Being a mechanic is a rough job sometimes. It requires a good, working knowledge of vehicles, engines and all their moving parts. It also requires extensive knowledge and a willingness to get your hands dirty.
A good mechanic must be skillful. They must learn constantly. And most of all, they must have the right tools for the job. If you are a do-it-yourself type of individual, you probably already have a workshop.
But do you have the right tools for the job? Whether you’re just starting out or already have a few tools, we’ll help you discover the best tools you need.
1. Air Tools
As a mechanic, you want to own the most reliable and useful tools for any job. Air tools, like pneumatic tools powered by an air compressor, are essential to working on vehicles. Every mechanic can benefit from owning some of these air tools:
- Impact wrench
- Die Grinder
- Tire inflator
Pneumatic tools offer an edge over some other types of tools. They’re powerful. They’re easy to control. And they’re multipurpose. That’s why so many shops use them.
They can be a bit dangerous if misused, however, so proper use and personal protective equipment is a must whenever using pneumatic tools.
2. Power Tools
There are so many different power tools, each with a unique and dedicated function, that can speed up various jobs in your garage. Nothing beats the feel, sound, and fun of using power tools.
But if you’re working in a garage or taking on a DIY project, they become an integral part of your tool arsenal. For example, powered impact drivers make screwing/unscrewing things much faster than doing it with a ratchet.
Other power tools, like impact wrenches, are essential to any garage too. Sometimes, you need to polish a surface or grind something (like a wheel). Power tools make that super easy (and fast).
Power tools come in different power levels and”flavors”. Corded and gas-powered tools offer more power and longer usage time. Having a variety of power tools around can make even the toughest jobs much faster and easier.
3. Hand Tools
Along with an arsenal of pneumatic and power tools, any mechanic worth their salt should have hand tools. Hand/manual mechanics tools like drills, repair kits, and socket sets all have a place in any workshop.
Tools like needle scalers (hand-held devices that help remove rust and dirt from automotive parts), pressure bleed systems, extra drill bits, and repair kits are ideal hand tools that should all have a place in your workshop.
Jacks are, perhaps, the single most important tool a mechanic can have in their shop. Unless you happen to be a superhero who derives massive strength from the rays of a yellow sun, there’s probably no way you’re going to pick up a vehicle by yourself.
You need some type of tool to raise the vehicle and allow you to work. Parts are sometimes hard to reach or require a vehicle to be raised. Jacks also provide support and stability while working. And just try doing a tire change without raising the vehicle first.
Mechanics have an abundance and variety of different jacks for different purposes. Whether it’s a floor, trolley, hydraulic, pneumatic, or bottle jack, the best jack is the one that fits your work needs.
5. Tool Storage
Tools might make the mechanic, but things can quickly get out of hand without the proper storage methods. Open any old popular mechanics magazine and you’ll be greeted with at least a few (and a ton of ads; it’s a minefield in those old back issues).
Successful tool storage comes down to a few components. These are storage areas, storage containers, and organization. You might put most of your tools in various toolboxes and label them accordingly.
Shelving can be incredibly valuable for storing parts. Some garages can benefit from the installation of a pegboard where you can hang your tools when not in use. Tool chests are ideal for storing larger tools and keeping them well organized. This is largely due to the excessive amount of compartments, drawers, and hidden storage areas tool chests typically have.
This Old House recommends most of these solutions, along with some other ideas to get you started on the path to better organization. Keeping your tools organized means they’ll be ready when you need them and you’ll be able to tackle jobs more professionally without worrying about the location of various tools.