With any tool, I am of the attitude that if you do your research and buy the right tool, it should last a lifetime.
From my experience it is better to spend more on the right high quality tool to have the tool work properly to avoid accidents, get the job done as best as possible, and provide you with good use for years and years!
That said, there are many small tools and materials that are not a big deal if you buy cheap and replace multiple times. Or sometimes it is used very infrequently and the cheap tool will get the job done just as well as the expensive alternative.
Here you will find the tools that I personally own, have tried and tested and have found them to be the top choices from my research, comparisons, and use. I enjoy doing the research to find the best deal and highest quality option for a good value. I hope by sharing these things that you will find these tools and other products to be good for you as well.
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My primary shop car jack that I use is a very old car jack that my grandfather used for years. It is probably 50 years old and still works like new. I keep an eye on the hydraulic fluid to be sure it has no leaks and it goes to show a good jack will last a very long time. I did my research before inheriting my car jack and if I were to buy one it would be this Torin Floor Jack. Looks like a good quality jack at a very good price point.
I own these Big Red Jack Stands and they are great. A must have to support your car. Never rely on the car jack to hold up the car.
This socket set is the best value set that I have purchased and one of my most recommended tool sets.
So many times a socket set comes in a flimsy case, or has dumb drawers that allow everything to spill but this case is sturdy, and the sockets fit inside very well. I recommend going with the set that includes the metric as well as standard sockets simply because you may need American sockets as well as metric. True, metrics are more prevalent on everything we own these days since they are made out of the country, but you are bound to come across standard bolts that need wrenching and you are going to want to have the right sockets ready for the job.
I usually don’t recommend China made junk tools, and Tekton is outsourced to China, but so are other brands like Craftsman and Husky. Not all China tools are equal and these Tekton sockets WAY outperform Harbor Freight sockets.
I have only purchased the socket set in the 1/4″ drive option since I already had a very nice set of USA made 3/8″ drive sockets. I figured that there is no need to spend a premium on Snap-On or S&K sockets in the 1/4″ drive variety since you do not usually wrench very hard on them. As long as there are tight tolerances on the sockets to fit well on the bolts you are trying to wrench on then you are good.
And these do just that! And the ratchets are smooth and easy to use. I have owned mine for long enough to confidently recommend this socket set.
If you are in the market for 1/4″ drive socket set, this is the set for you
If you wrench on cars often I recommend investing in a set of good USA made sockets in the 3/8″ and 1/2″ drive but if you are looking to get your first set of sockets and ratchets I would say I would feel comfortable getting the Tekton 3/8″ Drive Socket set.
If you find yourself using the set a lot and need the additional smaller and larger sized sockets that the upgraded set has, then you should purchase a small socket set of the 1/4″ drive and a large socket set of the 1/2″ drive.
Another really nice, better than average compact 1/4″ socket set that is very reasonably priced is a set made by Bahco. Check this one out for sure. Its a nice set that is easy to pack and store that includes a 1/4″ ratchet and a few sockets.
If you do work on your car more than just once a year, then you need a set of flex head ratchets. You also need a set of ratchets with extra teeth in the gears allowing for micro ratcheting movements in tight spaces. What better than a set of ratchets that combines those two things! This set of ratchets are my go-to and I have used them without any problems. I have even wrenched on them pretty hard.
You will thank yourself every time you go to use them. I liked these so much I got them as a gift for my Dad and he uses them more than his old craftsman rachets that have worked for years.
The flex head and tight ratcheting comes in handy EVERY time.
Gearwrench 120XP Flexhead Ratchet Set
A torque wrench is a must! After about 6 hours of reading reviews and forums and blog posts and watching videos, I determined that an accurate and high quality U.S.A made torque wrench was a must and that besides the top-of-the-line professional wrench that comes with the top-of-the-line price tag, a Proto torque wrench was the way to go. I have owned these two torque wrenches for a couple years and have been so pleased with them I HIGHLY recommend them.
3/8″ Proto Torque Wrench 20-100 ft.-lbs.
A 3/8″ torque wrench will fit most of your needs but often for the smaller nuts and bolts any torque spec below 20 ft. lb. a smaller socket and a finer tunable wrench is needed. This is why you must also have a 1/4″ torque wrench that can be set between 40-200 in. lbs.
1/4″ Proto Torque Wrench 40-200 in.-lbs.
Car Maintenance Supplies: Fluids, Filters, and More
If you need an oil drain pan, this is the drain pan you want. There is not much more to say about it. I use this drain pan, have used it dozens of times and it gets the job done nicely. It catches the oil, has a large surface area to catch splashes and prevents oil from spilling onto your driveway, and by getting an oil pan like this one the drain plug isn’t able to fall into the container of oil.
This is a cheap and effective oil pan, not much more to say about it.
Car Care Commodities
In the past year, I have tried using 4 different types of car washing soaps to wash my car. I want to emphasize and recommend the car soap that outperformed the other soaps by a long shot.
This soap seemed to be ultra concentrated so less was needed to do far more. Using less of this still allowed for tough dirt and grime to come off my car. I had some old grime that was probably built up over years that other soaps did not take off and this soap did.
Since 2 ounces of soap per gallon of water is recommended, the gallon will last you 32 washes if you use 2 gallons of water in your bucket per car wash. So even though the gallon is kinda pricey at 25$ it is well worth it to me and they have a forever customer with me thats for sure.
Cool Car Accessories (Wheels, Lights, Seat Covers)
Make your car cooler with these things:
This is ideal to spray your rims as a cheap easy way to color them black. It can be removed in the future but also lasts well and is easy to use.
A comfortable, well-fitting seat cover will help minimize the wear on your car seat to sell your car in the future, and it makes cleaning the seat MUCH easier when you spill something on it! I have a good quality seat cover in my car very similar to this and when I need a new one I will be buying this one. The quality seems good for the price.
A very inexpensive set of LED strip lights like this one is SUPER easy to install and will not only make the inside of your car more fun and cooler, it will make it easier to see the floor of your car when it is dark out. Especially for those cars that are not equipped with good lighting from the factory.
For selecting the correct oil weight, default to your car manual. Each car has a different recomendation. It will often specify on the oil cap as well. You must decide two things for yourself after that: 1. The oil brand. 2. Whether the oil is regular or synthetic or a blend.
I prefer the oil brand Mobil 1. They have a wide range of high quality products and have held up a good reputation for a long time.
This is the engine oil I recommend. Keep in mind you will need to select the correct oil weight for your vehicle.
Full-synthetic is generally the better choice and that is what I recommend unless your car specifies otherwise.
A Standard Size Funnel Like this one will be useful for pouring oil or antifreeze or any other fluid into your car. I have two that I keep on hand. One for oil and one for water based products so that I do not have to clean them so thoroughly and do not contaminate other fluids in the car.
I recommend the brand name good quality antifreeze for your car. Take good care of your car and it will take good care of you.
Windshield Wiper Fluid
1 Gallon of Wiper Fluid like this one will be the right amount and wiper fluid like this one will not freeze down to -27 degrees Fahrenheit so you don’t have to worry about it freezing in the winter.
Transmissions are so expensive to repair or replace that I put the very best fluid that I can find. Royal Purple makes a top-of-the-line Automatic transmission fluid and this is what I have used in my cars without any issues.
I own this creeper that allows me to roll under the car easily. It has held up for the past several years and it lightweight and I like the handle on top to carry it and the tool trays on the sides.
Cold Weather Accessories
I live in a mild climate but have lived in the cold and these accessories would be a great choice for the cold: