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Proper tools for a first time car buyer

senriksenrik Member Posts: 1
I am thinking about buying my first car in about a year or so, What do people here think are the tools that a person should need?
Before you ask, I am an average mechanically inclined adult. At home I take care of plumbing, electronics and most minor fixits.
anyone?

Comments

  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    To tell the dealer to repair it under warranty.


    Click type 3/8 torque wrench for the oil drain plug, "Blitz" oil dran pan-Round-15 qt.(gotta have)


    63250 or 63600 filter removal wrench (gotta have)


    http://www.lislecorp.com/tools/catalog/filters/index.htm

    Takes a while for pictures to load.


    3/8 drive english/metric set.

    Maybe a 1/2 inch breaker bar and deep well socket for wheel removal. Always have this puppy in car.


    I'm sure there's more-depends how serious you get. Under warranty not too serious.(see telephone above)

  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    Basic necessitites;
    spare fuses
    flares or triangles
    first aid kit
    fire extinguisher
    as was said, 3/8" socket set and 1/2" breaker bar and sockets
    vise grips
    channel locks
    phillips and standard screwdrivers
    wire cutters and small wire terminal kit
    electricians tape
    small roll of tie wire(mechanic's wire, bailing wire, whatever you want to call it)
    flashlight
    yeah, a cell phone is handy too.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    And don't buy sockets that are TOO cheap...cheap tools can injure you (you can easily split a cheap socket with a 1/2" breaker car, and that's gonna hurt when you're standing on it).

    Some AdditionsModifications to the Excellent Lists Above:

    rags
    handi-wipes
    flashlight you can hold in your mouth
    tie wire (for when stuff falls or is knocked off off, a temporarily fix)
    simple test light
    TWO pair of vise-grips, one big one smaller.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Really, I doubt if the price of the tools would be worth it. On today's cars, there is little you can do yourself. The days of changing plugs and points are long gone.

    I guess, it's a good idea to carry flares, first aid kit and some of the items mentioned in previous posts. I don't but it's no doubt a good idea.

    I used to carry a box packed with some of the items mentioned but NEVER used any if it.

    That is...after I got rid of my last MG !
  • lokkilokki Member Posts: 1,200
    I think that the money you'd spend on tools would be better spent on a cell phone subscription and an AAA membership.... seriously.

    The tools you need for putting on the space saver spare in in the trunk - IF the wheel that now has the flat wasn't put on with a torque wrench in whic case you won't be able to get it off anyhow.

    Some people still do their own oil changes, but generally speaking, unless you love that sort of thing, it's not worth the trouble. Avoid Jiffy Lube, et al, and you will do just fine with a shop changing your oil.

    Have them check the water level in your battery while they're at it.

    Oh - there is one tool you SHOULD have. An electronic tire pressure gauge. The ones at gas stations aren't very accurate, and you do need to check your tire pressures whenever the weather goes up or down 30 degrees or so.

    This may sound silly, but I'm quite serious. There is very little an average guy should bother with on a car except for tire pressures.
  • ryanbabryanbab Member Posts: 7,240
    what i keep in my truck

    tow strap
    mag flashlight
    1/2 breaker bar with a 7/8" socket (wheels)
    76 piece mechanics set (std and metric 1/4,3/8,1/2)
    towels/blanket
    bungee cords
    knife
    plyers (gerber multifunction tool)
    gloves
  • jeberjeber Member Posts: 91
    One of those "zip-pouch" cases with a good assortment of wrenches, screwdrivers, etc. is pretty handy and compact. Mine also has elec. tape, a razor/knife, pliers....

    As noted above, though, don't get one of those really cheap, made in taiwan/china, sets. Most of those are TERRIBLE. I've broken wrenches, sockets, etc., where I actually couldn't believe it was physically possible to make steel that soft!
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    isellhondas: "the days of changing the sparkplugs are gone?" Really? If you have a 4 cyl car, you should be able to change the plugs very easily.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I was serious about having tools not for repairs per se but to screw back things that fall off. It happens more than I care to think about these days.

    But it's true, there's not much the average owner can do anymore, and this will only get worse. The technical goal seems to be the completely sealed, maintenance free, disposable and recyclable car. Like TV sets.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    I agree, but how often do you need to change them?

    30,000 miles?

    100,000 miles with the platinum plugs?

