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Basic Car Toolkit: 20 Essential Tools to Keep in Your Car

Basic Car Toolkit: 20 Essential Tools to Keep in Your Car

If you're planning to build your basic car toolkits, consider the following 20 essential tools: 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


  1. A set of sockets
  2. Wire cutters and pliers
  3. A set of wrenches
  4. Impact wrench
  5. Breaker bars
  6. A screwdriver
  7. Rubber mallet
  8. Floor Jack and ramps
  9. Jack stands
  10. Oil drain pan
  11. Oil funnels
  12. Torque wrenches
  13. Grease remover
  14. Flashlight
  15. Multimeter
  16. Zip ties
  17. A jump start
  18. Cleaners and lubricants
  19. An OBDII scanner
  20. Your vehicle's owners manual

Dealing with cars problems in the middle of the drive can be a little bit overwhelming. That's why many automotive experts recommend learning one or two things about how to maintain or fix simple elements in your car. However, even if you have the required knowledge on fixing things, you still need some simple tools to help you get the job done fast and efficiently.

When it comes to car tools, you might get overwhelmed with the number of tools you encounter in the auto shop. That's why automotive experts provided a summary of simple tools that you can compile together and build your basic car toolkit.

This article walks you through 20 essential tools to keep in your car that could help you get out of emergencies without any problem.

Basic car toolkit: 20 essential tools to keep in your car

Fixing simple items in your car is no longer a complicated job because many companies designed simple tools to help you get out of emergency situations without needing advanced or any mechanical skill sets.


You will most likely need some tools for most car repairs, and having these tools in your car can be very handy and save you a ton of time waiting for the towing service or roadside assistance. Let's take a closer look at which you should include in your basic car toolkit:

1-    A set of sockets

When building your basic car toolkits, you must include a good set of sockets because you'll need them in most car repairs. Of course, you have to purchase the largest or biggest inventory of sockets, but at least you need to have the six millimeter and 19-millimeter sockets plus the ratchets and extensions.

2-    Wire cutters and pliers

Whenever you're dealing with anything that has to do with electric connections in your car, you'll need a good pair of wire cutters or pliers. These become very handy if you're planning to install a new hardware connection, and you'll find a lot of good examples in many stores or online.

3-    A set of wrenches

When working with your vehicle, you'll have to have a good set of wrenches. If you're not planning to get a bigger inventory, at least you need to have the open-ended branches and the ratcheting side wrenches. Those are expected to be used in many car repairs.

4-    Impact wrench

Impact wrenches are considered an option added to your basic car toolkit. It is not a necessity, but if you have, it adds another layer. Flexibility for you, especially if you're planning to rotate your tires yourself. The best thing about the impact wrenches is out there very fast, and they are electric-powered to help you remove any work fast without getting hurt.

5-    Breaker bars

The breaker bars are specific types of ratchet that start much longer than the regular ones. You'll need them to remove any bolts or nuts located in inaccessible areas in your vehicle.

6-    A screwdriver

Most of us have screwdrivers around our household; however, having specific screwdrivers in your basic car toolkit helps you sometimes save, especially if you're dealing with the issues when you're outside your house. Have you ever seen any tool kit without the screwdriver? Well, of course not!

7-    Rubber mallet

If your vehicle has issues with the bumpers or any stuck bolts, you can easily rely on The rubber mallet to help you resolve the issue without needing a mechanic.

8-    Floor Jack and ramps

There are many instances where you must raise your vehicle to a certain height to work underneath your car. For example, one of the very simple and most common types of scheduled maintenance is oil changes, and when you're doing an oil change, you will need to drain the old oil.

Typically, you'll have to remove the drain plug that's located underneath your vehicle, and depending on your vehicle's brand, in some instances, you'll have to raise your vehicle using feet floor Jack.

9-    Jack stands

Whether you're using ramps or floor jacks, you must have a Jack stand to help secure your vehicle and ensure that it doesn't move to prevent any safety issues.

10- Oil drain pan

Speaking of an oil change, if you're planning to change your vehicle's oil, you'll have to have a specific bucket or oil pan to collect any oil drips. Typically, you must never allow oil to reach the soil or the surrounding environment because it impacts it And causes pollution.

11- Oil funnels

Funnels are a great addition to add to your basic toolkit because you'll need them when pouring many types of fluids into your vehicle. For instance, when performing an oil change, you'll have to ensure that oil gets inside the reservoir without causing any spills. Since the reservoirs planning is small, having a funnel helps you complete the job easily without any masses.

12- Torque wrenches

A specific example of ratchets that has some nuts to ensure the right tightness are called torque wrenches. There are many instances where you need to use this specific type of wrenches to install your vehicle tires or tighten something quickly.

The best thing about the torque wrenches is that you can achieve an accurate tightening depending on, which is specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, so you don't have to worry about under or over-tightening your bolts.

13- Grease remover

The grease remover won't necessarily fix your vehicle, but it becomes very handy when you're dealing with a lot of grease around your car. Wiping off the grease helps you maintain a clean interior and ensures that your vehicle looks taken care of.

