On the road, the answer is always Miata, but in the garage, the answer is always beer. At least that’s what many of our wrenching readers seem to think, and we wholeheartedly agree, especially if it’s Busch Light. But wrenching jobs are usually 2-part, or 32-part, questions, and you need dozens of other staples in your garage to get you through your work.
We previously posed the question to our readers, “What’s The One Tool You Can’t Live Without In Your Garage?” and were met with a great range of answers. Everybody has slightly different experiences with fiddling with cars, and real-world advice has value second-to-none. Here’s what you, our readers, said were your picks for tools everybody should have.
“My Harbor Freight bike lift. I got it at the end of 2007 for $220, and the cylinder leaks, but it saves my back. The other day, I had to check the shaft drive fluid on the ground and I thought I was going to need a crane to get up off the floor. It’s a pain to get the bike on the lift, but it’s worth it. I have a winch in the ceiling to pick it up and store it against the wall.” – CrashCash
A cordless drill eliminates the need to have a nearby plug.
Cordless Impact Drill
“Bosch Freak Impact. It’s both 1/4″ and 1/2″ and way too handy.” – Mane
“I’ve got a bunch of favorites, but the cordless impact wrench is currently top of the chart. I also get a lot of use from magnetic LED worklights and an oddball favorite is a very small cold chisel that is great separating things.” – Slow Joe Crow
“I thought I was going to miss having an air compressor when I left mine behind when we moved out of our old house, but my 60v DeWalt does everything I need and more.” – Jimal
“My Milwaukee 1/2″ impact. That right there is my problem solver. Runner up is my Milwaukee 1/4″ hex impact driver. That little bugger is just too useful.” – derpwagon
“Cordless drill/driver. If you’re ONLY working on cars, and nothing else, there are probably other things that might be more important, but for general DIY a cordless drill/driver is by FAR the most useful single thing a person can own. After a knife, I guess.” – Morris The Cat
“My Milwaukee Fuel M18 1/2″ cordless impact gun. Next level tool for me.” – Chris H
“My brother, the mechanic, gifted me with a Snap On ratcheting screwdriver with interchangeable bits, including Torx. I use that tool on almost every project – cars, motorcycle and house. It’s tough and dependable.” – DecayingOrbit
“For me it’s my Snap-On torque wrench. I’m a torquing fool.” – RollPanTilt
“Snap-On Phillips #2 screwdriver, 8”. Bought it 30 years ago and still looks new.” – Seascout
You need multiple types and sizes of screwdrivers.
“A cheap crap yellow-handled slot screwdriver with an unusually narrow blade, that magically solves problems requiring minor prying, separating, chiseling, probing, whacking, and sometimes even unscrewing things including some Phillips (a curse from a cruel God) and square-heads.” – TommyTheMaus
Ratchet and Socket Sets
“10mm sockets, all drives, depths, as nut driver. 10mm combo wrenches. If I ever lost part of or a whole finger; I’d get one grafted on to the remaining bone.” – steveone
“10 mm socket #jeeplife” – foo bar
“I have a NAPA house brand (Evercraft) 3/8 drive socket set that I’ve been using for 30 years. Although the ratchet has been replaced a couple of times (lifetime warranty, yo!) and a few missing sockets have been replaced (looking at you, 10mm and 1/2″), it is still probably my most used tool over decades of wrenching on lawn mowers, small engines, go-karts, over 100 cars, antique tractors, whatever.” – skwimjim
“I can’t live without the 10mm socket I can never find.” – CHARLES
“For my motorcycle, my metric allen wrenches. For my car, Craftsman 3/8 socket set.” – Brian Cordell
“Being a educator just starting my career in the early ’70s, the only way I cold afford to drive “interesting” (European) cars was to buy used cars and work on them myself. Doing so required that I acquire metric wrenches, which was an expensive proposition. One day, my mom’s next door neighbor decided to sell off some tools. For $15, I bought an essentially unused S&K 3/8″ drive metric ratchet and socket kit, a matching set of S&K metric deep well sockets, and a set of Craftsman metric combination open-end/box end-wrenches. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Those wrenches have seen me through more mechanical projects than I can recall and are sitting on my workbench right now. There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t used them for something.” – Terry McLeod
“As a young boy my father and I got in to karting, and he gifted me a Husky ratchet set so I could wrench my ride. Many many decades later and long after he passed I still have it and use if often. Though I’ve added some old Sears and Snap-On pieces, I still consider that Husky set my most memorable and useful” – Bingo6
“A vise. Nothing replaces a third hand.” – JudgementalDad
A hammer is one of the best multi-tools available.
“The drawer labeled “Clarkson” containing various tools of persuasion – breaker bars, mallets, dead-blows, hammers, and pry-bars.” – MotoRider
“Air compressor. Got to make sure I am not 2 psi low in my BMW’s left front tire” – SailingEric
“My compressor, xcelite reversible blade screwdriver, 6′” water pump pliers and streamlight headlight” – jmfk1
“But as for tools that are kind of surprisingly helpful and unique – picks. Ones that look like dental tools. I have really old cars, most of which have been leaky for a long time, and picks are great for cleaning up oily parts. They also just… come in handy for random little “can’t quite reach/grab” scenarios that are hard to describe.” – Andrew Collins
“Not sure if you would consider it a tool, but, penetrating oil.” – Toecutter
When the going gets tough, beer.
“1. cold beer
2. step counter – how many times do you go back for a different socket
3. ok ok, actual single tool, 3/8 ratchet is likely my most common used tool” – mooseknuckles
“Kegerator, stereo, air, lifts, tire machine, parts washer. Everything else is gravy.” – DrewVIIIMR
“beer fridge. Where every project starts and ends.” – 4cyl
Let’s Talk, Comment Below To Talk With The Drive’s Editors! (H2)
We’re here to be expert guides in everything How-To related. Use us, compliment us, yell at us. Comment below and let’s talk! You can also shout at us on Twitter or Instagram, here are our profiles.
Jonathon Klein: Twitter (@jonathon.klein), Instagram (@jonathon_klein)
Tony Markovich: Twitter (@T_Marko), Instagram (@t_marko)
Chris Teague: Twitter (@TeagueDrives), Instagram (@TeagueDrives)
Got a question? Got a pro tip? Send us a note: [email protected]
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