    Not like the old days !
  • johnnyxxljohnnyxxl Member Posts: 5
    I have a set of standerd and metric sockets 1/2, and 3/4 inch sockets,
    1/2 inch breaker bar with a small set of impact sockets for my wheels, I use the impact they are heavier and shouldnt break, I have broken regular sockets taking wheels off my old truck which spent some time in NY
    fuses, and oil, flares, for road side fixing along with a small roll of bailing wire and a army blanket to slide on while under the truck.
    screw drivers and wrenches
    I have a 98 ranger and have done the folowing on it myself no help
    rotate tires, change plugs, and plug wires, replaced the alternator, replaced the upper and lower radiator hoses
    I am not a mechanic just a shade tree mechanic the above was done because I bought the truck used and all except the alt was prevenitave maintance the brakes were checked and are ok would have changed them if they looked worn badly
    I buy my tools from pawn shops because you can find good ones really inexpensively if you know the names to buy such as snap-on craftsman thorson and I cant remember the other one thats big for pro mechanics those are the brands to stick with made here in the states all of them I believe and are good steel only have broken one craftsman socket in the 7 years I have really done work myself
    pulling the wheel studs on an old van using a breaker with a 18 inch cheater not sure how I broke that hmm
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    of pro tools are Proto and Mac Tools. I have also had good luck with Stanley screwdrivers (the tulip-gripped ones similar to Craftsman), and of course the infamous Peterson Vise-Grips, now merged into somebody else. impact sockets are great, but there are occasional spots where I have had to use thin-wall sockets.

    also, a can of compressed air... or at least a length of hose... is very useful to blow sand and grit off engines, manifolds, etc. before cranking off engine externals. you don't want that rough slop inside, so blow it off first.

    if you are determined to fix it all on the road, you also want some hi-temp red or grey silicone gasket, some gasket sheet, #2 Permatex sealer... and bang down a piece of type M copper tubine (1/2 or 3/4 inch) with a hammer to make a scraper for old gasket slop. you don't want to use anything as strong as steel, because that will wreck the planing of the mating parts. copper scrapers are the way to go.
  • mastermechanicmastermechanic Member Posts: 31
    I just overhauled my 1993 Chev Lumina APV. Set the vehicle on jack stands. Unbolted the undercarriage's four bolts, brake lines, disconnect the quick disconnect fuel lines, the wiring harness from the engine to the body on both sides, and the other little things one must disconnect. Raised the body using an engine hoist, image

    Put a 2 by 10 on top of a floor jack and under the subframe (before I removed the four bolts mentioned above). Lowered the engine slowly watching for anything that I missed. Wheeled the undercarriage with engine and trans from under the body. Lowered the body back on to the jack stands. Unbolted the engine from the chassis and raised the engine from the chassis and mounted the engine on to an engine stand.Overhauled the engine.


    Any tools that I needed and didn't have were rented through Murray's Auto Parts. Go pay full price for the item, keep it as long as you want. When done, return it for a full refund.


    With computers, engines are easy to work on.


    image


  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Yep, everybody ought to have their own cherry picker.

    Buy your tools, use them and then return them taking advantage of some store's liberal (and dumb) return policy.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    MaasterMechanic---thanks for your posts but please take your garage sale link out or I'll have to delete all your posts for "soliciting", which is not allowed here at Town Hall.

    thank you,

    Mr. Shiftright the Host
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Just slip a set of plugs and wires into an Aerostar, a cam sensor (remove harmonic balancer first) or serpentine belt (remove right engine mount first) in a newer GM 3800, a heater hose/tube assembly in a Cavalier/Beretta/Sunbird or any of a thousand other service items I've run into, then tell me all about how much easier modern cars are to service.
  • mastermechanicmastermechanic Member Posts: 31
    "#15 of 17 Good advise... by isellhondas Sep 05, 2001 (06:22 pm)
    Yep, everybody ought to have their own cherry picker.

    Buy your tools, use them and then return them taking advantage of some store's liberal (and dumb) return policy. "

    They have rent places where one can rent a cherry picker. Just prepare your engine for removal, go rent the picker, pull the motor and set it where you want, return the picker as soon as possible.
    Obviously you are one who does that kind of business, because Murray's practices this kind of business to promote their sales. If people like you wouldn't try to rip people off in auto repairs, maybe the do-it-yourselfer would go go the repair shop. I remember Jackshaw Pontiac trying to boost the price of a power steering pump replacement just because the car has a computer in it. The argument was that in order to replace the power steering pump, they, "Have to re calibrate the 'EPROM' chip." The only relation that the computer has to the PS is the pressure signal sensor on the line. By the way, I and others complained to Pontiac and as a result, Jack Shaw Pontiac is no longer there. That location is now a Mueller Tire place.

