Essential Tools For Automotive Maintenance

1. Ratchet & Socket Set

You’ll need a full ratchet and socket set to loosen and tighten nuts and bolts. Make sure the set includes a few socket extension bars. A Good Socket set is an investment, as they are required in all kinds of jobs.

In the Automobile segment, there are 3 most widely used types.

1/4″ Sq Drive Socket Set

The Socket set is the most popular across the automobile segment

Usually, it covers the sizes from 4mm to 14mm. Suitable for Low torque Applications / Electronics etc

3/8″ Sq Drive Socket Set

This is most used in the 2 wheeler segments, covering sizes from 6mm to 24mm.

These are also available in Inches sizing, used for Harley Davidson bikes, Indian and older engines or machines from the USA.

1/2″ Sq Drive Socket Set

The most popular and essential tool Set across the industry. Covers a range from 8 – 32, and some sets go upto 36mm.

These are also available in Inches (SAE – American) and Inches (WW – Whitworth) sizes, most for older machines

2. Wrench Set

A staple for any mechanic, a metric wrench set that goes from 6mm up to 32mm will likely become your most used set of tools.

These Come in Different types like

A. Open End Spanner Set – Both Sides are open-ended. A standard set starts at 6 x 7mm and goes up to 30 x 32mm. Larger sizes are also available if required

B. Ring Spanner Set – Both Sides are closed-ended. A standard set starts at 6 x 7mm and goes up to 30 x 32mm. Larger sizes are also available if required

C. Combination Spanner Set – One Side is open-ended the other is closed-ended. Each spanner is a single size. A standard set starts at 6 mm and goes up to 32mm. Larger sizes are also available if required

D. Ratchet Combination Spanner Set – One Side is open-ended the other is closed-ended with a ratcheting mechanism. Each spanner is a single size. A standard set starts at 6 mm and goes up to 19mm. Larger sizes are also available if required

3. Torque Wrench

A torque wrench allows you to pre-set the required torque and displays the rising torque level as you crank. Fastening bolts on vehicles without a torque wrench could be a disaster.

You risk shearing a bolt completely off and ending up with unevenly connected parts. The result is every component on your vehicle put together with the correct amount of tension.

These come in Analog and Digital Varieties. The Digital Varieties also come with many sensors for accurate torquing as well as for angle, and may feature data output as well

4. Hammer

Although there are many different types of hammers, Automotive mechanics should have at least a couple hammers on hand. 

Options include:

  • Dead Blow Mallet – Bolts can often become stuck which is why you’ll need a dead blow mallet on standby just in case.
  • Ball Peen Hammer – If you need to perform precision automotive bodywork such as removing dents, a ball peen hammer is a must.
  • Body Mechanic Hammer – Used by alongside a curved anvil known as a dolly to remove dents from car panels.
  • Nylon/Plastic Mallet – These hammers are good for hammering objects with a greater force than a mallet without damaging the object the way a solid metal hammer would. Additionally, the head of the hammer tends to be much smaller making them more ideal for precision work where a mallet wouldn’t fit.
  • Soft Face Mallet – They are typically lightweight and made from solid wood, rubber, or leather. Due to their lack of weight, they are typically not very good at moving objects a great distance. Instead, they are better suited for seating (nudging) objects together. Likewise, mallets have large blunt faces which make them poor for precise work. Because they land with a relatively soft blow they are also good for driving chisels and cutting tools. 

Of the above – 2 sizes of Ball Peen Hammer / 1 Plastic Mallet are two important pieces of kit for any kit

5. Screwdriver Set

Are there any jobs these days that don’t require the use of a screwdriver? It doesn’t seem like it! Screwdrivers are especially prominent in auto repair jobs, for which you’ll need the following types:

  • Flat head
  • Crosshead head (Philips)
  • Pozidriv
  • Torx
  • Allen
  • Miscellaneous

Skimping on your screwdriver types isn’t advised as you increase the chance of striping the screw. Also, make sure you purchase a variety of sizes for each head type, and different screwdriver lengths for those harder to reach workspaces.

