are several reasons why a flashlight is one of the must-have automotive tools. Many auto repair and maintenance tasks involve working on parts located in poorly lit areas. Without a source of light, you cannot get the job done. Choose a flashlight that’s strong enough to light up dark spaces but comfortable to hold in the hand or hang somewhere. LED types are popular with many car repair enthusiast. You could also consider a headlamp- the kind that you strap around your head.

safety glasses

19. Safety Gear

This includes safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris or chemicals and hand gloves to keep your hands safe from sharp things, heat, and corrosive chemicals. Mechanic gloves can be disposable or non-disposable types. It’s advisable to have both. Use the disposable types for light tasks. However, avoid latex gloves and instead choose the nitrile types. Non-disposable gloves are usually heavy duty- thick and made from fabric and Kevlar. Besides gloves and glasses, ensure that you have a fire extinguisher to take care of small fires.


Building your auto tools collection requires a careful approach and depends on what’s essential for your situation. Use the list in this chapter to start you off. Depending on your specific requirements, you can add other tools not included, especially if a beginner mechanic, these include professional tools that make tasks easier. In a nutshell, the best list for you is one that contains the must have automotive tools explained here and additional types based on your needs.

Chapter 3: How Buy Automotive Tools, Tips to Buy Automotive Tools online

a mechanics collection of automotive tools

When planning to buy automotive tools, several factors will come into play to influence your decisions. Some types of automotive tools cost insane amounts, while others are rarely used. Tools also differ in terms of quality depending on material and brand among other reasons. It’s important, therefore, that your decisions are well informed, as this section will explain. Use the tips to find the best automotive tools that fit your specific requirements and budget.

How to Buy Automotive Tools

Before setting out to buy automotive tools, it’s advisable to take a careful evaluation of your situation. You do not want to end up purchasing a tool that you will hardly use, for example, or one that hurts your finances. There are also inferior products on the market that you do not want to fall for. Use these tips to choose your auto repair tools.

Identify your Needs

Start by identifying your needs for automotive tools. This will depend on whether you’re a DIY-er planning to do minor repairs, or a mechanic looking for professional tools. A small car owner, for example, has no business investing in a heavy-duty jack designed for trucks. Likewise, the best automotive tools for beginners are just that, and only if you’re just starting out. Ensure that your list includes what you will need. The list in the previous chapter will make a good starting point.

Go for best Quality

The best quality automotive tool is one that you can rely on to perform its functions. It’s also a tool that will last a long time. But finding quality tools is usually the difficult part of the buying process. So what can you do? We suggest the use of known pointers. These include price, brand, and material. Although not always, it’s safer to avoid buying extremely cheap tools. Avoid brand with tainted reputations, too. Always go for those made from sturdy materials such as tempered steel where applicable and protective coating or are plating to make them resistant to corrosion.

Consider Your Budget

Some tools such as automotive tool sets cost $1000 and higher. These are often out the budget range of many car owners. Some perform functions that can be served by other tools, only that they make things easier. If working on a tight budget, make a list of the essential but expensive tools. This will help you avoid unnecessary expenses. If you’re just starting to build your auto repair tools collection, start with the must have list explained in the previous chapter. Later, add the costly tools when appropriate, or when you can afford to do so.

Choose the Best Brand

There are many automotive tools brands around, some offering high quality and others not so quality. Be sure to do your homework before committing yourself to purchase from a particular manufacturer. That includes researching online and visiting the manufacturer’s website. This will help you make the best decisions based on solid evidence. Some brands are popular than others, but not necessarily better. Always check different factors before making your decision. That includes tool features and customer reviews.

buying automotive tools online offers many advantages

How to Buy Automotive Tools Online, useful Tips

According to research, many buying processes and decisions today happen online. There are many advantages to that such as hassle-free shopping, the rtunity to compare prices, and attractive deals. The auto industry is no exception. If planning to buy automotive tools online, these tips below will help you ensure you do everything right.

  • Know where to buy automotive tools- there are many options. Best choices include manufacturer and supplier websites. There are also specialized online stores that deal with auto parts and tools.
  • Only buy from secure sites- look for safe sites. These will usually have the icon of a padlock in their URLs to show the use of SSL or Secure Sockets Layer certificate.
  • Scout for deals- one of the advantages of buying your auto tools online is the opportunity to check different seller prices. You can also search for discounts from different sellers. If buying on bulk, look out for automotive tools wholesale suppliers.
  • Read company policy- you want to be sure about what to expect during the period when you place your order and when you receive your tools. All that is contained in the seller’s policy section.
  • Use secure payment methods- every automotive tool shop online has its own payment methods. Be sure to use a safe method. Popular ones include PayPal, credit cards, and
rusted automotive tool, one of the signs of improver care

Automotive Tools Maintenance

Automotive tools are costly products and a big investment. After you have purchased them and built your collection, the next thing to worry about is how to keep them in good condition. Well-maintained tools are safe and easy to use, plus they will last a long time. Below are rules to help you maintain your auto repair tools, both hand and power tools.

1. Only use a tool for its intended purpose. Wrong use is often the reason for cracked, broken, or bent tools. Wrong use can also lead to accidents.

2. Always clean tools after use and when they have been lying idle for long. Dirt and grime can take a toll on them, more so power tools. Be sure to disconnect electric tools before cleaning them and use a safe cleaner.

3. Regularly lubricate automotive tools and equipment that use moving parts such as drills and impact wrenches. This will help reduce the wear caused by friction and make them last longer.

4. Oil tools with metal parts using all-purpose oil. There’s always the possibility of them coming into contact with moisture and developing rust.

5. Keep checking tools for defects such as loose handles, broken parts, and other flaws and replace them if necessary.

6. Ensure proper storage. Avoid storing your auto tools in damp conditions, especially those with metal parts to prevent rusting or corrosion. Avoid dusty conditions too. You can invest in a good quality toolbox or pegboards. Other storage places include bags, drawers, and shelves.


The tools to repair or maintain motor vehicles are available in different types and versions. Different prices too, and levels of quality. These differences make the process to obtain your auto repair tools critically. Whether looking to buy automotive tools online or at a physical store, there are useful factors that will help you make the right decisions. These are explained in this article. Use them to find tools that you need as a do-it-yourself enthusiast or technician.

The Ultimate Automotive Tools Guide Conclusion

There are many different types of automotive tools out there. When looking to build a collection of tools, you want to have an idea of what to include and what not to. That means knowing what the best tools for beginners are. And if adding tools to an existing collection, what you need,and what you can do without. This guide is meant to help you make that important decision. It also provides you with useful shopping tips, including tips on how to conveniently buy automotive tools online.

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