    I think that it is great that as automobile technology becomes sophisticated, that the tools needed to repair the vehicle are available to the consumer at "NO CHARGE." For someone who is concerned about loss of business, house come you sell foreign cars, and not American?
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    Ha ha, Mastermechanic,
    Boy are you in for a rude awakening. Right now, there is a house bill that is trying to get passed to protect the consumer's rights to the information, let alone the tools, to repair their vehicles.
    Should this bill fail, the information available to repair newer vehicles will only be available to dealers. You will have no choice what-so-ever, but to have your vehicle serviced at a dealer.

    The house bill is HR 2735 IH
    Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act of 2001 (Introduced in the House)
    And if you think that it WILL pass (which will protect independant mechanics and consumers), think again, cause the OEM manufacturer's will be fighting the passing of this bill tooth and nail.
    Especially Honda, since they pulled thier information to the consumers for new models.
  • mastermechanicmastermechanic Member Posts: 31
    "Ha ha, Mastermechanic,
    Boy are you in for a rude awakening. Right now, there is a house bill that is trying to get passed to protect the consumer's rights to the information, let alone the tools, to repair their vehicles.
    Should this bill fail, the information available to repair newer vehicles will only be available to dealers. You will have no choice what-so-ever, but to have your vehicle serviced at a dealer.

    The house bill is HR 2735 IH
    Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act of 2001 (Introduced in the House)
    And if you think that it WILL pass (which will protect independant mechanics and consumers), think again, cause the OEM manufacturer's will be fighting the passing of this bill tooth and nail.
    Especially Honda, since they pulled thier information to the consumers for new models. "

    It dosen't take a whole lot of common sense to figure out what kind of tool one needs to fix something. I have also repaired almost everything by using the simplest of tools. I have found that auto manuals will specify "tools needed" for a specific repair. I have done with out these. A little common sense is what is needed. For example, on the front crank shaft sensor, the manual specifies that a sensor alignment tool is needed to reinstall the sensor. I had no problem using common sense and visual inspection to align it. It wasn't like my tolerances were five places to the right of the decimal place. There is another tool called a front seal installation tool. I tapped mine in with no problem. The hell with Honda. I buy strictly American, eg. Chevrolet. If you think car companies are hurting now, wait until the owners of their products cannot fix em. "Never buy taht POS again. Can't work on em." Besides, I have a series of dealer contacts who have helped me with this information. It's a buyers market out there, and if they want my money, they will give me what I want. Welcome to America.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    But you see, not everyone is gonna be able to have contacts. So, who is gonna suffer?

    And, then there are some procedures that are changed, because of updates and such, if not done right, will create the problem again, independant mechanics and even consumers need to be able to obtain that information and alot of everyday folks get very little cooperation from some of their dealers.
  • mastermechanicmastermechanic Member Posts: 31
    Contacts are not the only requirement to getting parts. After market auto stores are not just going to stand by and let their business go down the tubes. As in the past with the new innovations to vehicles, these parts stores have adjusted by meeting the needs of the consumer. Actron, which is based here in Cleveland, Ohio, offers a scan tool for both the OBD II and non-OBD two vehciles. These scan tools can be rented at Murray's at no-charge. I believe that the dealer tech scan is hard to find and goes for some $1500 with out the module. This is American free enterprise, which has been going on for years. I believe that as vehicles become more sophisicated, the ease to repair them will too.
    The only way that the consumer will not be able to repair their vehicle will be the day that auto manufactures produce the disposable vehcile.

    we are not too far from that. I was in a GM dealer the other day, and if your vehicle is under warranty when the motor goes, they replace the entire pack with a target motor as an alternative to the mechanic repairing it. I'm told that this resulted in a reduction in auto technician work force for some dealers.

    The manufacture is going to look out for the customer. If the manufacture wants the customer business, then the customer is going to want to be able to select where and who fixes his vehicle. This is what competition is all about.
    I won't buy a foreighn vehcile because the parts are too expensive. I certaintly won't purchase one if I cannot fix it. besides, people who take their vehicle to a dealer, usually do so under warranty. When the warranty expires, they trade it in for a new vehicle. These are people in the 40K+ bracket and who don't want to be bothered.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    Maybe I've missed it but shouldn't a torque wrench be on the tool list? Nothing is more important than having the wheel lug nuts torqued to the right specification. A flat wheel is inevitable and if you don't want warped rotors you need to torque all lug nuts correctly when you change that flat. I use a beam deflection torque wrench which cost me $10 and does it a fine job. Also, I wouldn't trust those people who put new tires on your car on getting the torque settings right. As soon as you can, check the torque yourself with your handy torque wrench.

