If you are a home mechanic, you’re probably very aware of the basic tools you need to have on hand at all times. What nobody tells you when you’re first starting out is which specialty tools would be best for you to have and would be the most valuable for the home garage. Partly this is because it depends on whether your a beginner or pro, and it also depends a bit on what type of car you have. For example, if you have a preference for GM cars, you’re going to want a GM door spring tool. If you are a gearhead, or just aspiring to be one, here’s some specialty items that should be in or near your OEM tool box:
Locking Extension Bars
There’s nothing more frustrating than dropping a socket down into the engine and then spending the next hour hunting around for it. A locking extension bar locks the socket you attach so it can’t slip off, saving you an enormous amount of frustration and time in your home garage.
You might not need the 7000, but you definitely need a QuickJack. These awesome lifts allow you to safely raise your car without having to install a professional lift in the limited space of your home garage. At the same time, they give you a lot more safety and security than a regular floor jack.
GM Door Spring Tool
If you work on a lot of GM cars, you’ll love having a GM door spring tool that is perfectly designed to remove the door hinge on your GMC. There are generic door spring tools available, but if you’ve got a lot of trucks in there by GM, you probably want a special made GM door spring tool.
Mobile Swamp Cooler
It gets hot in the garage, and if you install an HVAC system or a window air conditioner you might as well just pour your money straight out the window. Most garages aren’t insulated enough to make an air conditioner cost-effective. A mobile swamp cooler could be the answer to your problems. Not only will this significantly cool you as you move it around to keep blowing on you, but it’ll also keep things from getting static-y all up in your home garage.
Floor Jack Handle Replacement
If you have never had the handle fail on your floor jack, then you don’t know how important a replacement floor jack handle can be. Other than losing your socket down in the engine bay, almost nothing is more frustrating than being unable to use your floor jack until you find a replacement for the handle.
If you’ve ever seen those finger ratchets, you might have thought that they look like a great way to reach tight spots under the dash. In reality, most of us do not have enough strength in our fingers to turn those things. That’s why the gimbal ratchet is such a great find. They sit in the palm and give you much greater grip and power, pivot in two directions, and can fit into all kinds of tight spaces where you can’t fit your regular ratchet set.
Professional OBDII Scan Tool
Working on modern cars, almost nothing is more important than having the right OBDII technology. Get one of these scan tools, which are available for iPhone and for Android, and you’ll be able to read and clear all the diagnostic codes coming out of any car. You’ll also be able to capture and share live data.
Pinch-off pliers keep you from having to drain your cooling system every time you unplug a radiator hose. They let you pinch the hoses and automatically lock the ratchet so that there’s no chance of a spill. Since it always seems like radiator hoses are in the way, this tool could end up being one of the most useful ones you own.
These are just a few of the specialty items that could come in really handy in your home garage. Whether you get a swamp cooler or a GM door spring tool, build up your array of specialty tools patiently as you find out what works for you and what you need most in your situation.