Basic Tools for Car Maintenance (Every Garage Should Have)

Published on: January 16, 2022
Written by Eric Devin / Fact-checked by David Rowan

Cleaning, oiling, and small-scale repairing fall into the ‘car maintenance’ category. Most of the maintenance and emergency work like replacing a flat tire, replacing oil, cleaning the grease, and soldering undone connections are usually done at home. Based on the experience of the owner and the car model, the maintenance routine, and required tools changes. 

basic tools for car maintenance

On the other hand, workers in automobile shops or repair shops already are in the business. So, to fix and service a wider range of cars, they must store the most updated tools in their shops and garages. 

So, we tried to make a list of basic tools that are more or less used by professionals, and also a more convenient version for beginners and homeowners. We have enlisted three or four alternatives for a similar tool in our list. This should help to determine which tools you need for maintaining your car. 

Car Maintenance Tools

Tools for Lubricating and Cleaning

Basic car maintenance starts with cleaning. A car owner must know the cleaning and lubricating routine for a vehicle unless the car needs frequent visits to the mechanics.


It is a must-have for cleaning any grease and hard stains from any surface. This foamy grease cutter serves an all-purpose use in different cleaning tasks. Cleaning stubborn grease from stuck nuts and bolts eases up the process of removing those for better inspection.

Mini-Grease Gun

Most people use small cans of grease and dunk screwdrivers in it for lubing up the small parts and brakes. I recommend getting this dispenser which comes with a nozzle. Applying grease to tiny parts has never been cleaner and easier. The small spray nozzle reaches hard-to-reach places and also uses a minimal amount of grease.

Brake Cleaner Dispenser

This kind of empty dispenser is available for applying lubricant. Buy a 5-gallon lubricant and fill this dispenser every time you need to lube up your car or bike. It is quite handy compared to using lubricants straight out of bottles.

Wire Brush Set

Dirt build-up is the most annoying enemy for car maintenance. Clean up any dust or dirt as soon as you can. These brushes work on dirt that is mixed with grease and creates a thick layer. Often those are hard to clean with a regular cleaning brush. This brush just makes things easier.

Oil Pan/Drip Tray and Funnel

The funnel is for pouring oil into the tank and the drip pan is to catch any grease, oil, or drippings from the car to save the floor. The last thing we want after car maintenance is to drag all the dripped grease from the garage to our home with our shoes. Thankfully, oil pans are there to save the day.

Kitty Litter

I know it is weird to keep kitty litter in the garage. People also frown upon this but trust me, there is a specific reason for this. If there is any stain of grease on the floor, cover it with kitty litter. All the grease or oil will be soaked up so that there is no chance of spreading a few drops of oil all over the floor.


Everyone must keep a bag of rugs within hand reach while doing maintenance work on cars. Microfiber rugs are the best to wipe off hands and small tools to clean sticky substances.

Wrench/Spanner, HEX Key, Plier, and Screwdriver Sets

These are the basics for maintaining or fixing any kind of electric appliances and equipment. For car and vehicle maintenance, these tools should be chosen carefully. Professionals can go for wrenches and drivers of a wide range but regular maintenance at home can be done with a few versatile tools.

Socket Set

Removing bolts and nuts is easier with a socket compared to a wrench. It holds the bolt or nut from all around and less likely slips off. This kind of socket set is used by auto mechanics. These are available in different sizes. For auto maintenance, usually 10mm to 19 mm are mostly used. There are also extensions included in this set for hard-to-reach areas. Make sure to get one that offers storage as well. Otherwise, these tools keep getting lost easily.

Coloured Socket Sets

Another alternative for a socket set is this color-coded set. By one look you can tell its size without looking for the engravings. This is somewhat new in the market and I am satisfied with it. 

Adjustable Spanner/Wrench

Those who don’t want to spend on a whole set of spanners can have this adjustable wrench. There is a problem with using this wrench. You have to adjust this every time you work on various-size bolts. This is not very wise to use for professional auto mechanics. 

Colored Spanners

Just like the socket set, there is also a whole new set of spanner sets available in the market. It lessens the hassle of adjusting an automatic spanner and reduces the maintenance work drastically. Just look for the color, not the imprinting on the spanner. 

Impact Wrench

Gone are the days of using a wrench manually. Get this impact wrench for doing the job within seconds automatically. Professionals, who know their worth must invest in this to quicken their car maintenance and repair skills. 

Wheel/Lug Wrench (Tyre Iron)

Who wants to have a flat tire where there are no garages or mechanic shops nearby? Maybe a lug wrench is all you need to replace the wheel by yourself. Other wrenches also work, but a tire iron or lug wrench just makes things easier. Even if you already have a load of various sizes of wrenches, get this one just to keep in the trunk. 

