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post #1 of 5 Old 03-17-2017, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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What are the Best Tools for Fixing Cars at Home

Hi guys!

After getting disappointed trusting the 'recommended' Nissan 'engineer' where I live, I've really taken an interest in just servicing my own car. The routine oil filter/engine oil change seems easy enough and I'm even willing to go as far as replacing my own spark plugs (despite the labour of going through removing the air intake manifold).
I really willing to do as much as possible myself, and learn as I go along. I'd save a lot of money as well as resting in the comfort that the job has been done right.

Can anyone recommend the best tools I can purchase for starting out? Wrenches and their sizes, socket wrenches, etc.

ChrisFix (an awesome YouTuber) has a great video covering this here:

So I was just wondering if his recommendations are a good place to start for my 2007 Tiida.

Your feedback will greatly be appreciated.

Thanks

Last edited by ramaswalleh; 03-17-2017 at 02:12 PM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-17-2017, 04:17 PM
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Honestly, I like Chris Fix just fine but I stopped watching the video when he started out with "toolboxes".

The toobox has to be by far the LEAST essential piece of any shadetree guy's garage. If you are just doing the basics at home, you don't need a $500-$5000 box to keep tools in. You don't even need a $50 box in most cases. For a guy starting out, any money spent on a rolling toolbox is money wasted that could have actually bought you some useful tools.

Most of your entry-level tools are gonna come in their own cases and containers, and thats plenty good enough in many cases. If all you are going to do is change oil, plugs, maybe replace your starter or alternator when they fail, change a belt, etc then there is very little you will need.

I've got a set of walmart wrenches by stanley that come in their own case. For years, these were the only wrenches I had and they are still my go-to set, but you get to a point where some stubby wrenches are nice for tight spots and the ratcheting wrenches are super cool and you eventually get those too when on sale. But you can get by a long ways with these. Stanley 20-Piece Wrench Set

Wrenches and sockets, the two things you can't do without. I got by a ways with just one generic cheap 60 piece socket set, BUT you end up needing deep sockets really fast which my first kit only had three of, so if I had to buy a new set tomorrow I'd find a kit like this $50 or cheaper but with a decent selection of deep sockets because those end up being pretty important.
Stanley 123-Piece Black Chrome Socket Set, STMT72254
Note this particular kit also has some allen wrenches thrown in which is great because you need those off and on too, like on kid's bicycles or whatever. Sometimes you need allen sockets (brake caliper bolts, some intake manifolds, etc) but that kinda segways us into semi optional sockets, which we'll get to in a second.

One thing to make sure you get if your socket set doesn't include it are the two sizes of spark plug sockets.
Another thing you will often have to buy seperately are 3/8" extensions Stanley 3-Piece 3/8'' Extension Bar you will not get by long without some extensions like that...

One really important thing on your socket set, read the package and make sure it has all metric sizes. Buy individual sockets to fill gaps. Many many stupid low-end socket sets will omit 15, 16, and/or 17mm sockets. I don't know why they do that, if your kit leaves out critical sizes like 15mm or 16mm that if your first indication that its a bad set, but it happens.

Semi-optional sockets- this is stuff I would wait to buy until you know you need them for your particular car. A couple examples:
13 Piece Mm Hex Bit Socket Set Metric Allen 3/8" 1/4" 1/2"
SK Hand Tool SK 42940 .25" Drive TORX Plus Bit Sockets- T10
I never owned any torx bit sockets until I encountered the car in my garage that needed them. I never owned any hex bit sockets until I did a brake job on my car that had those for the caliper bolts. Some of these things it just doesn't pay to buy them if you don't need them. I have SAE hex sockets now but I still don't think I own a metric set. Haven't needed a metric set yet, still have that $15 in my pocket. If you think you are going to randomly work on lots of friends and family member's cars then you might have to preemptively buy some of these things, otherwise I'd save my money.

