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not actual size
1,899 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So, a big thing for me when working on my car is never knowing if I'm going to have the right tools to do the job. It's really kind of a psychological thing, but I'm always halfway afraid I'll take something apart then discover I don't have some key piece of equipmen to finish the job/put everything back together.

The purpose of this thread is for people to suggest common, run of the mill tools that are good to have for general car work. It may seem silly, but think of this: I had no idea that I would need something like a C clamp to depress the caliper piston when changing my brake pads. I'm not looking for odd or special-purpose tools, just general things that most hardware stores will have. Basically I'm looking for tools that you'll use for more than just one specific task, though if you want to list a weird tool and what it's for, feel free ;)

So without further ado, my contributions:
- A nice socket set (metric for toyota) ranging from 5mm to 25mm or so. Also extensions.
- A torque wrench
- A jack and jackstands
- Rubber mallet
- the aforementioned large C-clamp
- Variously sized screwdrivers
- a vise grip
- allen wrenches maybe. I know I had to borrow some for working on my endlinks with the rsb.
- channel locks
- A shop light (A MUST HAVE)

not tools, but nice to have:
- brake cleaner
- electrical cleaner
- anti-sieze compound

Anything else I'm forgetting/haven't run into?

Whine Connoisseur
6,573 Posts
I think you pretty much hit the essentials. Some basic electrical supplies help to have around. Wire strippers, wire cutters, various connectors (ie. male/female/butt/Spade). Also, a set of pliers ranging in size and shape comes handy sometimes. I also pack a small flashlight for those dark places.

Lastly duct tape and zipties....seriously. They're great for emergency fixes.

159 Posts
A good 3-jaw puller is a must have. Don't cheap out on these, because cheap ones will bend and warp the first time you use it.

I have a philips screwdriver that's in the shape of a squished "z" with 90 degree angles, and heads on both ends. I don't know what I'd do without it.

A pair of leather work gloves is also handy to protect your hands when the bolt gives way.

A large pry bar is also good to have around.

Trailer Trash Engineer
592 Posts
Box and open end wrenches, preferably ratcheting
universal joint for socket set
channel locks
filter wrench
ziplock bags and magic marker to bag and label small parts and bolts
white tape and that marker to label vacuum hoses, wires etc and where they went
wire brush to clean bolt threads, electrical connections etc.
utility knife
feeler gauges
small electrical multi meter
needle nose pliers
rags, lots of rags

PB Blaster, WD40 or the like
gasket sealer

Country Hick
2001 Nissan Pulsar
1,339 Posts
a steering-wheel puller is also a good idea to have in an essential tool kit. A ring-clamp remover is good if you are removing dor panels (gets behind the winder and pops the clamp off in seconds.

1,168 Posts
-spark plug socket
-good metric sockets (idk about you guys but no matter what bodywork you do on a Toyota it's like you either use a 10mm socket or a phillips head of some sort)
- good lug wrench
- an air compressor (a portable lighter-operated one for the car) and a real air compressor (for cleaning, impact guns...)
- 3/8", 1/4", and 1/2" ratchets (1/2 for rusty or difficult bolts that deserve a good raping)
- Toyota lubricant/penetrant (can be had for ten bucks at the 'yota dealership; it's a tad expensive, but nothing and I mean nothing works better!)
- A good Haynes/Chilton/Toyota service manual specific to your ride
- Gloves... I should have these... but don't...
- Goggles for when dirt/rust flakes off the bottom of your car... so you dont go blind under there
- and all the other usual bullshit
- Jackstands!!!!

It helps to have four toolboxes at your disposal... but... when they're as disorganized as ours are it's a pain sometimes... lol... so I try just to remember about which tools are in which box.


Mad Scientist
94 scepter coupe
3,960 Posts
alltrac165 said small electrical multi meter.

parts cleaner bin
engine hoist
load leveler
piston ring compressor
spring compressor
engine stand
come along(to straighten body work and/or bumpers)
1inch exhaust tubing to use as extra leverage
vacuum pump
black light(to see if the freeon is leaking)
dremmel w/attachments
wire cutters
wire strippers
soldering iron
heat shrink tubing
wire crimpers
random orbital sander
random orbital buffer
oil drain pan
flash light
magnetic pick up(if you drop a screw or something)

almost frgot flood lights these came in handy during the winter cause the only time i could work on the car was at night and i was outside.

93 Z24 and 78 Bronco
1993 z24
4,025 Posts
i'll post up my list since i don't really feel like going through what other people said

good socket set (mac, snap-on, motormaster maximum, mastercraft professional...) 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 inch drive with extensions and flexes for all
allen keys
torks sockets (the weird star shaped ones, american car brake calipers)
lots of phillips and flat head screwdrivers
rubber hammer
jack, jack stands
shop light
breaker bar, or pipe to fit onto the 1/2inch ratchet (i have a 4ft pipe)
various size needle nose, blunt pliers, cutters, vice grips
channel locks
lumber (2x4's and such)
drill, drill bits
easy outs
brake cleaner
tape, electrical, duct, masking...
wrenches for all sizes (2 of the more common ones)
zipties or tie wire
spark plug sockets (automotive and small engine)
spark plug gapper and feeler gauges
jb weld
mr gasket
strap wrench
drop pan (oil, coolant, brake fluid....)
various funnels and hoses to match them
files or a grinder
sand paper
an electric impact wrench is nice but not absolutely needed

i also keep spare parts for my car, thermostat, oil and filter, belts, coolant

and i think that's pretty much the basic tools than you need to do any kind of real work

93 Z24 and 78 Bronco
1993 z24
4,025 Posts
that's true, although i wouldn't rely on a propane torch, takes too long to heat up steel

a small oxy-acetylene setup is what i'd go with

and there aren't too many grease fittings on toyotas, but its good for american cars
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