Not every car problem requires a trip to the mechanic. Unless you really don’t want to get your hands dirty. Personally, whenever the opportunity presents itself, I like handling many projects by myself, unless I have no knowledge as to how it’s done.
Sometimes you’ve got to take the bull by the horn yourself, and the problem handled in your own garage or on the road as the case may be.
If you don’t have the right car maintenance tools however, you’d still make that trip even though you have the know-how to get the job done yourself.
For instance, anyone can change a flat tire by their self. At least I do change mine by myself. But if you don’t have a car jack, a lug wrench or an impact wrench, then that wouldn’t be possible even though you know the procedure and are fully capable.
That’s why it’s very important to have adequate car maintenance tools with you all the time. Some are required to be in your car at all times, while others can be left in the garage at home.
Right here in this article, I’ve listed 10 of these tools so you can be well equipped, the next time your vehicle needs some routine or urgent maintenance.
Not everyone will need all of them, because like I said earlier, not everyone wants to get their hands dirty.
On the other hand, some folks including myself jump at projects like this, and I like to be well prepared with the right gear when projects like this arise.
So, here are 10 of the most essential car maintenance tools and equipment you need to keep your car in tip-top condition.
Table of Contents
1. Portable Jump Starter or Battery Booster
There’re very few things more frustrating that walking up to your car in the morning, or in the parking lot after buying some groceries, opening the doors and turning the ignition, only to find out that your car can’t start because the battery is dead.
Having a jump starter can save you from all that frustration. Some people use jump cables to jump start their dead batteries, but I believe that’s old fashioned, and it only works when another vehicle is available to use.
With a portable jump starter, there’s no need for you to ask another vehicle owner to help you get your car running again. You can just connect it to your battery and get your car up and running again.
In fact, some of them are so portable, they can fit inside your glove compartment with ease and offer you the solution you need to get your car running if the battery ever fails.
Some, like the Stanley FATMAX shown above also double as a portable air compressor to inflate your tires if any goes flat.
2. Tire Pressure Gauge
If you own any type of vehicle, one of the most important chore you should carry out regularly is checking the pressure of the tires.
This is very important because under-inflated tires are a safety hazard both to you and to others sharing the road with you.
An under-inflated tire wears faster and unevenly, builds up heat faster and doesn’t respond properly to breaking and the overall vehicle handling.
To avoid all that, you need to make sure your tires are properly inflated per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
You don’t need to call your mechanic every time you want to gauge your car tires, just like you don’t need to call a dentist in order to brush your teeth. All you need is a suitable tire pressure gauge which costs nothing compared to the job it does.
It’s one of the must-have tools you need to keep your vehicle in tip top condition for the road.
3. Tire Inflator
What happens when you’ve used a tire pressure gauge on a tire and found out the pressure is not enough? Then you need to add more pressure until it reaches the required value.
Having a good tire inflator will save you time and money, because you can just inflate the tires yourself and save yourself from calling a mechanic for such a small and straightforward job.
While inflating the tires, make sure your pressure gauge is in hand to check the pressure as you inflate, so you don’t over inflate your tires.
This is very important because just as under-inflated tires are a risk, over-inflated tires are even more dangerous.
4. Tire Plug Kit
Plugging your car tires when they get punctured might not always be a good idea, but in certain circumstances, you really have no other option than to get it plugged and ready for the road again.
For instance, what if you’re travelling across the city or state and there’s no auto repair shop nearby? Of course, that’s where a spare tire comes in, but in this case, plugging it is much simpler and may be even more convenient than replacing it with a spare.
Some newer cars don’t even come with spares nowadays in order to reduce weight and fuel consumption.
So, having a tire plug kit in your car at all times can come in handy in such emergency situations, helping you get back on the road, at least until you get where an expert can take a better look at it.
5. Floor Jack
If you have to replace your tires, change the oil or carry out any other repair or maintenance under the car, a floor jack is a super necessary piece of equipment you should have.
Most vehicles come with one, but in case it didn’t come with yours, then buying a suitable one will be the right thing to do. Without it, replacing a flat tire with the spare on the road will be impossible unless, someone lends you one.
6. Lug Wrench
Just like you need a floor jack when changing your wheels, without a lug wrench or some other type of wrench, there’s no way you’re getting that wheel off the car.
A lug wrench is a type of socket wrench used for loosening and tightening lug nuts on automobile wheels. Chances are your car came with one. If it doesn’t, you should buy one as soon as possible. You never know when you might need one.
7. Torque Wrench
If you want to replace your car tires by yourself, having a lug wrench is not enough. Having a torque wrench and knowing how to use it is necessary, so you don’t over tighten or under tighten the lug nuts.
Every nut and both in your car has its specific torque ratings specified by the manufacturer. If you don’t want to over tighten your lug nuts, use a torque wrench to tighten it to that torque specified in your vehicle maintenance handbook or manual.
8. Wheel Shock
Want to prevent your tires from rolling when changing the wheels, changing the oil or some other automotive fluid, then you need a wheel shock.
These are usually rubber-built heavy duty wedge-like looking blocks which can be placed on either side of a tire to prevent the vehicle from rolling.
9. Fire Extinguisher
In most countries and states, it’s illegal not to have a fire extinguisher in your car at all times. Like you already know, it’s for putting out fires. So, always have one available for use in your car in the case of an emergency.
10. Creeper Seat
This is not like a must-have tool or equipment for every car owner, but if you’re a mechanic or a DIY enthusiast and likes to get things done by yourself, then it’s a very good piece of equipment to have.
If you have anything to do under your car, like change the oil, change the sand protector under the engine or screw in spoilers under the bumper, then a creeper will help you roll under the car with ease and get the job done.
Depending on how low your car is, you may have to jack it up a little bit so it can easily be accessible with the creeper.