10 Tools That Should Be In Your Garage

Due to a slow recovery from back surgery, my father’s garage was in serious need of organization. He had worked as a mechanic in his father’s shop, was a welder by trade and has become a solid handyman over the years, meaning my father has accumulated a lot of tools.

I volunteered to help clean his garage, and it took the better part of a day and a half to complete the project. Cleaning out the tool chest that once stood in my grandfather’s garage became an archaeological dig that unearthed wooden-handled screwdrivers, a battery hydrometer, feeler gauges and a punch with a hook and a twist that my father had made as part of his early training in metal forging.

The experience reminded me of two truths about tools:

  • The right tool for the right job makes a huge difference
  • If you buy the best tools you can afford, they’ll provide generations of good service

10 Tools You Should Own

In the spirit of those two truths, here is our list of 10 basic tools every enthusiast should own.

Portable LED work light

Work Light

You can’t fix what you can’t see. No matter how good the lighting is in your garage, you’ll need a portable light when under your vehicle, preferably one you can hang, keeping both hands free. Get one with a rechargeable battery so you’re not dragging an extension cord all over the place.

3.5 ton floor jack

Floor Jack

Getting your ride up in the air requires a floor jack. Mechanical and hydraulic jacks make up the two major categories of floor jacks. Capacity (2-3 tons will cover most vehicles) and minimum/maximum height are important considerations. Keep in mind many stock vehicles are fairly close to the ground, so get a low-profile jack that will fit under the vehicle. For mobility and ease of raising and lowering, a trolley hydraulic jack is hard to beat.

Aluminum three-ton jack stands

Jack Stands

Once your vehicle is up in the air, it needs to stay there. Getting a good set of jack stands is a critical safety consideration. Never crawl under a vehicle supported only by a hydraulic jack. Pay attention to the adjustable height, weight capacity (in most cases three tons will do the trick) and whether it has a ratchet mechanism. Ratchet-type stands are more convenient, while pin-type are safer. Aluminum jack stands are lightweight and don’t rust.

Digital torque adapter

Torque Wrench

Properly torquing nuts and bolts helps avoid serious problems. Many applications in your garage require tightening to the correct specs, such as lug nuts and lawnmower blades. The example shown, from Pittsburgh Tools, offers a digital torque adapter that turns your socket wrench into a digital torque wrench. It’s accurate, inexpensive and includes 1/2”-to-3/8” and 1/2″-to-1/4″ adapters.

Mechanics tool set

Ratchet and Socket Set

When it comes to tools you’ll use over and over again, you can’t get much more fundamental than a set of ratchets and sockets. If you’ve ever rounded off the head of bolt or nut, or had the socket spin off a nut, you know there’s a difference in quality.

Consider these four factors when choosing a set:

  • Ratchet-head profile. Lower profiles allow for getting into tighter spaces.
  • The number of “points,” or corners, inside the sockets. More points increase the likelihood of rounding off a bolt head or nut; fewer points provide better grip (six is usually ideal).
  • The number of teeth in the ratchet. The higher the number, the shorter the turning radius.
  • Laser etching versus stamped sizes on the sockets. Stamped measurements will stand up best over time.

Plenty of manufacturers offer ratchet and socket sets for a reasonable price.

Mini magnetic parts tray.

Magnetic Parts Tray

There’s a little-known law of physics that states that when a small metal fastener is dropped from fender height or greater onto a concrete garage floor, it enters a black hole. Prevent this frustration with a magnetic parts tray. With some options, like this Titan Tools Mini Magnetic Parts Tray, not only is the tray magnetic, but the rubberized base is magnetic so it sticks to a fender. You’ll eliminate hours of frustration with this tool that sells for under $10.

Multi-purpose five-inch bench vise

 

Bench Vise

If there’s one tool that’s on nearly every workbench, it’s a bench vise. A vise is a must for holding onto and precisely cutting all kinds of materials, especially pipe. The flat anvil on the back is great for flatting anything that needs persuasion. Next, buy an angle grinder and start sharpening your own mower blades. Look for a model that includes built-in pipe jaws and that rotates 360 degrees.

Digital multimeter.

Multimeter

Your ride requires electricity as much as it does gas or diesel. A multimeter is an indispensable tool to diagnose many electrical problems, like a bad switch or relay. Measuring current can help diagnose the source of a battery drain. You can find basic models for $25 or so.

AMSOIL MP Metal Protector

Penetrating lubricant

From brakes to muffler clamps, the need to free rusty nuts and bolts is a common one, and the right tool for the job comes in a can. Penetrating lubricant works to free rusted parts and provides protection against future rust. AMSOIL MP Metal Protector does a great job handling both tasks while also drying wet electrical systems. A can of degreaser is also a key addition to your arsenal.

Everyone wants a reason to buy more tools, right? With this list, you have 10 reasons.

All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries.

Oh and a bonus 11th one – A bag of rags!! I get mine free from the hospital. Well I trade them for oil!! Lol.

17Nov 2017
Ethanol problems stop with AMSOIL Quickshot

AMSOIL Quickshot® Offers a Simple Solution to Ethanol Problems Fuel maintenance is a big issue, whether you own a motorcycle, dirt bike, snowmobile, lawn mower or other piece of equipment. Currently, most gasoline sold in the U.S. contains up to 10 percent ethanol (E10), while gasoline containing up to 15 percent (E15) is becoming available […]

16Nov 2017
amsoil at SEMA Vegas

AMSOIL Heads to SEMA New Product Showcase with 13 New Products Jamie Jarvi|Oct 27, 2017 9:46 AM The mighty SEMA show is just around the corner, and our AMSOIL trade show team is busy preparing for another successful presentation to the key players in the automotive industry. SEMA is where companies learn of the latest […]

16Nov 2017
He wishes the VW had a Corvair engine.

Which of These 5 Approaches to Vehicle Maintenance Do You Use? Mark Nyholm|Oct 02, 2017 9:09 AM Maintenance is one of those things you either do or don’t do. There isn’t a good way to fall “in between” on the maintenance spectrum, nor do your vehicles, equipment or toys like to be in a state […]

16Nov 2017
stabilize your fuel and protect your engine in storage

Store Equipment With Confidence AMSOIL keeps your stored equipment fresh for our Omaha spring. Fall is the time to think about getting summer equipment put away before winter hits. Preventive maintenance is critical before storing equipment for any extended period of time. Properly storing equipment through the cold winter months protects the engine, prevents rust […]

15Nov 2017
Extreme simulated start test

AMSOIL Dirt Bike Products Maximize Performance of Bike and Rider Whether you ride to take the checkered flag or conquer the trails near home, AMSOIL has you covered. Most dirt bike riders have one goal in mind when they hit the track or trail: ride faster and more effectively. Clutch performance goes a long toward […]

15Nov 2017
Metal Protector Spray

8 Awesome Uses for AMSOIL MP (especially number 5) Steve Hull Everyone is aware of the multiple dimensions in which human beings live. There’s the physical dimension, the emotional dimension, the spiritual dimension, the psychological dimension and so on. And there are layers of dimensionality among and throughout. We get that, intuitively, if not academically. […]