6. Pliers

Many jobs will require the use of pliers. It could be anything from removing small parts to holding onto objects. We recommend you have a few different sizes and possibly a pair of long-nosed pliers as well.

Some of the Types of Pliers

  1. Combination Pliers/ Cutting Pliers
  2. Nose Pliers
  3. Circlip Plier
  4. Wire Cutters / Diagonal Cutters
  5. Vice Grip Pliers
  6. Box / Slip joint Pliers

7. Jack & Jack Stands

A car jack is a must if you plan to work on the underbelly of a vehicle on areas such as the brake pads, tires and gas tank. Car Jacks for Travel – 2 Ton with a case are suggested. For Diy / or a garage nothing less than a 3 Ton jack is good.

However, Car jacks are not designed to hold the vehicle in place while it is being worked on, this is a job for jack stands. You will need a minimum of 2, but if you want the entire vehicle raised from the ground you’ll need 4.

8. Oil / coolant Drain Pan

 Must for changing your own oil, you need to use one of the many drain pans that are available. Not only are engine oil drain pans great for avoiding messy spills in your garage or driveway, but they are also great for transporting used oil to recycling centres.

The best ones come with an anti-splash lip helps ensure all your fluids stay within the drain pan. A spout, which allows you to drain straight from the pan without a funnel.

9. Chisel and Punches

A good Punch and Chisel Set is very useful to have to remove stubborn nuts / rounded or broken screws / busting bolts, chains, and splitting parts

Punches and chisels have been in use for centuries. In fact, next to striking tools they are likely the oldest tools in the history of humanity.

Today hand held punches and chisels are used for removing pins and bushings, and cutting or splitting steel objects.

Some of the various types of punches are

  1. Centre Punch
  2. Hollow Punch
  3. Pin Punch

Some of the various types of chisels are

  1. Flat Chisel / Cold Chisel
  2. Rivet Chisels
  3. Diamond Point
  4. Cape Chisels


10. Wire Strippers / Cutters / crimper


Needed when performing maintenance on a cars electronics system. They are the best way to strip the insulation from wires of almost all sizes. A simple pair of wire cutters is a must-have when working on one of the many electrical projects


Wire crimpers join two pieces of wire back together by deforming them in a way that makes locks them together. This process is known as a crimp.

11. Vacuum Testing and Brake Bleeding Kit & Brake Tester

The set is essential for removal of air in brake fluid lines by removing the air filled fluid under a vacuum. It is suitable for all vehicle types.

The term ‘brake bleeding’ refers to the process by which air bubbles are removed from the brake fluid used in hydraulic braking systems in all vehicles. The same process of bleeding air from the system is also used for purging the system of old brake fluid and replacing with new

This complements an ingenious tool like a brake fluid tester. It is invaluable in the garage workshop for testing the quality of brake fluid. Testing for moisture content in the fluid by resistance to electric current.

12. Tapes

There are many types of tape you need when working on a vehicle. Some of the essential Tapes are :

Electrical tape / Insulation Tape – used when you need to hold something together that will have a current running through it, such as lighting wire

Duct tape / Waterproof Cloth Tape – Used for areas where you require a firmer hold.

Silicone Self Fusing Tape – a non-tacky silicone-rubber tape which when stretched and wrapped around cables, electrical joints, hoses and pipes combines or unites itself into a strong, seamless, rubbery, waterproof, and electrically insulating layer

PTFE Tape / Teflon Tape – Thread seal tape lubricates allowing for a deeper seating of the threads, and it helps prevent the threads from seizing when being unscrewed. The tape also works as a deformable filler and thread lubricant, helping to seal the joint without hardening or making it more difficult to tighten, and instead making it easier to tighten

13. Automotive Stethoscope

mechanics stethoscope

Around the world, people with vehicles making peculiar noises are taking them to a local mechanic wanting to know what the problem is. As a mechanic, diagnosing the issue can be tricky. Inexperienced mechanics may simply guess the issue, fixing random parts in the hope the noises go away. Anyone with experience, however, will be using an automotive stethoscope. They often come with headphones, transmitters and microphone clamps which used together in the vicinity of the noise should determine the root cause of the issue.

