HandyHomeMasterBloghttps://handyhomemaster.com/must-have-garage-tools/ Must-Have Garage Tools

12 Absolute Must-have Garage Tools Everybody Needs

Last Updated: 05 January 2021

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Editor-in-Chief of the Handy Home Master

In our culture, a garage often gets described as something much more than merely a place where you store your car. That’s too boring for the media, so they romanticize it. They make it into some sort of sanctuary for masculinity packed with must-have garage tools and with an unwritten “No girls allowed” sign on the entrance door. Of course, it’s awesome to have a hobby that makes you feel special. But such sanctification of garage activities has one huge undeniable drawback.

Not all people can associate with the “manly man” image of a mechanic who hangs out in his garage 24/7, so they go to the opposite extreme. They get reluctant even to try and begin to understand what’s going on inside their cars and what all those essential garage tools are for. Instead, they will go to mechanics and trust the job of fixing even minor problems to the “pros.” In practice, it means not only that you go and pay for something you could do yourself, faster and for free. Raise your hand if you’ve never been late to an appointment just because your car didn’t start. Chances are that you could easily fix it yourself with a few must-have garage tools and be there on time, but you didn’t, and you weren’t. All because you decided that you’d better trust a job like this to pros at all times.

If you recognize yourself in our last few sentences, then this article is for you. Your garage doesn’t have to be that sanctuary where you’d have to devote yourself 24/7 to a hobby you couldn’t care less about. It can be just a place where you store your car and have a tool box with tools to fix some small problems that might occur. So, if that’s what you want but don’t know where to start, we have a basic tool kit list for your garage that’s just a garage.

We must warn you that our basic tool kit list may seem somewhat extensive and full of unfamiliar terms. That’s why we’ve decided to stick merely to listing must-have tools for your garage, without going too deep into how to use them to diagnose and fix all possible problems with your car. Also, extensive as it may seem, you’ll be surprised to find out how little it really is once you get all those must-have garage tools at the hardware store.

1. Ratchet

This must be the most obvious item, essential for any toolbox set. When thinking about garage activities, this must be the first tool that comes to mind. But how to pick the right one? Of course, the most obvious choice is to get a set of those and use whichever suits best for every given situation. But, there’s always a risk that the consultant at the store will treat you like some clueless muggle. Then, you may end up with an extensive set of ratchets most of which you will never use or won’t be able to use.

To avoid such a disappointing upsell, it’s better to have an idea of what ratchet(s) you will most likely use on your car. 3/8 inch is the optimal size that will fit anywhere in most car models. A flexible head and a bent handle will add to the penetrating ability of your ratchet. Usually, a set of three detachable heads will suffice for almost any task.

DEWALT Socket Set, 3/8-Inch Drive, SAE/Metric, 34-Piece (DWMT73804)
  • Mechanic socket set comes in locking, stackable case with removable inner tray
  • Metric socket set 3/8-inch drive exceeds ANSI specifications
  • Socket set metric and standard has 72 tooth count ratchet providing a 5 degree arc swing for maneuverability in restricted areas
  • Clear identification on sockets with hard stamped markings
  • Control while handling sockets with knurled rings

2. Needle Scaler

This is a handy tool to scale off the old paint or rust before repainting your car. For a more mundane purpose, it may also clean your car from large bits of dry dirt with it. It’s essential to have a set of needles that hammer off anything unnecessary from the surface of your car. Various models have different amounts and sizes of needles, but 15-20 1/8-inch needles should do the trick any time. Normally, you should be able to adjust your needle scaler’s speed of operations to make the blows softer or harder.

If your vehicle is prone to corrosion, don’t expect the scaler to solve this problem altogether. It’s not a tool for altering the humidity of the environment or the material from which your car is made. It is, however, effective to get rid of the rusty bits.

