Matt's Old

Fiddling with Rambler's since 1995

Technical Information

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Tools You Should Make
Sure Are Good Quality

This page came about from a discussion on the AMC-List ( on what to look for when buying a torque wrench. This list is not all inclusive but will at least get you started. Most of this comes down to common sense and when buying tools, always keep in mind that you usually get what you pay for.

If you're new to automotive work, I urge you to check out the Shop Safety article.

Okay, here's the list:

  • jack stands
  • jacks (floor and any other specialty types)
  • engine cranes
  • any other lifting equipment used on the car
  • measuring tools
  • brake tools
  • spring compressors
  • power tools
  • extension cords
  • any tool that will contact the interior or exterior trim of the car
  • impact sockets
  • cutting tools
  • service manuals

    The list is pretty short, but let me make a few notes.

    1) You should always look for ANSI certification label on any tool you will use to lift or support anything on your car. You'll find that this eliminates most of the cheap tools of this type.
    2)  Good quality measuring tools are not cheap. You're not likely to find the good stuff at an auto parts store. A store that sells tools to machine shops will carry the good stuff. These stores are not usually in residential phone books so you'll probably need to ask around to find them.
    3) When buying an extension cord, bigger wire size is better. Make sure to check the package to see what gauge wire it has. A smaller number is a bigger wire. Make sure the cord has a UL certification. DO NOT remove the ground lug. If you need a grounded outlet where you're at, have an electrician install one.
    4) You should try and purchase industrial quality power tools. Weekend warrior duty tools don't last long when working on a car. If they're electric, look for UL certification on these as well.
    5) Make sure that any impact sockets you use are industrial quality. Again, not cheap, but if one shatters, you can lose an eye.
    6) Make sure that any cutting tools are kept sharp. Dull cutting tools can be dangerous.

    And remember, after you've spent all of that money on these tools, take care of them.

Last Updated 01/07/04 09:00:04 PM