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Do It Yourself Advice - April 16, 2003

Do It Yourself Advice


Tools for the DIYer
by Kevin Schappell

If you are a car owner who occasionally works on his or her own car, please don't go out and spend thousands of dollars on high priced tools. Professional mechanics make a living with their tools and need the best. If you are doing minor repairs on your own vehicles a lower cost tool set will do just fine. We have teamed up with AutoBarn.com to bring you the best price on tools for the DIYer. Keep in mind you can find most of these tools at your local parts store, but probably not at these prices. Let's look at the basics you will need for most common jobs.

The oil change:

Lifting tools: To gain access to the oil pan you need to get the front wheels off of the ground safely. Never leave the car supported only by a jack. A good set of jack stands or ramps are the safest way to go. Also don't forget to chock up the rear wheels to keep the car from sliding back. Even though you may have the emergency brake set, they can fail.

Oil filter wrench: Nothing is more frustrating than trying to get an oil filter off without the right wrench. I have gone to the extent of poking a screwdriver through the filter to spin it off..... this is not the cleanest way to change an oil filter.

Funnel: You have to get the new oil into the engine, and the less you spill, the less will burn off later while driving. Any funnel will do, but look for one with a long flexible neck which will help getting into those tight places.

The brake job:

Disc brakes: You will need some special hex or torx sockets to get the caliper loose. Do not try using the wrong tool like a vise-grips or filed down bit.... you will damage the bolts. You will also need to retract the brake pistons once you have the old pads out. Using a C-clamp does work, but you have to be careful not to damage the pistons.

Drum brakes: There are special tools which allow you to remove the clips which hold the shoes to the backing plate. Also you will need an adjuster to adjust the shoes once you have everything back together.

Bleeding the brakes: Get a good kit which includes a sealed container to collect the expelled brake fluid.

General tools:

A good Quality Tool Set: Make sure you have metric wrenches as all import cars have metric fasteners and most if not all new domestic cars do also. If you plan on doing advanced work, or plan on eventually working as a professional mechanic consider buying a set of CraftsmanT tools. I have found them to be the best value and you can not beat the lifetime guarantee. Plus wherever you are, there is a Sears store to take your broken tools in for replacement.

Auto Repair Manual: You wouldn't bake a cake without a recipe.... would you?? Make sure you have a manual by your side before you start working on your car. I can only give you general guidelines, but the manual will give you all of the specifics for your car, truck or SUV.

Good Luck,

Kevin Schappell

Kevin maintains http://www.autoeducation.com where he gives advice on car maintenance, buying, selling, insurance, and financing. A mechanical engineer and car guy, Kevin has decided to spend his online time helping others learn about automobiles.


The above article is provided for the interest and entertainment of our visitors. The views expressed in this article are only those of the author, who is solely responsible for the content. AutoGuide.net does not endorse any of these views, and is not to be held responsible for any of the content provided in the above article.


Click here to read Kevin's past articles!


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