Car Tools: Where to Start | Episode 012

1966 Ford Bronco, © Ford Motor Company

Last Updated on October 3, 2019 by Tim Harman

Featured image: 1966 Ford Bronco, © Ford Motor Company

Want to start doing your own car repair and maintenance, but don’t know what tools you need? We’re here to help! On this week’s show we discussed which basic tools are needed to get your ride back on the road. We also did a special car edition of You can, man. TRIVIA (see bottom of post)!  This episode was the same format as Episode 002.

We began the conversation with two non-negotiables…

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Craftsman socket set

Basic Standard/Metric Socket Set

Make sure you get a set with deep sockets included like this CRAFTSMAN set.

Combination Wrench Set

This CRAFTSMAN set should be plenty adequate

We then took turns adding to what we thought should make the cut.


Floor Jack

This Harbor Freight low-profile 3 ton will last you years and years.

Jack Stands

This set from Harbor Freight is all you really need. You may want four total for added safety.


You’ll likely need more light than this small worklight from Harbor Freight Tools can provide, but it’s very portable and often FREE w/ any purchase. I own several.

4-Way Lug Wrench

If the tires need to come off to start the job (which is often) you’ll need a good wrench to crack those lugs loose.

Universal Joints and Extensions for your Socket Set

This CRAFTSMAN set includes adapters which we didn’t even mention on the show. Winning.

Breaker Bar

Honestly, you can just use an old pipe and slip it over your regular ratchet drive, but if you want a dedicated tool for the job then this one from Harbor Freight will do.

Screw Drivers

This one is really a given, but thought we should throw it in the mix just to make sure. This CRAFTSMAN set will do you just fine.

Magnetic Parts Tray

This may seem like it doesn’t belong in the must-haves category, but as any shade tree mechanic will tell you, losing a really important bolt will ruin your day. This one from Harbor Freight is often FREE with any purchase.

Claw Pickup Tool

If you ever drop a bolt down inside the engine compartment (which you will), you’re gonna want to own one of these “grabbey things” as Dave calls it.

Nitrile Gloves

Save yourself from scrubbing all the grease from under your finger nails and getchu a box of quality nitrile gloves. Tim uses these 9mil gloves from Harbor Freight.


This one is a bit of a luxury, but we felt it still belonged in the must-haves. A good creeper makes car work so much more enjoyable.


Torque Wrench

Dave was and is still convinced that a torque wrench is a must-have tool to have when starting to work on cars. Josh and Tim agree it’s a day-two tool to purchase.

Small Air Compressor

Dave thinks everyone should own a small pancake air compressor so they can put air in their tires. Dave also swore these can be had for $50. This one from HFT is likely the cheapest you’ll find. Josh and Tim think it’s squarely in the nice-to-have categories.


Again, Dave’s suggestion. Again, highly contested. Dave, this is a nice-to-have, but Ima include it anyhow. This one is an Amazon’s Choice, so it’s likely decent.


Spark Plug Socket

Your ratchet drive socket set may actually include these. If you’re changing out plugs, you’ll want to have these. Here’s a good set from CRAFTSMAN

Oil Drain Pan

If you’re changing oil, you’ve gotta have something to drain the oil into. Tim own’s a couple of these. They’re great.


Tim mentioned a database of Harbor Freight Tools coupons. CHECK IT OUT HERE!

You can, man. CAR TRIVIA

1966 Ford Bronco. © Ford Motor Company

Tim was inspired by Dave’s You can, man. TRIVIA and ended the show with a special car edition.  Do you know the answers??


  1. In what year were disc brakes invented? (multiple choice given)
  2. What does the PCV in PCV Valve stand for?
  3. What was the first model year for the Ford Bronco?
  4. What does each one of the numbers in an oil’s grade refer to? For example, the 10W in 10W30? Bonus if you know what the W stands for.
  5. What is the purpose of “bleeding the brakes”?

  1. “In 1902, the Lanchester Motor Company designed brakes that looked and operated in a similar way to a modern disc-brake system even though the disc was thin and a cable activated the brake pad.” Read more HERE.
  2. Positive crankcase ventilation. “…a crankcase ventilation system (CVS) is a one way, pressure-sensitive passage which allows the natural build up of gases to escape from the crankcase in a controlled manner.” “The PCV system thus became the first real vehicle emissions control device.” It started being installed on cars in the 1960’s. Read more HERE.
  3. 1966 with 23,776 sold. Read more HERE.
  4. The first number is its low temp viscosity grade and the second is the high temp viscosity grade. The W stands for winter. You can read up on it HERE.
  5. To remove air bubbles in the brake fluid. Read more HERE.