Car Care 101: 7 Essential Tools for Basic Auto Maintenance

Car Tools

Sometimes, it’s better to do your car maintenance yourself instead of having to bring it to the nearest shop. It’s cheaper, quicker, and a fun learning experience. But don’t go making modifications just yet! You need to be knowledgeable when it comes to auto maintenance. Otherwise, you might end up damaging essential parts from the steel tubes to the engine.

Now, the first thing to note about DIY Car Maintenance is that you have to have the right tools for the job. And in case you’re just a beginner, here are some basic tools that should be found inside your garage.


There are actually two types of screwdrivers: standard and Phillips. The standard screwdriver has a flat head and it’s perfect for tightening or loosening screws with linear notches. The Phillips screwdriver, on the other hand, has a 4-pointed star shape at its end, which is ideal for screws with cross-shaped notches. Both can be useful for basic auto maintenance.


The wrench is also one of the most common tools for basic vehicle repair. It comes with many types, including socket wrenches, torque wrenches, combination wrenches, adjustable wrenches, ratchet wrenches and many others. Start stacking up on those wrenches, son!


Pliers are easy to handle and adjust, and you can use them in various situations to cut, grab, bend or turn. Like wrenches, pliers come in many types, each with a specific uses particularly when it comes to repairs. These include the slip joint, groove joint, locking, needle nose and diagonal cutters. A typical pair of pliers consists to two levers that are pivoted by a fulcrum at one point.

Hex Keys

Used to tighten bolts, this tool has a hexagon shape on one end to match a six-sided hole in the car. It usually comes in sets (usually held together in a keychain) so you can tighten or loosen bolts of different sizes as you please. You can even get hex keys for your ratchet wrenches so you can remove or place larger bolts easier and faster.


Designed for tire-checking, gauges have two distinct types: the tire pressure gauge and the tread depth gauge. The former is used to measure tire pressure while the latter is perfect for measuring the treads. There’s one other thing to remember when getting gauges: go for the dial instead of the stick.

Eye Protection

When working on your wheels, it’s best to be able to see everything clearly. Wearing something to protect your eyes can do just that, preventing anything that might impair your vision as you check your vehicle’s intimate parts.

Work Lights

Another thing you need to have to see clearly while doing basic auto maintenance is good lighting. As much as possible, get a set with an adjustable stand so you can use both your hands to do the repairs.

There’s obviously more to auto maintenance than what this post discussed, but these seven tools will give you the start you need.