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Repairing your own cars can be both enjoyable and cost-efficient, but to get started, you're going to need a little garage space and some basic automotive tools. Though you probably can't afford your own personal shop, there are some tools that you're going to need no matter what if you plan to take charge of fixing your own cars. Here are the top four tools every DIY mechanic needs.
When you're working on peripheral parts, it's okay to tighten bolts down until you're sure they'll stay in place. When working on your engine, however, tightening bolts gets much more demanding. Most engine bolts have to be tightened to a very specific degree. For this kind of work, you'll need a torque wrench, which is effectively a ratchet wrench that is capable of applying very specific amounts of force to a bolt. If you plan on doing even basic engine work, a torque wrench is a must-have.
From powering pneumatic tools to allowing for sand blasting of rusted body panels, compressed air serves a plethora of functions in automotive repair. If you really want to fix your own cars, you'll need an air compressor, such as those from the Kruman Equipment Company. Though you might not realize it, air compressors are usually quite reasonably priced, given the amount of utility they have. Having your own compressor will also make filling up your tires easier and more convenient.
Many cars are too low to the ground to work underneath very effectively. This is why you need a jack and a set of jack stands. The jack can get your car properly elevated, while the jack stands will hold it in place high enough off the ground to allow you to work on it. If you're really serious about your DIY auto projects, you can also get portable lifts that will serve the same function, but will allow you to get your car much higher up.
The basic tool of all automotive work is the everyday wrench. As a home mechanic, you'll need a full set of either metric or standard wrenches, depending on which system your car uses. You should also have an equivalent set of sockets, since these will sometimes be easier than standard wrenches. You can also get socket extensions and other such tools to let you get into tight, confined spaces inside your car more easily.
Fixing your own cars is a great way to save money, learn some new skills and have some fun in the process. These are some of the basic tools you will need, though they are far from the only ones that may come in handy. Start small by buying these most essential automotive tools, then expand your tool set as you need to go forward.