    I would never leave plugs untouched in an aluminum head for longer than 20,000 miles let alone 100,000 miles. They tend to freeze to the aluminum and you can strip the head when you do eventually take them out. Take them out at 20k, check them and put anti-seize compound on the threads before you torque them up correctly. Usually a very low level. Check it out for your model car. New plugs will have the torque settings usually printed on the package.
  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Member Posts: 227
    I would agree. The torque wrench is one of the first items I bought. I tend to use it less on standard jobs as I've gotten used to "what a certain torque feels like" with a specific tool.

    However, plugs in an aluminum head would be a perfect example. There is an almost natural tendency to overtighten plugs.
    Yet some manufacturers require/recommend specific tools for pulling/tightening the plugs in the aluminum header anyhow.

    But I don't think that it is that critical for wheels. Unless you are pretty strong, use power/air equipment or a breaker bar to tighten your lug nuts, you'd have to be quite an idiot to really overtighten them.
    That said, I use the torque wrench on my wheels. But I might be a little anal in that respect.

    The torque wrench is far more critical, from my point of view, when trying to tighten multiple fasteners against a flat seal. This could be a valve cover or an oil drain pan. You overtighten one fastener and you're "screwed". ;)
  • mastermechanicmastermechanic Member Posts: 31
    I never torque spark plugs for that very reason of stripping them. All you need is a firm hand tighten. If you use a 1/2-inch drive ratchet, lightly apply a small amount of pressure. All you need them in there is enough to seal and not work lose.
    It is not like head bolts, which require a torque.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    My main reason for using a torque wrench on my wheels is to get all lug nuts torqued up the same amount. I had an experience on my car once when I developed brake pulsation. I thought my rotors were warped but found out the lug nuts were unevenly torqued. My $10 torque wrench fixed that up. If the condition is left you will in time have a permanent warp in the rotors.

    I'm very touchy about spark plugs in an aluminum head and can't warn people enough about it. I bought an 87 used Honda Prelude once. The car ran well enough but when I went to change the plugs the #4 cylinder plug was so tight I eventually broke it off when I tried to take it out. It was obvious the plugs had never been changed in 100k miles. Well it cost me all the effort to take the head off and have it repaired at a shop. So now I just remove the plugs every 20k or so and coat the threads with anti-seize compound. I also learnt never to take a plug out when the engine is still hot - it can also seize. The engine was cold on the Honda though.
  • ryanbabryanbab Member Posts: 7,240
    $10 torque wrench?

    WOW

    I have been looking at some and they are $70-$80

    I said F that and just ask my dad to bring his home from work when i need it
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    Yeah, $10! It's one of those beam deflection types. They are one of the simplest kinds but they give the most consistent readings. Made in Taiwan. It might not be too accurate but near enough (I checked it against a $120 one) and, it's ok for giving equal torque to lug nuts. It goes from 5 to 150ft/lbs. I bought it at the local auto-parts store. Just get a good socket for your lug nuts though.
  • mastermechanicmastermechanic Member Posts: 31
    I have one of those that gives a click when it reaches the desired torque. I won't have one with a battery. The battery will go bad in the middle of a torque and I'll snap the dam bolt.
  • accord_loveraccord_lover Member Posts: 27
    I think a AAA membership is mandatory with a cell phone. Flares, a flashlight and a first aid kit are also needed.
  • ryanbabryanbab Member Posts: 7,240
    "Just get a good socket for your lug nuts though"

    All craftsman.

    have a breakerbar with a 7/8" socket for my rims.

    Just picked up a 76 piece mechanics set (std and metric) for $49.99 (reg $69.99) a few wks ago. Already has come in use. I had a std set which cost $39 but needed metric because most of everything on my truck is metric. Was gonna buy a metric set for $39 also but seen this for $10 more plus it has 2 more ratchets

    I needed to buy all this cause everytime i need a socket it seems my dad took his to work. Sucks when you get ready to change your oil and you dont have a 15mm socket. Or once when i was gonna tighten my torsion bar bolts (raise front end) and i didnt have an 18mm socket.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Actually with a torque wrench behind it, you probably want an impact wrench socket, not a normal one from your toolbox. You can break ordinary sockets, even Snap Ons.
  • mastermechanicmastermechanic Member Posts: 31
    "Actually with a torque wrench behind it, you probably want an impact wrench socket, not a normal one from your toolbox. You can break ordinary sockets, even Snap Ons. "

    RESPONSE: I have found that the thickness of the impacts will not allow one to access to some bolts, such as the head bolts under the valve pan cover. I ran into that on some earlier models, e.g., pre 1980.

