Naturally, without the proper tools and equipment it is impossible to properly service your vehicle. It would be impossible to catalog each tool that you would need to perform each or every operation in this guide. It would also be unwise for the amateur to rush out and buy an expensive set of tools on the theory that he may need one or more of them at sometime.
The best approach is to proceed slowly, gathering together a good quality set of those tools that are used most frequently. Don't be misled by the low cost of bargain tools. It is far better to spend a little more for better quality. Forged wrenches, 6 or 12 point sockets and fine tooth ratchets are by far preferable to their less expensive counterparts. As any good mechanic can tell you, there are few worse experiences than trying to work on a vehicle with bad tools. Your monetary savings will be far outweighed by frustration and mangled knuckles.
Certain tools, plus a basic ability to handle tools, are required to get started. A basic mechanics tool set, a torque wrench, and, for later models, a Torx® bits set. Torx® bits are hex lobular drivers which fit both inside and outside on special Torx® head fasteners used in various places on your vehicle.
Begin accumulating those tools that are used most frequently; those associated with routine maintenance and tune-up.
In addition to the normal assortment of screwdrivers and pliers you should have the following tools for routine maintenance jobs (your Acura, uses metric fasteners):
- Metric wrenches, sockets and combination open end/box end wrenches in sizes from 3mm to 19mm; and a spark plug socket. If possible, buy various length socket drive extensions. One break in this department is that the metric sockets available in the U.S. will all fit the ratchet handles and extensions you may already have ( 1 / 4 in., 3 / 8 in., and 1 / 2 in. drive).
- Jack stands for support.
- Oil filter wrench.
- Oil filter spout for pouring oil.
- Grease gun for chassis lubrication.
- Hydrometer for checking the (old style) battery.
- A container for draining oil.
- Many rags for wiping up the inevitable mess.
In addition to the above items there are several others that are not absolutely necessary but handy to have around. These include oil-absorbing material, a transmission funnel and the usual supply of lubricants, antifreeze and fluids, although these can be purchased as needed. This is a basic list for routine maintenance, but only your personal needs and desires can accurately determine your list of necessary tools.
The second list of tools is for tune-ups. While the tools involved here are slightly more sophisticated, they need not be outrageously expensive. There are several inexpensive tach/dwell meters on the market that are every bit as good for the average mechanic as a $100.00 professional model. Just be sure that it goes to at least 1,200-1,500 rpm on the tach scale and that it works on 4 cylinder engines. A basic list of tune-up equipment could include:
- Tach/dwell meter.
- Spark plug wrench.
- Timing light (a DC light that works from the vehicle's battery is best).
- Wire spark plug gauge/adjusting tools.
- Set of feeler blades.
Here again, be guided by your own needs. A feeler blade will set the point gap as easily as dwell meter will read dwell, but slightly less accurately. And since you will need a tachometer anyway ... well, make your own decision.
In addition to these basic tools, there are several other tools and gauges you may find useful. These include:
- A compression gauge. The screw-in type is slower to use, but eliminates the possibility of a faulty reading due to escaping pressure.
- A manifold vacuum gauge.
- A test light.
- An induction meter. This is used for determining whether or not there is current in a wire. These are handy for use if a wire is broken somewhere in a wiring harness.
As a final note, you will probably find a torque wrench necessary for all but the most basic work. The beam type models are perfectly adequate, although the newer click (breakaway) type are more precise and you don't have to crane your neck to see a torque reading in awkward situations. The breakaway torque wrenches are more expensive and should be recalibrated periodically.
Torque specification for each fastener will be given in the procedure in any case that a specific torque value is required. If no torque specifications are given, use the following values as a guide, based upon fastener size:
Bolts marked 6T
Bolts marked 8T
Special tools are occasionally necessary to perform a specific job or are recommended to make a job easier. Their use has been kept to a minimum. When a special tool is indicated, it will be referred to by manufacturer's part number, and, where possible, an illustration of the tool will be provided so that an equivalent tool may be used.
Some special tools are available commercially from major tool manufacturers. Others can be purchased through your Acura dealer.