Types of Automotive Toolsby Roger Golden
A variety of tools are required to perform automotive tasks, changing from one job to the next. With wrenches and screwdrivers the differences may be a shift in size, but some automotive work requires tools designed especially for that purpose. Depending on the type of automotive work you are performing, you can expect to use an assortment of hand tools and possibly 1 or more specialty items as well.
Automotive projects will need several different sizes of Phillips head screwdrivers and having a range of drivers on hand will save you time. Some trim work is mounted using #1-Phillips screws and parts of the frame may need screwdrivers specially designed for automotive use. You should also have multiple sizes of slotted screwdrivers, although slotted screws are not used as often on modern assembly lines. Having a long shaft for your screwdrivers makes it easier to reach into close spaces, but a short-shafted "stubby" screwdriver is good for jobs with very little access.
Wrenches and Sockets
Wrenches and sockets are by far the most common tools used in automotive work. You should have three complete sets on hand: American sizes, metric wrenches and a socket set. A decent socket set will include the most common sizes of both American and metric sockets, but you should invest in a heavy duty ratchet and pull-handle set. To complete the socket set, add a set of socket extensions ranging from 2-inches to 10-inches in size. Investing a bit more into quality wrenches and sockets can save you money over frequent replacements and some automotive tasks put a great deal of stress on the tools.
Allen wrenches are generally bought in a set of 5 or more L-shaped, six-sided tools of different widths. In automotive work Allen wrenches are used in engine repair and in replacing disc brakes among other things. Allen wrenches are not used for every automotive project, but nothing else can take their place when one is needed.
As the automobile has evolved, the number of specialty tools needed to build one has increased. Specially designed instruments are used to remove a pulley or steering wheel, for example. Drum brakes use a special tool to remove or install the connecting springs. Special machines are plugged in to diagnose problems or change a tire. Changing the oil requires an oil filter wrench for the removal of an oil filter. Specialty tools are sometimes designed for a specific model or make of car, which means that it helps to know what you will be working on before acquiring a set of specialty tools.
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