Whether your a hobbyist modifying your track day car at home in your garage or a professional working on a customers single seater race car in your workshop, here’s our list of essential tools that every mechanic should have.
3/8 Socket Set
The Teng Tools T3839 39 Piece 3/8″ Drive Socket Set is extremely well priced at £69.91 including VAT and comes with a life time guarantee. The set contains everything you need from a socket set. Regular and deep metric 6 point sockets, a coupler adaptor, 1/2″-3/8″ adaptor, 3″ wobble extension bar and 6″ extension, a universal joint, 2 spark plug sockets: 16mm and 21 mm, fibre reinforced reversible ratchet as well as 11 bits. Teng Tools are world renowned for making high quality, strong, comfortable tools. For the price of this set you cant go wrong considering a Snap On 3/8 drive ratchets start at £96.00
Cordless Impact Wrench
The Milwaukee M18ONEIWF38-502X 18v 3/8 Cordless Impact Wrench is a great addition to have in your tool box. They are cordless, which means no air supply hose hanging over your head or on the floor ready to trip over. They can be used for many jobs on a car making work appear seamless at times. They are powered by a 5’0 ah lithium battery which last many hours. The impact gun produces a max 284 newtons of tightening torque however that’s not the best part of this little impact wrench. It can be connected to the Milwaukee app on your phone via Bluetooth to enable Control speed, torque, start and end speeds and an LED. All this for £282.26 including VAT.
Low Profile Jack
For our cars whether it be a single seater race car or a modified track car chances are they will be very low to the ground. So a suitable low profile jack is a must. We would expect you to choose between a 1.5 – 2.5 ton aluminium low profile jack. Low profile aluminium Jacks have the same lift capacity and lift height as steel garage jacks but usually lift the car up in less pumps of the handle as there designed for the paddock. Low profile jacks usually come with a rubber pad to protect the cars chassis. Been made of aluminium there also lighter than there steel counter parts. So for a decent jack like the SGS 2.5 Ton aluminium/steel chassis racing jack be prepared to pay £155.99 including VAT. Well worth the money and it only weighs 26.4kg.
We’re old school here at track and performance and prefer the heavy duty pin type axle stands rather than the ratchet type. But that’s just us you may prefer the ratchet ones. Whatever your preference make sure you get a pair of stands that will take the weight of your vehicle. Many stands are now backed by a lifetime guarantee which is testament to there design. When choosing a pair of axle stands, pick a stand with an adequate height and wide feet for extra stability. This pair of SGS 6 Ton capacity axle stands (3000kg per per stand) with a 370mm to 560mm height range should do the job for any car. They are priced at £23.99 and worth every penny. However if your laying your car up for winter try a pair of hubs stands or flat top axle stands for cars with a flat chassis design such as the Lotus Elise. If you own a single seater try a high or low chassis stand from Demon Tweeks’s Champion Chassis Stands for £128.39.
The Teng Tools 1201 Flex Handle 1/2 inch Drive 17 inch breaker bar. We go to the Teng Tools brand again as there excellent quality and a fair price. The breaker bar is made from Chrome vanadium and comes with a Satin finish. Its Designed for extra torque to use with stubborn nuts and bolts. It has a ball bearing socket retainer on the square drive for a secure grip. It comes with a thick handle for extra grip which is an ergonomically designed bi-material for easy use particularly in wet or oily conditions. Now remember all a breaker bar is, is a thick piece of long steel so there’s no point in paying £150 for a premium one when you can pay £49.08 including VAT for the Teng Tools one that will do the same job and come with a lifetime guarantee.
LED Torch’s and handlamps. All torch’s do the same thing and that is project light. Its always good to have a small and medium sized LED torch and handlamp to look at the job your doing. Having a torch can save you valuable time especially if you loose something or cant see under a bonnet! Were choosing the Draper LED Rechargeable Inspection Lamp. It has 37 LED’s as a 16 lumen torch or a 82 lumen flood light. Fitted with hang up hooks, a swivel joint and magnetic back and base which means it can be used almost anywhere on a car. A well price piece of kit at £26.40 incl VAT.
Ratchet Spanner Set
The Machine Mart Ratchet Spanner Set for £41.99 including VAT. For that you get 8 spanners. 8mm – 19mm with a flexy head. They have an 8° ratchet action and a 180° pivot head. These ratchet spanners can get into almost any tight spot and work a nut or bolt free. For the price they are a very good all rounder. For a premium brand you can be looking at £200 upwards for a set but there not really worth it. So go for this quality well priced selection.
The Bahco 9897 Ergo Pliers Set. This set consist a water pump plier – great for getting a grip on larger hoses and clamps. 180mm combination pliers you might not always use these but they do come in handy for holding hot pieces of metal. 160mm side cutting pliers these are great and always in use. whether your using them for cutting cable ties or cutting through wires. Finally in the set are the 160mm long nose pliers. Again long nose pliers will always be needed in a garage. whether you need to get in a tight space or you’ve dropped something, long nose pliers are generally good at fishing it out. There also good at pulling cables and putting small hose’s on in hard to reach places. At £65.93 including VAT they may seem expensive but are worth it.
A Magnetic tray is a must! They can save you hours of time by simply placing a nut, bolt or washer and tool in the magnetic tray! Ever lost your 10mm socket? Ever put a 3/8 bar on the side and gone back and its not there? We thought so. Buy a magnetic tray, put it on your tool box or an area where your working and never loose anything again! You can purchase these in various sizes from various manufacturers. Whether you buy a budget one or an expensive one they all look the same and do the same job however cheaper ones are know to have the magnets come away from the base of the tray once they have been in touch with fuel or cleaning products. For a decent one expect to pay £19.14 including VAT like this one from Sealey which comes with a lifetime guarantee.
So there you have it our list of essential tools that every mechanic whether amateur or professional should definitely have in their workshop. We’ve chosen the tools based on there quality and price. Even after all the abuse these tools will receive over the years, we believe that they will still be just as efficient as the day you bought them.
Please note we are not associated with any of the above companies. We have been using some of these brands on our own cars over a number of years and feel that they are worth mentioning.
Posted by John Holmes