So your wrenches and your sockets are you core "kits", then you need an assortment of screwdrivers and pliers. One good pair of vise-grips is worth having, a large and small channellock is a must. Needle nose.
A pick set: Stanley Pick And Hook Set you will need for things like O-rings.
Buy a pack of razor blades for a buck, to scrape gaskets off.

A word on big nuts and bolts (impact sockets):
You don't need an impact gun. You want one, sure, but you don't need one. All I had for years was a cheap 1/2" drive breaker bar similar to
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Capri-Too...hrome/47505746
Throw in one of these so you can use some regular sockets on stubborn bolts: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Grey-Pneu...-Ball/40453999
If you are only working on the one car, you can probably just buy the one individual impact socket for your lug nuts and get by. Impact socket sets are not cheap.

For putting your wheels back on, all you need for a torque wrench is this: https://www.menards.com/main/tools-h...4428088305.htm
You don't need a clicker. Especially not a cheap $25 walmart clicker, you will forget to take the tension off the spring one time and it will never work right again. The beam-style torque wrench is cheap and reliable, no moving parts to fail.

You will possibly (probably?) need a cheap grease gun if your car has anything with a grease fitting (ie, ball joints and some steering components) Give those things a couple pumps at every oil change. I don't know if anything is greasable on a versa, more and more the OEMs are for-going the grease fittings on things so they will be cheaper and wear out faster =/

Get some cheap wire brushes in a couple sizes, often you need to scrape some rust or corrosion off of bolt threads and other things.

Oil filter pliers are pretty great investment.

Small hammer comes in handy sometimes

This is just scratching the surface but really just cover your basic hand tools and its amazing what you can do. With hardly anything more than the basic wrenches and sockets and pliars listed above I did everything I needed to do for years and years, everything from changing timing belt on a volkswagen beetle to pulling my transfer case in my SUV to replace some seals, changing shocks alternators starters batteries spark plugs belts filters thermostats and on and on.

You don't need an air compressor. You don't need power tools most of the time. They help make jobs faster and easier but you can go a long ways without them.
You can air up tires for free at many gas stations, and if you are REALLY hard headed like me then my only air compressor for years was a BICYCLE PUMP rated up to 100 PSI and yes... thats what I did. For $10 on my bicycle pump I'd sit there and pump away. (Thank goodness I have a 60 gallon twin-cylinder compressor now, but I didn't until two years ago...)

I've been rambling far too long and probably missed a lot of stuff... oh well. But seriously, for the price of a low-end harbor-freight toolbox you can get all the ACTUAL hand tools you need and so nuts. Throw the loose ones in a cheap plastic box or milk crate. Buy beer with the rest of your money.

Someday I will probably own a nice toolbox... I have friends with nice toolboxes but suspiciously they still have to come to me for half their repairs

Last edited by arudlang; 03-17-2017 at 04:21 PM.
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-17-2017, 09:57 PM
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You need metric tools and a good source of tools that are cheap in price but fairly good construction. We have expensive name brand tools like snap on, mac, good name brand tools like from napa and craftsmans, then inexpensive tools made in china like harbor freight. Harbor freight also sells tools that break easily, so you need to investigate your purchase. Same with tools from walmart, dollar store and online. Sometimes you get a deal, but many times its all paper weights.

Then just buy as you need them. Usually the tools, parts and manual are all cheaper than what the dealer wants to do the same job.

Dont buy the box first as your collection is always expanding. Use the case they come in then move on to like a gym bag, etc.
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post #4 of 5 Old 04-10-2017, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the great and comprehensive feedback arudlang!
Very informative and useful. I think I may just order your recommended sets! You know I had a look around for similar sets were I live and I can't find any with as many pieces for that price either. The Stanley 123-Piece Black Chrome Socket Set and the Stanley Matte Finish Combination Wrench Set are a good value buy for now.

Much appreciated.
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post #5 of 5 Old 04-10-2017, 07:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Cobb!
I'll steer clear from any cheap brands.
I'll also hold out on the toolbox since it's not a priority.

Much appreciated!
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