14. Pick-up Tools


Extendable magnets can retrieve fumbled screws, nuts, wrenches and other objects you accidentally drop down hard to reach areas.

Some Tools have a flexible shaft to be able to reach in the small crevices where hands or fingers may not be able to reach

Some are non magnetic, for picking up other material by ways of claws 

15. Pry Bar

A good pry bar will prove its worth to you very early on. Whenever anything needs removing, prying or breaking they will be your go-to tool.

Donot make the mistake of using a long handle screwdriver or any other tool for the same job, as it might end up breaking the tool, or damaging the machine, or injuring yourself as well.

16. Tire Pressure Gauge & Inflator

A vast amount of jobs performed by mechanics revolve around working on tires. Throughout a job, you may find yourself adjusting the tire pressure 10 plus times so it is vital you have an accurate pressure reading to work from. Some pressure gauges also feature the ability to inflate the tire at the same time as taking a reading.

You can opt for a Digital or an analog Pressure gauge, or as 12V mini Compressor, that will check and inflate working of the vehicle battery.


17. Circuit Tester

Circuit testers are used to check if an electrical system is wired correctly by checking for a complete electrical pathway between two points. They are crucial when working on cars due to the importance and number of the electrical systems involved in operating a vehicle.

18. Mechanics Creeper / Seat

 Mechanics Creeper is a tool used in the automotive industry. It has a low profile (close to the ground), and a wheeled frame attached to a platform that the user can lie on. Most creepers are used to gain access to the underside of a vehicle in order to perform maintenance or inspection.

Some creepers also double up as a seat to be able to comfortably work on the lower parts of the machine or vehicle

19. Battery Charger

Car batteries can go flat for several reasons. Some possible causes include; old age, leaving the car electronics on without the engine running or extreme temperatures. Battery charges have come along way, not only can will they recharge a dead battery but they can also increase their reliability and longevity.

We are the authorised Distributors for Kennedy / Facom and Elak range of Battery Chargers

20. Booster Cable

To be used to jumpstart a car using another vehicle or spare / recharged battery

21. Cans and Measures

Various cans and measures are available for storing and measuring different fluid types for the vehicle or the machine.

Oil Can – For hydraulic oil for general purpose maintance. Its also a good idea to gently oil the hand tools like spanners /wrenches etc after storing. This leads to long tool life

Petrol / diesel – Stored in Jerry cans, in various capacities. These cans are safe and donot leak and are not affected by the corrosive nature of fuel

22. Funnels

Funnel Set

A standard funnel is a must for pouring the various vehicle fluid types such as windscreen washer fluid, radiator fluid and air conditioning coolant directly into their intended location without making a mess. For filling the transmission fluid, a longer funnel is preferable.

23. Flexible Funnels

Flexible Funnel

When you need to do an in-house oil change, you will need one of these! The flexibility of the funnel allows you to direct the oil exactly where you want it to go.

24. Head Flashlight & General Lighting

It always helps to have some focused light shining directly on the area you are working on. Inexpensive and durable, headlights will allow you to work completely hands-free so you can focus solely on your work.

It can’t hurt to have some extra light illuminating your working environment, especially when working on the smaller scale jobs that demand a steady hand and precise movement.

25. Magnetic Wing Cover

Designed to be used in the workshop to protect car wings when working. Manufactured from heavy-duty vinyl with a soft backing to prevent any scratching or marking of paintwork when in use. The cover is held in place by magnets stitched into the material.

26. Magnetic Tray

If you always seem to be missing a bolt or a tool this is the product for you. Simply throw all your odds and ends into the tray and carry on working without having to worry about anything going missing.

27. Tool Storage


A place for everything and everything in its place. Investing in the tools and not finding them when you need them the most is quite frustrating. Invest in a good quality toolbox, that has space to carry all your essential tools, but also can carry spare parts / small parts etc.