Sunex SX246 Pistol Grip Needle Scaler
  • SURFACE PREP WORK: Perfect for surface prep work in the removal of rust, paint, weld slag and corrosion.
  • DURABLE: Equipped with 19 hardened steel needles for a long life.
  • POWERFUL: 1-5/8” piston stroke and 4, 500 blows per minute provide power, comfort and control.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: Aluminum housing provides excellent durability while reducing weight.
  • BPM: 4500

3. Socket Renovation Set

Changing the sockets in your car may be a tricky task, especially when this car isn’t too big and the engine area is too crowded. The sockets that need to change may be difficult to reach, but it doesn’t mean that they are difficult to change. You can do it just as good as a mechanic if you have the best hand tools:

  • 20-inch extension bars. Those allow snapping the socket out and back in. Also, you don’t have to bend yourself to reach the socket that needs changing. It’s handy to avoid overstretching your back or hands.
  • Locking extension bars. Lock those on your ratchet to reach the socket that doesn’t want to come out above the bolt head. Reach the socket with this bar, lock it, – and there it goes.
  • Flexible sockets. Snap them onto your car’s sockets and go like this. This is particularly handy for sockets located in crowded or remote parts of an engine area.
Universal Socket,Self-adjusting Socket Fits Standard 7/16'' - 1-1/4'' Metric 11mm-32mm, Adapter Socket for Wrench Ratchet&Power Drill, Tools Gifts for Men Him Husband Dad Father DIY Handyman Women
  • Universal Socket,Multi-function 11mm-32mm Universal Sockets Metric Ratchet Wrench Power Drill Adapter Socket Professional Repair Tools
  • ADVANCED DESIGN - Universal socket can self-adjust to any size from standard 7/16" to 1-1/4" and metric 11mm to 32mm.
  • FLEXIBLE - Mutilfunctional socket can graso the hex nut, screw eye, hook, tension screw and bolt head. Works on a power drill (adapter not included).
  • SAVE MONEY - Come in handy, and the socket can replace your entire socket set to use in household maintenance, industry, manufacturing, construction.
  • GUARANTEED - If with any reason you are not satisfied with our product, please contact us and you can get a full refund.

4. Pneumatic Wrench

When screwing bolts in or out, don’t rely on your own force, – you know the mechanics don’t. Not only will the wrench allow screwing the bolts in properly, but it’s also particularly helpful when you need to screw out the bolts that got somewhat rusty. It’s possible to buy two different torque wrenches for different impact (for different sizes) or use a digital adapter that adjusts automatically.

AIRCAT 1150 "Killer Torque" 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench, Medium, Black
  • sheer power and performance of 1,295 Feet-pounds (ft-lb) of loosening torque and Max. Torque 900 ft-lbs
  • 1,400 Blows Per Minute makes this the strongest hard hitting Twin Hammer 1/2 Impact Wrench on the market
  • 15-Percent larger rotor creates unmatched power
  • Patented quiet technology at 86 decibels
  • 2 year parts and labor warranty

5. Pressure Testing Kit

When you suspect a leakage, use this to detect it. It comes with a vacuum pump and all the necessary sensors and motors. Of course, you can also detect leakages manually by plugging the vacuum to each end and using a gauge. When you spray on the suspected leakage area, the gauge will react correspondingly.

Astro Pneumatic Tool 78585 Universal Radiator Pressure Tester & Vacuum Type Cooling System Kit
  • Unit is suitable for domestic and import vehicles
  • Special design of vacuum purge and refill tool connection fits nearly all types of radiator openings
  • Blow molded case

6. Set of Screwdrivers

We’ve mentioned that when one is not experienced with garage activities, a sales consultant might try to upsell you some “must-have mechanic tools” that you will never need, so be wary. One might assume that it’s the same with screwdrivers and that it’s possible to go with only two screwdrivers that you surely have somewhere (flathead and Philips’ head), but it’s not the case. You are sure to need different screwdrivers of various thickness, too. Still, it doesn’t mean that you should buy all the screwdrivers in that hardware store. Here are the ones you’ll need:

  • Subdued screwdriver – for removing sensors and operating in tight spaces.
  • Normal-length – for general purposes.
  • Heavy-duty flathead – the one you can hit with a hammer to boost your pry bar.
  • Long and skinny one – to reach a remote place or break something.
  • Small flathead – for holding the intake throttle while tuning up.
TACKLIFE Magnetic Screwdriver Set, 26PCS Professional Screwdriver Set with Case Includes Slotted/Phillips/Torx Precision Screwdrivers for Repairing Home Improvement Craft- HSS1A
  • 【Durable & Anti-corrosion】Screwdriver bar made of 6150 chromium vanadium steel, stronger and tougher than most carbon steel. It is chromium plating produced for corrosion resisted and nice appearance
  • 【Strong Magnetic Tip】Magnetic black oxide non-slip tips with blackening treatment for isolation of air, rust resisted and secure grip in fasteners
  • 【Convenient To Repair】Precision kits are equipped with 360-degree swivel cap, makes it rapid twisting. Ergonomic non-skid and soft-grip handle made of PP+TPR material with excellent durability
  • 【Customized Storage Case】Designated slots in the case keep every piece in place and not falling off and slipping. Sizes are also stamped beside each slot for identification
  • 【26-Piece Different Size 】26 pcs screwdrivers of various sizes can meet your requirements. Suitable for all kinds of projects, electronics, computers, watch repairing, jewelry repairing, and fixing anything with micro screws

