Updated: May 30
I have been working on vehicles for many years and also worked in the aviation industry and repair industry for 10 years and 6 years and over that time I have come across some tools that I just cannot live without. I have a saying that the easiest job can be the worst job without the proper tool. For example an oil change where the oil filter is stuck on could be a nightmare but if you had a oil filter wrench your problem is solved. These tools make my life so much easier and I hope you enjoy.
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Here is a list of my favorite tools that I use:
Compact Blower (Dewalt 20v max blower, Tool Only DCE100B)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3N37y1n
I love the Dewalt portable jobsite blower. I thought I would rarely use it when I bought it and only thought it would be convenient to have. However now that I have it I use this thing all the time, when I'm at work cleaning up a jobsite, at home on the porch, blowing out electrical devices or blowing up inflatables. If you can name it I've probably used this tool on it. It works great, super portable and ive never had a issue with it, the only downside is I can use up your battery pretty quickly so make sure you have a full charge or a backup.
Floor Jack (BIG RED T815016L Low Profile Aluminum Racing Jack 3,000lb Capacity Blue)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3GzoEkV
I have had a lot of floor jacks and still currently do but when I need to jack up a car 95% of the time I grab my low profile aluminum rapid pump jack. What I love about it is its super light so its easy to carry around especially longer distances or just getting it in the right place under the car. Secondly because its low profile it works with my sports cars or lowered cars pretty darn well. Lastly it pumps the car up quickly as if I was working a Nascar pit stop, no one wants to pump a jack 40 times to lift a car just to do it on all 4 corners of the vehicle.
High Torque Impact (Dewalt 20v max xr brushless high torque impact wrench, DCF899B)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3lUWO9i
Have you ever been working on a car just to think your job is going easy an then you hit that one bolt that is way over torqued and you know your going to bust up your knuckles if you break it free, I know I have and since I work on cars a lot as it is my passion I figured there has to be a better way. Then I bought the Dewalt High Torque Impact gun and I have to say it was worth every penny. I never have to grab a breaker bar anymore and I slam out big jobs so much faster with no stuck on bolts. I was even able to tear apart a rusted old 65 gto with no issues. I must say I love this tool and the only bolt I wasnt able to break free was a loctite over torqued harmonic balancer bolt.
Impact Driver & Drill Combo (Dewalt 20v Cordless Drill Combo Kit, Brushless, DCK283D2)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/38vTBtE
I used to think of myself as a handy man fixing stuff around the house or working on cars and then I actually became a professional repair man and so one of the first things I bought was the Dewalt Impact Driver and Drill Combo. Lets just say I laugh at how much I didnt know back then. I use these tools almost everyday and thats not even at work. It allows me to drill, remove bolts & nuts, reassemble just about anything and in a fraction of the time of a screw driver or a ratchet. I know some people prefer air tools but you have limited reach and longer set up, these you just put a battery in and roll. They have lasted for years with no issues and if they were to ever break it would buy another one in a heartbeat.
Mechanic Reach Tool (DR.PEN Flexible Grabber Claw, 35.4inch)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3N4p6u2
Nothing is worse than when your working on something and you just realized that you dropped a small part or bolt or screw to a place that you cant reach and the worst part is you grab your magnet and realize the part is non magnetic. Fortunately someone thought of a Mechanic Reach Tool that allows you to pick something up like you would with your magnet but instead with a little claw. Its one of the tools you dont think you need until you do and your glad you have it.
Multimeter (Klein Tools MM300 Multimeter, 600V)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3N4p6u2
Every car guy needs one, with so many cars currently running electrical everywhere something is bound to go wrong at some point, and trying to find a electrical issue with out a multimeter is almost impossible. I personally am a fan of Klein products as they feel high quality and last.
OBD Scanner (BAFX Wireless Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner Code Reader & Diagnostic Tool) Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3NLjaG4
Why pay a lot of money for an old school obd scanner when you dont have to. I speak with experience here as I have a old school obd scanner as well however my new bluetooth OBD Scanner is much smaller and more versatile. You can plug it in and even leave it there if you want. It has all the features of a standard scanner but it also allows for more advance options and live feed data. The best part you can view it all wirelessly on your phone and even record the data. Just buy the scanner and download any one of the free scanner apps and your good to go.
