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Mechanics Pick the Best Car Tools and Accessories

AAA automotive experts list the tools of the trade every driver should have at home.

car tools

Proper car maintenance is a critical component to ensuring your car is safe and fully capable to drive. Many of the upkeep tasks can be performed at home, but without the proper car tools, you’ll likely be left in the dark.

We asked a pair of our automotive experts for their recommendations on the tools every at-home mechanic should have in their garage.

Justin Knight, Mechanic at AAR  Facility Knights Automotive in Ledgewood, N.J.

Hand Tools

You likely have standard hand tools laying around but if you plan on doing a good amount of maintenance work, you should really consider investing in tools specifically designed for automobiles, such as Sunex and Gearwrench. These sets will include all your socket and wrench needs. Make sure they come with both metric and SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) measurements. While U.S.-based manufacturers typically used SAE in the past, modern cars with parts made in various countries often use metric. If your current car uses one system, your next may use the other. Buy it here: Sunex / Gearwrench

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Learn about which car care tasks you should take on and which you should leave to an AAR shop!

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Car Ramp

It can be difficult to get underneath any car, let alone one with low clearance. Should a problem arise with your vehicle that requires you to get into that tight space, you’ll be glad you have a car ramp. These strong, portable ramps can help lift your car up several inches off the ground. Just slide them in front of the tires and drive right up. Buy it here.

Hydraulic Jack

Another way of lifting your vehicle off the ground, and an essential car tool, is the good old car jack. We recommend opting for a hydraulic jack, which is designed to lift with minimal effort. Buy it here.

John Paul, AAA Northeast Car Doctor

LED Work Light

Garages aren’t known for being the best lit areas of the house. Add in the fact that most car maintenance tasks will likely involve looking underneath the car, it’s obvious that you’re going to need a good light source. LED bulbs are bright, energy savers and last a very long time; they can power light sources that are portable and flexible, precisely what you’ll need when scoping out the corners of an automobile’s underbelly. Another tip is to get a rechargeable work light. This will ensure there are no cords you could potentially trip over when walking around the vehicle. Buy it here.

car tools

Electric Air Compressor

Don’t forget about your tires. Always make sure your tires are properly inflated. This will keep you safer, extend the life of the tires and improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Household air compressors can also be used to inflate such items as bike tires, basketballs, pool inflatables and much, much more. Buy it here.

Oil Drain Pan

Dealing with motor oil is messy business and unless you want your clothes, and your property, to end up covered in the stuff, you’ll need a drain pan. Not only are these pans great for avoiding spills when working on your vehicle, they can also be used for transporting used oil to your nearest recycling center. Buy it here.

Diagnostic Code Reader

Ever see the check engine light come on and not have the slightest idea why? This little car tool can solve that problem. Diagnostic code readers communicate with your car’s computer to identify. Simply plug the device in and run a scan to see precisely where the problem is. Buy it here.

Your AAA Wishlist is an online shopping guide. When you make a purchase through a third-party link, AAA Northeast could receive revenue. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Which car tools do you swear by? Which ones are you missing? Let us know in the comments below!

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