7. Pliers

You’ll need these top tools to open your car hood. You will need to do that for working with the brakes, the electric connector, and for changing horses. For all of these jobs, the following pliers should suffice:

  • Regular – the most commonly-used type.
  • Long- and short-need – those can be used for an extended amount of works but are interchangeable for the most part.
  • Vice grip – these are extra comfortable for the hand.
  • Out-of-sight – those mark the movements of your fingers, which makes them particularly handy for clips, clamps, and retainers.
IRWIN VISE-GRIP Pliers Set, 4-Piece (2078707)
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IRWIN VISE-GRIP Pliers Set, 4-Piece (2078707)
  • Constructed from durable nickel chromium steel. Machined jaws for maximum gripping strength.
  • Anti-pinch, non-slip ProTouch Grips provide comfort, control, and less hand fatigue.
  • Includes 6-inch diagonal and slip-joint, 8-inch long nose, and 10-inch groove joint pliers. Tool Wrap rolls small to store easily.
  • Variable-size jaws on slip-joint pliers are a flexible solution for most household needs. Long-nose pliers reach into confined areas.

8. Hammers

Those are arguably the most testosterone-infused garage items. Someone inexperienced might think that such brute force is not used in the repair works today, but it very much is. For instance, it’s often necessary to knock a stuck component – a rotor, for example. Here are the hammers one may need:

  • Ball pein – for general hammering works, including break work;
  • Rubber millet – for gentle knocking that’s supposed to leave no scratches or dents;
  • Framing hammer – made from lighter materials to provide less shock with the same impact;
  • Various bars – for loosening the bolts without denting anything;
  • Extension bars – for reaching remotely located bolts that need loosening;
  • Pry bar – of course, to be used as a pry. Here, pick the size which would be ultimate for your vehicle.
EFFICERE 8-oz. All-Purpose Stubby Hammer with Magnetic Nail Starter, Durable Alloy Steel Head and Fiberglass Handle | Perfect for General Household Projects, Garage, College Dormitory, Office and Shop
  • Drop forged and heated treated alloy steel head provides maximum striking strength
  • Sharpened and curved claw ends generates maximum nail-pulling leverage
  • Finely polished finish with rust-preventative clear coating insures durability and longevity
  • Built-in magnetic nail holder for easy start with one-handed operation
  • Ergonomically designed anti-vibration handle offers extra comfort and non-slip gripping

9. Jack With Stand

This one is a no-brainer. Today, pretty much all jacks are automatic, which is good. A stand is necessary at all times: we don’t recommend relying on a jack alone. Also, always remember to take two wheels off the brakes when you need to use the jack.

BIG RED T43202 Torin Steel Jack Stands: 3 Ton (6,000 lb) Capacity, Red, 1 Pair
  • Lightweight jack stands are used to support your vehicle after lifting with a jack; Wide pyramid foot base provides added strength and stable support
  • Constructed of high-grade forged steel with a welded frame design for durability, it handles a wide range of vehicles including small cars, SUVs, and light duty trucks
  • Adjustable height ranges from 11-1/4" to 16-3/4" with a 3 ton (6,000 lb) load capacity
  • Multi-position ratchet bar has a sawtooth design, allowing for quick height adjustments that lock into place
  • Features a large saddle surface area for better contact with the load being supported; Tested for reliability and safety to meet ASME standards

10. Garage Lights

Even if you have windows in your garage, you cannot always rely on the daylight – just like you don’t rely on it at home. To give your car a little fix (which, you must know, will never be a perfect moment), you must take care that the room is well-lit. It’s essential to be able to see effortlessly when you do such a job.

But – obviously – the lamplight, no matter how strong, will not reach everywhere you need it. That’s why a LED flashlight or LED headlamp is also essential. Even in the daytime, you will surely find them useful. A headlamp is particularly handy because it sets both your hands-free.

