If you’ve been working on your car for a while, you’ll likely have already amassed a collection of tools for use at home, such as socket wrenches, a hydraulic jack, and perhaps even a fluorescent drop light. Now that you’re feeling more confident in your skills, you may be considering expanding your assortment, but perhaps you are not sure where to start. When you’re moving on to more advanced tests and processes, it’s a good idea to have exactly the right tools at your disposal. Check out our handy guide to the advanced tools you’ll find yourself using more often that will save you money in the long run.
Electronic Code Reader
There is nothing quite as disheartening as seeing the ‘Check Engine’ light appear on your dashboard and not knowing exactly what is wrong. What normally would mean an inconvenient trip to the garage to assess the problem can be found out at home with the help of an electronic code reader. Using one is simple enough – just plug the reader into the diagnostic port on your dashboard and let it pinpoint the problem for you, allowing you to plan your next step from the comfort of your home. After all, the solution to your problem could be as simple as tightening your gas cap, which you don’t need a professional to fix for you.
Strut Spring Compressor
With the right tools, replacing the struts and maintaining the suspension on your vehicle is much less intimidating than it seems, though it should only be attempted by a home mechanic with more advanced knowledge of a vehicle’s workings. Using a spring compressor tool can prevent you from having to replace the entire strut, saving you time and money. The process of using the tool is fairly simple and can be figured out easily, but one must be careful to pay extra attention and follow the instructions properly, as a compressed spring is very dangerous if mishandled.
Shop Creeper Seat
How have you been getting access to the underneath of your vehicle? Even with a hydraulic jack, it’s likely you’ve been wiggling under unaided, maybe using cushions or cardboard for a little extra comfort. When you’re invested in working on your vehicle, it’s time for you also to be invested in your comfort and ease. By getting a shop creeper seat, you can easily access every part of your vehicle. Many models have several caster wheels for ease of movement and feature padded headrests and cushioning to keep you comfortable while you’re hard at work.
Vacuum Brake Bleeding Kit
You may already have had experience with fixing the brakes on your vehicle that have, inevitably, worn out. Rather than having to find someone to assist you and pump the brake pedal while you bleed the lines, investing in a vacuum brake bleeding kit turns it into a simple, one-person job. Available both in manual and electronic versions, vacuum kits can often also be used for liquid siphoning and for testing automotive vacuum systems, making them an essential addition to your advanced home tool set.
Digital Torque Wrench
You likely have a torque wrench or two in your garage already, but it’s well worth stepping up your game with a digital torque wrench. Incredibly precise, digital versions of their manual counterparts have superior accuracy and have shown considerable durability. They are also extremely convenient, often including preset calibrations, internal memory, and a digital display showing the force applied as it is being used. Getting yourself a digital torque wrench is sure to bring you peace of mind too, knowing that all of the nuts and bolts are fitted correctly.
Making gradual additions to your home garage is a process that will inevitably save you money in the long run, as you’ll be dealing with a professional mechanic less frequently. While it’s important to make sure that your vehicle is regularly checked by a professional for safety, being able to handle any issues that crop up between visits is kinder on your wallet and also saves you time.