See Figures 1 through 10
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 and 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 supposition that he or she may need one or more of them at some time.
The best approach is to proceed slowly, gathering 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 preferable by far to their less expensive counterparts. As any good mechanic can tell you, there are few worse experiences than trying to work on a car with bad tools. Your monetary savings will be far outweighed by frustration and mangled knuckles.
Certain basic tools, plus the ability to handle them, are required to get started. A basic mechanic's tool set, a torque wrench, and a Torx® bits set constitute a good foundation. Torx® bits are hexlobular drivers which fit both inside and outside on special Torx® head fasteners used in various places on many vehicles. Begin accumulating those tools which are used most frequently, particularly 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:
- SAE/Metric wrenches, sockets and combination open end/box end wrenches in sizes from 1 / 8 in. (3mm) to 3 / 4 in. (19mm), and a spark plug socket ( 13 / 16 in. or 5 / 8 in. depending on plug type). 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).
- Jackstands for support.
- Oil filter wrench.
- Oil filler spout or funnel.
- Grease gun for chassis lubrication.
- Hydrometer for checking the 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 are handy to have around. These include oil-dry (cat box gravel is just as good and sometimes cheaper), a transmission funnel and the usual supply of lubricants, antifreeze and fluids. While this is a basic list for routine maintenance, your personal needs and desires can best determine your list of 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 tachometers 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 1,500 rpm on the scale and that it can be used on 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder engines. A basic list of tune-up equipment could include:
- Tachometer (or tach/dwell meter)
- Spark plug wrench
- Timing light (a DC light that works from the car's battery is best, although an AC light that plugs into 110V-120V house current will suffice at some sacrifice in brightness)
- Wire spark plug gauge/adjusting tools
- Set of feeler blades
Here again, be guided by your own needs. While electronic ignition systems have eliminated the use of old-fashioned points and condensers, and the resulting point gap setting, you still may want to check the dwell. Since you will need a tachometer anyway ... well, you make the 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 (break-away) type are more precise, and you don't have to crane your neck to see a torque reading in awkward situations. The break-away torque wrenches are more expensive and should be recalibrated periodically.
Torque specification for each fastener will be given in the procedure in the event 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