    "I needed to buy all this cause everytime i need a socket it seems my dad took his to work. Sucks when you get ready to change your oil and you dont have a 15mm socket. Or once when i was gonna tighten my torsion bar bolts (raise front end) and i didnt have an 18mm socket"

    Response: a 19/32 english socket will work as well, but I have two 15mm sockets: both impact, but one DW and one a shorty. After the set, I but my sockets as needed.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yes, you're right, an air wrench socket might be too thick for some cars. But you can try it at least. A torque wrench is a pretty good "cheater bar" and you can put tremendous force ona lug nut or socket if you are strong enough.
  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    A good grade socket should be more than adequate for a torque wrench. The drive size (3/8, 1/2, 3/4, 1" is designed for limited values of torque vs the size of the bolt/nut. The Torque wrench is also designed with that in mind. A 1/2" drive is good for about 300 ft lbs. as I recall. After that you need to go to 3/4" drive. In my career of 30 years as maintenance foreman. I have never seen one socket fail with a torque wrench of the proper size drive. I've seen sockets fail when they were cut down for radial clearance or with cheaters or with impactors. Crows feet on the other hand are dangerous. Naturally impact sockets need to be used with manual or power impactors. Key again is right tool for the right job (too bad we don't always have that luxury!!!)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Not really meant for the serious professional.. not bad for the DIY guys.

    You won't see many Craftsman tools in the boxes of professionals. Still, Sears sells a couple of different quality (and price) levels. Their top of the line stuff is pretty decent.

    On the prepackaged sets, Sears likes to use 12 point sockets instead of 6 points that work better.
  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,211
    Six point sockets are cheaper to make. Twelve point sockets are more "professional." The sixers are only needed for terribly worn fasteners. Only well made sockets can go twelve point, due to pressure/stress. If you ever hurt one that says Craftsman on it, you'll get a free one to replace it, no questions asked. Try that with SnapOn. They'll likely say you misused the socket, and kiss you off. I'm not just speculating here, in case you are wondering.
  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    For once I agree with you. Also you'll see a lot of Craftsman out in General Industry (not professional motorheads)-used by professsionals
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Sorry but you are incorrect. Six point sockets are NOT cheaper to make for one thing!

    Twelve point sockets are rarely used by professionals unless it's a special application.

    Trust me on this one...
  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,211
    You're talking about working on Hondas, I guess. (:^<
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    I guess I'm relating my FIRST HAND experience after spending over 20 years in the tool business.
  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,211
    Then it's anybody's guess! (;^>
    With 20 years in the tool business, I'm sure you could tell us all a lot. I hope you do. I have been an active user of automotive hand tools since my childhood. I have done many extensive repair jobs at home that most people would never attempt. My father was my earliest instructor. I was learning to overhaul engines before I was old enough to get a drivers license. My comments in this thread are based on my life experiences pursuing this avocation of rebuilding automobiles and motorcycles, and the ramifications of those activities. Perhaps my opinions have some value, as well. I'll say that I spend less time in the garage these days than in the past. Obviously, I have time away from the grease to type on this keyboard!
  • oldharryoldharry Member Posts: 413
    Well I have been and still am a professional mechanic, and over four decades I've learned to use six point sockets whenever possible. The small sizes especially will strip the corners of the nuts/bolts if there is any reduction in size from rust. Hard bolts, grade eight up, slightly rusted to a little less sharp on the corners will break the twelve point socket far more often than a six point. It seems that not knowing this in my youth resulted in several trip to the ER for stiches in my hands. An X-ray about fifteen years ago for a different problem showed four socket parts, plus five other pieces of metal in my left hand.

    Use the six point.

    Harry
  • tomj5tomj5 Member Posts: 209
    As you can see from the excellent discussions tool kits are very complicated. The best kit for modern cars is as follows:

    1. A credit Card

    2. Cell Phone

    3. A trusted repair shop. (forget dealers)
This discussion has been closed.