14- Flashlight

Purchasing a good LED flashlight helps you complete your job successfully, especially if you're working in dark or deep areas. However, many flashlights have different capabilities, and we recommend that deal review all the characteristics of each flashlight to get a better one without breaking your budget.

15- Multimeter

The multimeter is a very important digital device that helps you diagnose many components in your car. Using this device, you can tell whether certain components are failing or about to fail. This helps you plan and expect coming repair costs without surprises.

16- Zip ties

When working around many wires and connections, having small elements like zip ties helps you organize your work and combine and bundle wires together without any messes.

17- A jump start

There are many types of jumpstarts available on the market. Some of them are sent along with jump starters that do not require any power source because they have their power source. However, there are different types of jump stars that are just cables where you can connect them to another vehicle and get your vehicle going in cases of battery problems.

18- Cleaners and lubricants

Many car problems might sound very severe, but they can be easily fixed by applying lubricants and cleaners. Therefore, consider purchasing specific types that work perfectly for your car. For instance, consider buying brake parts cleaner, silicone lubricant, and others.

19- An OBDII scanner

When your vehicle has internal problems, it will most likely communicate with you through a check engine light. To read what's going on, you'll have to use a small tool called the OBD2 scanner. This scanner helps you understand what's going on internally in your vehicle, and depending on the type of scanner; you might get additional information like potential causes and recommended repairs. For example, in some advanced OBDII scanners, you'll get an idea about potential expected repair costs.

20- Your vehicle's owner’s manual

Your vehicles owner’s manual is one of the essential elements that you'll have in your basic toolkit. It provides you with detailed recommendations about where to find specific parts in how to change certain elements. It also tells you whether your vehicle is compatible with certain things like synthetic oil or not.

Your manual should have a detailed list of scheduled maintenance that you have to maintain to prevent vehicle breakdowns. Following this scheduled maintenance helps you prevent voiding your warranty in some instances.

2021-2022 basic car toolkits

If you don't want to bother to build your customized car toolkits, you can always select from the available ones in the market. They are many examples of car toolkits that you can select from. Although it's great to have many options, it can be overwhelming for inexperienced drivers to select the best car toolkit.

Therefore, our team conducted a detailed review of the market's best basic car toolkits as of 2021-2022. Let's take a look at the top picks:

  • Crescent CTK170CMP2 Mechanics Tool Set
  • Craftsman 450-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Set
  • JH Williams WSC-1390TB Tool Set Complete
  • DEWALT DWMT81534 205Pc Mechanics Tool Set
  • Craftsman 165 pc Mechanics Tool Set
  • Stanley STMT71654 201-Piece Mechanics Tool Set
  • Crescent CTK170MPN Mechanics Tool Set
  • DEWALT Mechanics Tools Kit and Socket Set
  • Craftsman 230-Piece Mechanics Tool Set
  • WORKPRO W009044A 408-Piece Mechanics Tool Set
  • Kobalt Standard/Metric Mechanics Tool Set
  • WORKPRO Socket Wrench Set
  • DEWALT DWMT75049 Mechanics Tools Set
  • DEWALT DWMT81533 172pc Mechanics Tool Set
  • DEKOPRO 192 Piece Mechanics Tool Set

Before choosing any of the mentioned this week or two kits, you must understand the main pros and cons. Sometimes the toolkits might have more tools than what you need. Therefore, understanding what's inside each toolkit helps you make an informed decision and not waste your money.

How do you start understanding cars?

While it's critical to have the necessary tools in your car, it is also important to build a good understanding of your vehicle. You don't have to be an experienced mechanic to understand every detail about your car, but having a general understanding helps you get out of emergencies without waiting for the repair shop.

Here are some experts’ recommendations on how you start understanding your car:

  • Start simple and watch some general video tutorials
  • Dig deeper until certain elements add gain a full understanding by performing a thorough, detailed research
  • Join some forums that have enthusiastic People who are looking to learn more about their cars
  • Visit your Public Library and select a series of books that walks you through some details about your vehicle
  • Follow certain youtube videos or channels that are focused on car repairs
  • Get social and get connected to some local car dealerships and other meetings that discuss car fares
  • Consider investing in a class that is dedicated to car repair
  • Familiarize yourself with your vehicles owner’s manual

Basic car toolkit: final thoughts

Learning how to fix simple items in your car is a great deal, but things can get complicated without specific elements and tools. Therefore, automotive experts recommended that you build your basic car toolkit to help you perform the necessary repairs without needing a mechanic.

This article summarized 20 essential tools to consider when building your basic car toolkit. These tools are commonly used in most car fairs and will be handy whenever you perform one.

While you'll get out of many emergencies by performing simple car repairs, you might get to a point where your car problems are related to major components, and these components might require significantly high repair costs. When this happens, you must evaluate the situation and compare repair costs to your vehicle's value. When you find out that repair costs are close to 75% or more of your car's value, it could be the best time to sell your car and buy a better one.

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  • Describe your car’s type and condition
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  • Accept the quote
  • Get your car removed and receive your cash payment on the spot!

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