Not everyone likes to, or can, do their own car repairs and maintenance. Modern lifestyle does dictate that some people just do not have the time to get under the hood, and some people simply do not know a thing about cars except to put it in “D” and step down. However, there are a few things that a person should always have if they own a car. It is almost irresponsible to not have at least some automotive tools in the trunk or the garage at home, in case a vehicle can’t be taken into the shop.
Socket to me
Most important to get is a set of socket wrenches. Craftsman makes a decent set, and so do many other companies. It should include a full set of English (measurements in inches) and Metric sized sockets, both shallow and deep. There should be at least three different-sized drive wrenches. A 1/4″ drive socket is adequate for taking out and replacing the oil drain plug, but not for a belt tensioner. If a person buys only one thing on this list, a socket set should be it.
Many socket sets include them, but a set of standard wrenches, English and Metric, is always a good idea. The closed end ratcheting wrenches are a dream come true for many an amateur mechanic.
Jack to the future
Though the standard jack included with most cars will work, a hydraulic jack is a great investment. Many come with a set of stands.
Spark the herald angels sing
A spark plug socket is a deep socket, with a long rubber washer inside which grasps the long end of a spark plug. It increases control and accuracy when replacing them. The quality of the threading is important when changing spark plugs.
Torque in the road
Some repairs require exact pressures, so a torque wrench is a must.
Manual should be automatic
Chilton published DIY manuals for decades, and Cengage still publishes automotive repair manuals under the Chilton name. After purchasing a car, that should be the first accessory. The holidays are not far off, and all of these things make great gifts. Just remember, any repair that one is uncomfortable performing should be referred to a qualified mechanic.