See Figure 1
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 book. 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 a good quality set of 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.
Begin accumulating 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:
- SAE and Metric wrenches and sockets in sizes from 1 / 8 - 3 / 4 " (6-19mm) and a spark plug socket 13 / 16 " or 5 / 8 " 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",3/8" and1/2" drive).
- Jackstands, for support
- Oil filter wrench
- Oil filler spout, for pouring oil
- Grease gun, for chassis lubrication
- Hydrometer, for checking the battery
- A container for draining oil
- Many rags for wiping up inevitable spills.
- A quality floor jack.
In addition to the above items there are several others that are not absolutely necessary but handy to have around. These include oil dry (kitty litter is a good substitute), 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 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 an expensive professional model. Just be sure that the meter reads 1,200-1,500 rpm on the tach scale and that it works on 3, 4, 6 and 8 cylinder engines. A basic list of tune-up equipment should include:
- Tach/dwell meter.
- Spark plug wrench.
- Timing light (a DC light that works from the vehicle's battery is best, although an AC light that plugs into 110V house current will suffice at some sacrifice in brightness).
- Wire spark plug gauge/adjusting tools.
- Set of feeler gauges.
There are several other tools that, in time, you will find you can't live without. 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, volt/ohm meter.
- 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 type are more precise.
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. Special tools may be purchased through your local Chevrolet dealer or directly from the tool manufacturers.