Automotive Tools and Supply Buying Guide

Ready to get your own toolbox started or add to an existing one? You came to the right place. We are a team of ASE certified online mechanics that have created a list of tools and supplies which is needed to complete almost any repair job. We have also included some "inside" notes from us about the subjects below.

Because of today's manufacturing capabilities the cost of such tools and supplies are much lower than in the past. Granted there is a level of quality and availability must be considered as well, but in general prices are much more affordable for the novice and even the more experienced mechanic.

If you have kids or anyone that is interested in car repair have them help and do the job with you. They too can start to learn this valuable trade which will save them money throughout their lifetimes. Working on cars is also a good social environment. When doing repair is important to take your time and not force anything, patience is a virtue and it definitely applies here.

Your car will be a big expense throughout your lifetime of driving second only to your home so this small investment will pay off in a big way for you, family and your friends.

Having the skill to be auto mechanic is a noble and needed profession. In this fast changing world where computers and robots seem to be taking jobs away at a record pace, it is very doubtful they will ever be able to fix a car.

Here is a list of the basic tools and supplies needed to do your own car repairs in your garage or car port. You could actually open your own small car repair business with these tools and supplies. We even show you how to use all of the tools listed in our repair guides.

Learn More: Car Repair Guides

We have broken down the tools and supplies you will need into each category:

In This Guide

  • Safety
  • Tools and Toolboxes
  • Equipment
  • Fluids and cleaners
  • Floor jack, stands and ramps
  • Shop supplies
  • Repair manuals
  • Cleaning supplies

Personal Safety

These items are beneficial to keep you safe from harm when working and your car. In the old days mechanics used to work on cars with their hands while getting them all greasy along with everything they touch including interior steering wheel, seats and carpet. Gloves offer protection, an "additional layer of skin" if you will to avoid cuts plus they keep the grease from getting under your fingernails. Gloves also grip onto metal surfaces better and when removed you will have instantly clean hands. They are not that expensive and well worth the extra step to put them on.

  • Work gloves

Protective eye wear is a must when working on cars because many items such as dirt and small pieces of metal that can fly into your eyes while hammering or when you are working under the car.

  • Eye protection

Grease and engine grim can ruin normal clothes so it's a good idea to have at least one pair of pants, shirt and shoes when working with cars. You can wash these clothes in your washer if they don't get too dirty because today's detergent is super strong and can break down grease better then yesterdays soaps. But, if you get them really greasy its best to take them to a laundry mat and don't wash them with you normal clothes.

  • Work clothes

Tools and Toolboxes

To begin, check your parents' or grandparents' toolbox and try to use any tools they are not using anymore. Gathering tools from the past is a good way to save money and the quality is generally better. Avoid using tools that are worn or damaged because doing so will round bolts and strip screw heads which can make the job much more difficult than it needs to be. Some mechanics like to keep all of their tools of the same manufacturer like; Snap On or MAC tools which are higher end tools but is it really up to the individual. Better tool companies will offer a lifetime warranty so if you break anything they will exchange the broken tool for free.

You can purchase mechanics tools and toolboxes from various places such as:

  • Snap on
  • Sears
  • Mac Tools
  • Home Depot
  • Amazon

When purchasing tool sizes it's best to get metric because that is what newer cars use. But if you have some old standard sizes you can use them in a pinch because some of them are close in size, here is a list; 5/16 = 8mm, 7/16 = 11mm, 1/2 = 13mm, 9/16 = 15mm, 5/8 = 16mm, 11/16 = 17mm, 3/4 = 19mm. The larger sizes are even more forgiving in variance. Keep your tools in a cool dry place and use wd40 on them to keep the rust away. Always clean your tools by wiping them down before putting them away. Its best if you keep them organized in your toolbox for easy removal. A disorganized tool box will add a significant amount of time while you are looking for tools for each job you perform.

  • Mechanics tool sets
  • Tool boxes
  • Wrench sets
  • Screwdriver set
  • Line wrenches
  • Universal sockets
  • Socket extensions
  • Torque wrench
  • Breaker bar
  • Impact screwdriver
  • Chisel and Punch Set
  • File set
  • Pry bar set
  • Ball peen hammer
  • Plastic hammer
  • Rechargeable 3/8 and 1/2 drive impact gun
  • Rechargeable 1/4 and 3/8 drive ratchet
  • Rechargeable flashlight
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Channel lock set
  • Side cutters
  • Electrical pliers
  • Gasket scraper set
  • Transmission funnel
  • Seal and race installer
  • Axle and bearing puller
  • Hose clamp tool

Brake Tools

Brake tools are specialized tools which are needed for the removal of brake springs which or used for the rear brake shoe and parking brake shoe replacement or service. Additional tools help reset the brake caliper and bleed the brake system and adjust the brake shoes.

  • Caliper reset tool
  • Spring tool
  • Adjusting tool
  • Complete brake tool set
  • Shoe retainer spring release tool
  • Suction bleeder tool


The items below are necessary to lift the car off of the ground and support it correctly which is a safety issue. This is one section you do not want to skimp on, quality is key for anyone getting underneath their car to work on it. Other items include a code reader which will help pull trouble codes from your car.

  • Engine code reader (only)
  • Engine, ABS, air bag SRS, transmission code reader
  • Test light
  • Voltmeter
  • Floor creeper
  • Battery charger
  • Air compressor
  • Oil catch pan
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Ramps
  • Tire blocks

Air Conditioner

To extend your talents beyond basic repairs you can also add air conditioner repair as well using our step be step guides which can help anyone become an expert in this realm.

  • Gauge set and vacuum pump
  • r134a refrigerant
  • r134a Leak Detector


Before purchasing fluid such as motor oil of coolant consult your owners manual or the under hood service sticker to see what kind of fluids your car takes. This is especially important for the brake system fluid.

  • Motor oil
  • Coolant
  • Washer fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Gear oil
  • Power steering fluid
  • Brake fluid

Shop Supplies

Every repair garage needs to have cleaning liquids and aerosol sprays to perform a proper repair job. Also various small part assortments such as oil drain plug washers help do the job right and avoid leaks.

  • Shop towels
  • Carburetor cleaner
  • Brake Cleaner
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Gasket sealer
  • Oil drain plug washer assortment
  • Vacuum cap assortment
  • Electrical connector assortment
  • Zip tie assortment
  • Body panel clip assortment
  • Oil spill cleaner
  • Metric bolt assortment
  • Metric washer assortment

If you have any questions about tools or equipment please visit our forum and will answer them.

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