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5 auto mechanic tools you need to have in your car

We all hate that feeling we get when you have to pull over to the side of the road because you’ve heard the car make a funny sound. Maybe you’ve even been unable to avoid something on the road and you’ve hit it.

I managed to get down to about 30km/h from 100km/h after this bucket rolled across in front of the silver car, and hit it square in the sump guard. Fortunately, it was plastic

What’s even worse about pulling up on the side of the road, incapacitated, is not being able to do anything about it because you simply don’t have the tools for it. But what if we told you these five tools could fix a great many of your vehicle problems?

Screwdrivers and pliers

You can go a long way with a simple set of flathead and Philips screwdrivers in different sizes and a good set of pliers.

Jack

A car jack is another tool that you cannot leave your house without having it in your car. Most cars will have one secured in the boot (most commonly with the spare wheel, space saver wheel or inflation kit). One of the most common types of car trouble you could face is a flat tyre. You can’t change a tyre without having something to lift your car up and that is why having a car jack is essential.

Allen keys and a socket set

What’s more annoying than needing to unscrew a bolt, but not having the tool for it? According to the gears4wheels list of essential auto mechanic tools, hex wrench sets (or allen key sets) and socket sets are two of the most useful things for basic car maintenance.

Tyre air pressure gauge

Remember to check the tyres when they are cold, not when they are warm after a long drive

Instead of having to go to a mechanic to check on your tyre pressure, get a tyre pressure gauge. They are inexpensive and convenient. All you have to do is connect your device to your tyre’s valve and then read the meter. That way, you won’t need to go out of your way to get a tyre check-up at a service station. If you drive in situations where you may need to alter the tyre pressure regularly (e.g. off-road), you could invest in an air compressor and a tyre inflator and take care of everything yourself.

Anything else?

The list we’ve mentioned is what we believe are five tools you should never take out of your car; especially on road trips. That’s not all, though. It is also important that you know how to use these tools because you never know when your car could give you trouble. Granted, there’s always roadside assistance, but what if your phone is dead?

Along with these tools, it’s good to carry a cloth or rag, some gloves and a knife (e.g. a box cutter). If you are driving in difficult conditions, you’ll need an emergency kit with more items in so that you’re not in danger if you’re stranded in plummeting temperatures.

Keep the tools in a safe place. The glovebox is ideal for the knife as you may need to get at it to cut a seatbelt. The remainder can be in the boot.

If you want to get advanced, you could keep an electric impact wrench in the vehicle. Have you ever tried to unscrew a nut, but it was just too stuck? If you have, then you know how challenging it is, and what the risks are of wrecking the nut, rendering it immovable. Thanks to impact wrenches, you could easily remove or tighten any lugs or bolts. Because they’re battery-powered, you don’t even have to break a sweat. It doesn’t get any easier, right?

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Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

Tagged with: , | Posted in Advice
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