Paint Gun (Astro EUROHE103 EuroPro Spray Gun with 1.3mm Nozzle)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3M2E7Lv
I've had multiple hvlp (high volume low pressure) paint guns and I must say the Astro 1.3mm is my favorite. It laid out my paint and clear the best out off all my guns and if I were to only have one paint gun this would be it.
Portable Jump Starter (NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12-Volt Lithium Jump Starter)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3GxkYQB
I rely on my truck for work so the last thing I need is to come out and it wont start because the battery is bad or if the lights were on. Either way jumper cables are big and bulky and you still need another car to get a jump. Not anymore with a Portable Jump Starter, if your car is dead its no problem at all. Just pull the starter from its case and connect the terminals to your battery and that's it just start your car and go. Also as a added bonus its a power bank so you can charge multiple devices including your phone.
Portable Tire Inflator (VacLife Tire Inflator Portable Air Compressor, up to 50 PSI, 12V DC)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3GxjZzW
In Southern California there is debris and trash everywhere (unfortunately) and that includes objects that could puncture your tires. You dont really want to go into a store and come out and now you have a flat tire or even worse be stuck on the side of a freeway. Sure you have a spare but they are a pain to change out and you dont always have time. Most leaks are small and slow so if you have a portable tire inflator with you just pump the tire up and your good to go. I always keep the portable tire inflator and the jump starter in my truck where ever I go so I am never stuck.
Flex Head Extendable Ratchets (Steelman Pro 72-Tooth Extendable Flex-Head Ratchet Set)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/38vTLkK
If you work on cars you probably have a set of ratchets however I doubt you have a set of Flex Head Extendable Ratchets. These things are a game changer, you can come at your nut or bolt from a number of angles and also have the power of a breaker bar when you need it. These ratchets can change their size and angle so easy that you wont have to spend a bunch of time with swivel adapters, breaker bars, wrenches nearly as often. I just grab my socket set and my ratchet and I'm good to go.
Spray Paint Adapter (TCP Instant Aerosol Trigger Handle)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3GBcmc0
Spray Paint is so awesome and convenient because you dont have to clean up a paint gun or mix paint or set up a bunch of gear to do a small job. The big draw back is trying to have a great result holding a spray nozzle which can also make your finger tired on bigger jobs. I bought one of these Spray Paint Adapters and they are amazing they change the way you hold a spray can to the feel of holding a spray gun and you spray with a trigger. They are very inexpensive and take your spray paint jobs to the next level.
Universal Socket (Universal Socket with Power Drill Adapter 7-19mm)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3M2EfdX
I know what your thinking what mechanic likes the universal socket. I must say that I do and here is why, sure you could grab a set of sockets from your tool box and that would be great however what if your not at home, that's where this Socket comes in. It takes the place of a number of sockets especially the ones you need but aren't there (10mm I'm looking at you). I actually had this when pulling an engine and it saved me so much because I would have ha d to leave the salvage yard just to go buy a socket but this socket was quick, effective and saved me when I needed it most.
Wire Crimper (Ratchet Terminal Crimper by Wirefy)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3GvIv4D
Back when I worked for a aircraft company I took some classes on wiring and one of the tools that really came in handy was a decent wire crimper. I have used the lower quality crimpers however it sucks when you crimp a terminal and then the wire just falls out. If you use a good quality wire crimper all your terminal crimps will be consistent and less likely to fail.
Wire Stripper (IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripper, Self-Adjusting, 8-Inch 2078300)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3N9p3xa
The cool thing about this style of wire crimper is you dont have to worry about what size or gauge your wire is, you just put the wire in and the stripper self adjusts to your wire and strips it nicely with a simple squeeze. It makes fast work on wiring jobs.
Wrenches (Amazon Basics Flexible Ratcheting Wrench Set - Metric, 5-Piece)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3mfSLop
The problem with standard wrenches is they only have a fixed angle and usually when you need a wrench your already in a tight spot. The flex head ratchet wrenches are faster because of the ratchet option and they can get into many more locations because of the flex head. These come in so handy on that 1 bolt that always seems to take 30 just to remove.