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December 17, 2014

AskPatty’s Holiday Gift Guides: 10 Tools Every Home Mechanic Should Have

Woman_with_tools-thinkstock-151019253Taking your car to a professional mechanic can end up costing you hundreds of dollars and eat away at your savings. Most people don’t realize that it can be easy to do simple repairs and car maintenance yourself, saving time and money -- as long as you’ve got the right tools.

With Christmas just around the corner, this is the perfect time to stock the toolbox of the mechanic you love, or even your own toolbox! The tool man Chris Duke, Automotive Improvement Expert, shares advice about ten tools should be in the toolbox of every home mechanic.

Toolbox-thinkstock-76800398“Everyone should know how to replace a tire and check your oil, but people don’t realize just how easy it is to fix simple problems with your car and save yourself a trip to the shop,” affirms Duke. “All you need is a little instruction and a chest with the necessary tools.”

Here are ten suggested tools handy do-it-yourselfer should keep in their toolbox:

1. Adjustable Wrench. Also commonly referred to as a "Crescent Wrench," which is a brand name. Works in a pinch when you don't have a complete socket set. You can even keep one in the glove box of your car.

Socket_set_tools-thinkstock-4662654892. Standard and Metric Socket Set. Used for just about every job, make sure you have the most complete set of sockets you can afford, along with a ratchet and small-to-long extensions. You don't need to get 1/2-inch sockets unless your budget allows, but definitely pick up 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch socket sets.

3. Screwdrivers. "One size fits all" doesn't always work here, because you don't want to strip the heads of those fasteners. Get the most complete set of Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers you can find, and get some short ones too. These aren't expensive, especially if you buy a pack of them.

4. Cordless Drill Driver. There's nothing more time-consuming and frustrating than having to wrench! Pick up a few socket adapters for your 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch sockets, too.

Socket_near_car_tools-thinkstock-1793046335. Needle-nose Pliers. You will always need to grip something, especially in tight spots. While it's great to have regular pliers around, the needle-nose is most useful.

6. Pry bars. Get a few at different lengths. Having some extra leverage is always a good idea when you can't get something to budge!

7. Breaker bar. Some bolts just don't want to move, no matter how hard you try. When you need the extra torque, use a breaker bar. Many times, even power tools won't work when a breaker bar will.

8. Torque wrench. Once you've removed parts, you need to make sure you put them back on per the manufacturer's recommended torque specification. This is a required tool for those lug nuts, too.

9. Hammers. Every tool chest should have a rubber mallet. It's the ultimate persuasion device. Unless you're a carpenter, a regular claw hammer won't do you much good, so keep that in the house for hanging your pictures. Get a ball peen hammer, which is more applicable to automotive work.

10. Work gloves. Get a good pair that fits your hands right. They'll save you from bloody knuckles, torn skin, metal splinters, and more. 

Chris-Duke“Keeping these tools within reach allows you to be able to do minor repairs or improvements on your vehicle yourself, saving you money in the long run,” affirms Duke. “With these tools at hand, you can practically avoid the car shop altogether and become a home mechanic.”

As an Automotive Improvement Expert, Chris Duke has helped demonstrate to millions of people how to do their own vehicle repairs and improvements through his show, titled Motorz, which airs each week to 125 million households around the U.S., Canada, and beyond. He has more than 27 years of experience in the vehicle customization field and is an official Craftsman Tool Advisor. His website features show clips, parts, information, interviews, and moreHis specialty areas are in late model vehicles, making upgrades with aftermarket products, and in vehicle maintenance. For more information, visit his site


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