How well do you know the car you drive? Do you have to rush to the mechanic every time there is a mechanical problem? Or, do you quickly reach into your tool kit and fix the issue.
Research shows that mechanical labor costs top the automotive dealership list. It can be as high as $131 per hour. Think about how much you will save by learning how to use the right tools to take care of some of the minor problems.
Let’s look at some automotive tools every car owner should know.
- Jumper Cables
You start your car and nothing comes on. It is clear that at some point, the battery drained. It could have something to do with that headlight you forgot to switch off.
Don’t run to the hardware just yet to buy a new battery. What you need are a pair of jumper cables and another working battery.
Jumper cables are thick electrical cables that have clips at the end. Take note of the corresponding terminals, which are negative and positive. Please do the same on the battery because you need to connect them to the corresponding points.
If you do this incorrectly by attaching negative to positive, you will not jump-start the battery. If you are using another car to jump-start yours, do not let the bodies touch. Also, make sure both engines are off when attaching the jumper cable.
- Silicon Heating Elements
Low temperatures affect lithium batteries. This can be a considerable challenge, especially in winter. You must defrost and defog the air conditioner to ensure the battery temperature is not too low. Car heaters provide the heat source that can take care of the task.
Silicone rubber heating elements from Hi-Heat ensure fast heat generation. Further, you can direct the heat right where you want it. The rubber heaters can reach a maximum temperature of 200 degrees centigrade.
Further, the silicon heaters are vibration, thermal, and mechanical shock resistant. You also don’t have to worry about stretching, ripping, or separation.
Apart from silicon, there are other heater options. They include Kapton Polyimide for immediate heat transfer. Polyester heaters are ideal for large-scale applications. By this, we mean you can heat a large area without incurring high costs. Custom configurations can give you flexibility in applications.
When using these products, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter.
- A Life Hammer and Knife
In the unfortunate event that you need to escape from your car’s interior, trying to kick out the windows or windshield may not work. In this case, a life hammer will come in handy. While you can also cut through the seat belt with the hammer, it may take time. In such a case, a knife would help.
Keep these nifty items within easy reach. That means you don’t lock them away in the boot with the rest of the tools. The best place to have them is under the driver’s seat.
Anchor them into position using double-sided tape or Velcro. As small as a life hammer and knife are, they could mean the difference between life and death in an emergency.
For the knife, do take the time to understand what is legal in your state or country. In some places, there is a length requirement for knives in the car.
- Screwdriver, Wrench, Ratchet, and Socket Set
The advantage of buying a screwdriver set is that you get different shapes and sizes in one kit. These tools are especially handy because you can manage several tasks with them.
Screwdrivers help with removing or installing screws, prying parts, and other maintenance and repair jobs. You can never quite predict when you will need to tighten a loose screw.
A ratchet and socket set will help you reach bolts that may be in awkward or tight positions, like under the car hood. Like in the case above, buying a set ensures you have all sizes.
Wrenches are handy for tightening or loosening screws. Be careful about the type of material. Chrome vanadium alloy and tempered alloy steel are good options. The special plating allows them to resist corrosion.
Pliers also offer a lot of versatility in terms of functionality. They are great for bending or cutting wires. You can also use them to remove specific vehicle parts.
There are tons of varieties available, including wire strippers, slip joints, and hose clamp pliers. It is not necessary to buy all of them. The slip joint and needle nose pliers should be good enough to have in your tool kit.
- Car Jack and Stand
You are happily driving along, and then realize the car is dragging on one side. On checking, the culprit presents itself as a flat tire. It now makes sense why the car behind kept flashing its lights at you.
This is when you will recognize the importance of the car jack and stand. The jack lifts the car while the stand keeps it in that position. You must do this to change the flat tire.
The jack and stand also help when working on different parts under the car.
For more stability, you may want to consider investing in a ramp. But, this should ideally be a tool for mechanics. Unless, of course, you have deep knowledge of cars and undertake such maintenance work for yourself.
- Tire Gauge and Inflator
It is important to maintain optimal pressure levels in your tires at all times. Failure to do so can damage your rims or even result in accidents. Invest in a pressure gauge and inflator to avoid low-pressure situations.
- Ice Scraper and Tire Chains
Ice scrapers and tire chains are essential for people who live in areas that experience snow. The former will help in removing ice from the window.
Tire chains provide traction in the wet, icy, slippery road, thus keeping you safe.
We have listed some of the tools you need to know in your car. Please take the time to learn the correct usage of each one of them.
Taking care of basic maintenance can save you some money. There is also the convenience of faster handling of issues.
If you, for instance, notice that the tire pressure is low, the inflator will come to good use. It saves you from having to drive to the mechanic to fill it.