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Basic Automotive Tools Every Car Owner Should Have on Hand

Even if you don't consider yourself very handy with tools, if you are going to drive an automobile it is good to keep a set of basic tools for small, easy repairs. After all, it doesn't make sense to have to call your service garage just to change a flat tire, and doing the change yourself beats being stranded for two hours while you wait for help.

In order to change your tires, you will need a jack for lifting your car (forget the one that came with your car - hydraulic jacks are best) and a lug wrench for getting the tires off and securing them again. Other special wrenches you will need are a spark-plug wrench and an oil-filter wrench. You will also need a set of adjustable wrenches and a socket set for loosening and tightening various nuts and bolts. As you may have to unscrew things from your car's frame, you will want a set of screwdrivers.

For checking and adjusting your fluid levels, you will need funnels, hand degreaser, rags or paper towels and rubber gloves (depending on how much dirt you want on you from your engine). Many people actually choose not to cover their hands when they work because it is easier to feel what you're and also because it looks silly. There is pride in having dirty hands.

You will need jumper cables for boosting your car, a continuity tester for testing electrical circuits, pliers for loosening and tightening things you can't loosen and tighten with your wrenches, a stiff, non-wire brush for cleaning battery contacts, a utility knife for cutting rubber belts and tubes and a tire pressure gauge for checking the air pressure in your tires. For knocking at stuck parts, use a rubber mallet and not your best wrench. It is best not to abuse your tools, although many people do.

You should be able to assemble a good basic tool set for under $300. That may sound like a lot of money, but if you get into the habit of calling someone every time you have a flat tire or need to change a hose, then you will wind up spending a lot more money in the end.

Many of these tools have quite a price range. You can pick up a set of adjustable wrenches, for instance, for anywhere from $10 to $40. The continuity tester has an even wider range, running from $3 all the way up to $40. You can pick up a tire pressure gauge for $5 up to $35, and a utility knife runs from $3 to however much you want to pay for this tool.

Many small repairs and maintenance tasks you can do for yourself will help you keep your car in tip-top shape for less money, so having a basic tool set is a great investment. In addition, you will also be a more confident driver if you learn about how to repair your car.

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