Garage Light Tanbaby LED Garage Light E26/E27 Garage Lights Ceiling LED Shop Light 60W Deformable Garage Lights LED Garage Lighting Garage Light Bulb, Garage Lights Ceiling LED for Garage, Barn, Shop
  • 【2021 New Super ULTRA Bright LED Garage Lights】- With 3 ultra-bright adjustable aluminum LED heads,easy to adjust, way brighter than a standard bulb. It features LED technology with 3*48 PCS top quality diodes that total 6000 lumens ,CRI80+, 6000K daylight can give you 85% energy saving for your garage.
  • 【Adjustable Design Bright Garage Light】- Unique wide-angle LED Garage Light design, each wing 90 degree adjustable, which can have a perfect garage lighting distribution curve according to your application, this will make the light cover 360° area.
  • 【Work Shop Light Easy to install, No Wiring Required】- Suitable for E26/E27 base, installation is as simple as a light bulb, but more advanced then a bulb.The light can be easily and quickly directed in many directions. Advanced cooling system, the die-cast aluminum design speeds up heat dissipation and Unique cooling system design under each lamp bead.
  • 【Durable & Long Service Life 60W LED Garage Light Bulb】- This 60W Shop Light have upgraded aluminum fins for cooling, stable and durable under maximum performance, over 50,000 hours of constant runtime makes the maintenance cost sharply cut down.
  • 【What You Get】Tanbaby has standard ETL listed meets North American safety standards. Tanbaby's firendly customer se-rvice and co-mit-ment within 24-month. Don’t touch the panel while it is working, it will hurt you.Pls look for our aviation aluminum panel material, some seller use low quality plastic panel is not safe for you.

11. Tools for Reaching Remote Places

Any car is full of places that one can’t reach with regular must-have tools for the garage but need to reach nevertheless. That’s why you’ll often need smaller essential garage tools like:

  • An additional set of screwdrivers, the small ones;
  • A set of ratcheting screwdrivers;
  • A magnetic flex driver;
  • An additional set of smaller ratchets;
  • A mini-ratchet with detachable heads: star, square, screw, and hex;
  • A mechanics creeper.

12. Screw Pitch Gauge

When you look at any bolt caliber (or any other detail where it’s applicable), it will come in either Imperial or metric system. Sometimes, you can see the difference with a naked eye, but that’s not always the case. Besides, one can’t always see it on the item itself, but it’s always critical to know whether it’s 8mm or 1/8 inch. That’s why a screw pitch gauge should be in your basic tool kit list.

Grip Thread Pitch Gauge MM & SAE Markings
  • Use to provide the correct size drill bit, or to size fastener to determine what bit should to use.
  • Heavy duty gauge steel.
  • Measures drill bits from 1/16” to 1/2”.
  • Folds away for easy storage.

A Few Bonus Tips: Organizing Your Garage Tool Box Set

When you’re not a car enthusiast, you will barely find the time (or desire) to fix up your car until it’s an emergency. To make that quick fix quick, you’ll need to have all your essential garage tools at hand. For us, muggles, even the most orderly garage with all the best garage tools, a mechanic’s pride, will often look like a total mess where one couldn’t possibly find any must-have mechanic tools easily. Well, mechanics do always find all the top tools, and there’s no magic to that. With a little advice, so can you.

If there’s a sporting goods store where you’ve been more than once, you may have noticed how easily they can rearrange their space according to seasonal display needs. You may also have noticed those vertical slats with numerous hooks and bins. Well, it’s not some secret technology to which only store owners have access. You can implement this system for your toolbox set. And then you can effortlessly experiment with it all you want until you find the right “Feng Shui.” Eventually, you’ll come up with an optimal solution for your best garage tools, and – trust us – it will come sooner than one would imagine. Admittedly, your toolbox with tools might still look somewhat messy, not too aesthetically pleasing, but quite functional nevertheless.

Also, when you’re not a car enthusiast, the best garage tools that we’ve listed here should suffice. Even when you get all those top tools, your toolbox set still won’t take up much space. It may get tempting to scatter them all over your garage. It’s even more tempting to store all sorts of junk you barely ever need in the garage, – like so many of us do. The elephant in this room is that it’s best to keep all your best hand tools in one place, close to each other. Find a spot that you feel is the most comfortable for all your must-have mechanic tools and have them located there at all times.

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