4 Tips to Pick the Perfect Hand Tools for DIY Car Repairs
There is no doubt that doing your car servicing and repairs can save you a ton of money, but to work on modern cars without damaging anything else, you need good quality hand tools. Modern engine compartments are getting more crowded every year, and you could easily damage something, like an expensive electronic component (or your fingers) when a badly fitting tool slips off a fastener.
So how do professional mechanics avoid these problems? Read on for some tips from professional mechanics on how to buy the perfect hand tools for car repairs.
Only buy what you need
Unlike professional mechanics, you don’t need truckloads of tools if you are only going to be working on your own car, and buying full sets of wrenches, screwdrivers, and sockets is an easy mistake to make.
Full sets of anything are expensive, and you will eventually end up with many tools you never use on your car. The first thing to buy is a good repair manual since the explanations of repair procedures are usually accompanied by a list of tools you need for that particular job. Go through the entire manual, and compile a list of everything you need to tackle the jobs you feel confident of performing successfully.
Next, make sure there are no duplicated items on the tool list, but resist the temptation to rush out and get everything on your list from the nearest hardware store, for reasons we will explain next.
Only buy tools from the experts
Almost all tool manufacturers offer their product as individual items, but it is unlikely you will find individual items at your local hardware store. However, before you buy anything elsewhere, take some time to consult with the repair shops in your area. Professional mechanics earn their living with their tools, so they are the best-qualified people to ask about which brands of tools are the best.
When you consult with the local mechanics, you will no doubt notice that none of them uses Unbranded tools. There is a reason for that; Unbranded tools are often, if not always, badly designed, and are prone to breakages and failures. Moreover, Unbranded tools are often not made to conform to any accepted engineering and quality standards, so you might find that the new, shiny sockets you just bought don’t fit into confined spaces in your engine because their outside diameters are a fraction of an inch too big.
Bear in mind that engines are assembled in the factory with standard tools, so the clearances around fasteners are designed to accept all standard, but branded tools.The only places where you will find tools of this standard are some of the bigger auto parts stores, or dedicated tool merchants that carry tools that are guaranteed to conform to accepted engineering and quality standards.
Buy the best tools available
You may save some money by buying less expensive tools, but this means that you may have to replace items like pliers, ratchet handles, ratchet wrenches, and other items with moveable parts every so often. By buying the best tools available, as opposed to the best you can afford, you only have to buy tools once, since good quality tools will provide a lifetime of reliable service.
However, when you buy tools, make sure the store gives you a lifetime warranty against breakages and failures. Most reputable tool manufacturers offer a no-questions-asked warranty on ratchet handles, extension bars, and sockets, so make sure you get this warranty.
Get calibration certificates
When you buy items like Combination Wrenches, make sure the packaging includes a calibration certificate. This is especially important in the case of torque wrenches since an inaccurate tool can cause major mechanical failures when fasteners are not torqued correctly.
An impact wrench, regardless of whether it is electric or pneumatic is a very handy tool to own, since it can save you a lot of time and trouble undoing stubborn fasteners. However, check the maximum torque stated on the packaging against the calibration certificate to avoid ending up with a tool that is not powerful enough to do what you want it to do, such as removing stubborn CV axle nuts.
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