Oil Filter Wrench 

Oil filter wrenches are available in different sizes. Get the one that fits your car’s oil filter. Changing oil is not possible without this filter. 


It is best to get a whole set of screwdriver bits and handles. There are screwdriver sets that over handles and two types of screwdriver heads -cross and flat. Plastic-made comfortable handles are usually slippery. Wooden handles and hardened bits are the best to use for automobiles. 

Automatic Wire Stripper

This magic wire stripper self-adjusts its cutter to the wire size. Press the handle and it cuts through the rubber and strips off the covering. A wire stripper is useful for doing soldering work in car engines.

Trolley Jack/Axle Stand and Wheel Chocks

An axle stand or trolley jack lifts up the car. Don’t forget to use wheel chocks when you are lifting your car with a trolley jack or axle stand. It is a dangerous practice not to use the chokes as even when the car is lifted on one side, it is still possible to roll down the car from the stand. 

T-Bar Sets

T bar is also known as a T-handle. It is an alternative to using an Allen key or a socket. However, this set is quite handy than using an Allen key for removing or tightening bolts. 

Damaged Stud/Screw/Bolt Removal Set

damaged stud, screw, bolt removal set

This set is incredible. If you have an impact driver or electric screwdriver or power drill, this set can be used. Use these bits instead of regular drill bits. These bits pierce through a jammed screw. When it is moved backward, the screw will come along with this bit. Surely saves time to manually do this unpleasant job. 

Zip Ties

Tidy up all the wires using zip ties. It is healthy for the wires as those are less likely to touch any heated surface under the bonnet. There are countless other uses of zip ties and you can never have too many of these. 

Heat Gun or Blow Torch

These are useful for removing screws from a sensitive areas inside the car. Use the torch or gun to heat up the bolt or outer perimeter of the screw and it will enlarge and help to loosen up the screw. 

Duct Tape & Electrical Tape

Electric tapes are a must to join together two wires. Any kind of tape is a must for car maintenance. You never know when you need this. Tapes are true friends and never leave our side during emergencies. 

Air Compressor

From blowing out dusty car parts to operating pneumatic power tools, or using a sprayer to spray plasti-dip, there are numerous reasons to have an air compressor in the garage. This compressor is inexpensive but it does a great favor. When you have an air compressor, you will get to use cheap power tools run by air pressure. Using electric ones is many times more expensive than pneumatic ones. 

Factory Service Manual

Are you an auto mechanic? Driver? Or a new car owner? No matter how much you are attached to your car, if you wish to maintain your car on your own, then the factory service manual is your lifesaver. It not only helps you to know more about the car but also gives advice on troubleshooting different problems. 

Tools for Safety

Maintenance or servicing a car in a private garage or ​repair shop requires some safety measures. In fact, before purchasing regular car maintenance tools, being prepared with this safety equipment is necessary. Fire Extinguisher

Work Light

You will always need a flashlight, headlamp, and a torch in the car. The flashlight will illuminate a large area so that you can find out what’s wrong. Headlamps are handy and let us work with both hands. Torchlight is a better solution for the inspection of the car. 


Do you live in humid weather? Then wearing nitrile gloves is a better choice. These are breathable and comfortable. On the other hand, some prefer latex gloves as they are disposable. In cold weather, use a mechanical glove and wear the nitrile glove on it. The nitrile gloves will save your hand from toxic chemicals, 

Fire Extinguisher 

The oil, lubricant, cleaner, and spray paints we use on the car are extremely flammable. So, being prepared with a fire extinguisher is the wisest decision. 

Key Steps for Changing a Car’s Oil

1. Warm up the engine: Start the car and let it run for a few minutes to warm up the engine oil, then turn the engine off.

2. Raise the car: Use a car jack or ramps to raise the car so you can access the oil pan underneath.

3. Drain the oil: Place a drain pan under the oil pan and remove the oil drain plug. Let the oil drain out completely.

4. Replace the oil filter: Unscrew the oil filter and replace it with a new one.

5. Refill the oil: Refill the oil with the recommended oil for your vehicle.

6. Replace the oil drain plug: Replace the oil drain plug and torque it to the manufacturer’s specifications.

7. Lower the car: Lower the car off the jack or ramps.

8. Check the oil level: Start the engine and check the oil level with the dipstick. Add more oil if needed.


Some tools to use on cars are common and some are specified. Sof example, the screwdriver, socket set, etc. are used in every car. But to use an oil filter wrench, the model of the car is important. Car owners, who plan to DIY their own maintenance skills should choose tools depending on the car they have. 

Automobile mechanics and engineers must-have tools that are versatile, naturally, repair shop owners must have a huge collection of a wide range of tools to meet their client’s needs. No matter what your purpose is, there should be only one motto to maintaining a car: the more maintenance the longer life.

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About This Writer

author eric devin

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

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