Automotive Tools – Starting Your Tool Kit

The Automotive tools market is vast with 100’s of specialised tools used for specific tasks like drive shaft wrenches, fuel injection sockets and valve spring compressors. And while specialist tools are very useful and necessary in many occasions there are basic hand tools that are required by mechanics and service technicians.  Below is a brief description of the basic hand tools that should start your tools collection.

Spanners / Wrenches

Spanners and wrenches are available in different sizes and come in standard and metric. It’s advisable to have both in your tool collection.

Standard imperial spanner sizes are:

10 – 12 – 13 – 14 – 17 – 18 – 19 – 20 – 21 – 22mm

Standard metric spanner sizes are:

1/4″ – 5/16″ – 11/32″ – 3/8″ – 7/16″ – 1/2″ – 9/16″ – 5/8″ – 11/16″ – 3/4″ – 13/16″ – 7/8″

may more sizes are available but you should buy a good set of the standard sizes and if extra sizes are needed buy them separately.


Sockets are probable the most widely used tool by mechanics and come in to forms ether standard or deep. Used to undo and tighten bolts sockets are usually sold in sets of verifying sizes and are available in both metric and imperial. It is advisable to have both sizes available as cars do not have standardised bolts and you never know what size of bolt you will find next. Sockets are categorised by the fitting size for ratchets, torque wrenches ect. And are available in 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1″ the most popular are 1/4″ and 1/2″ but there are many multi drive socket sets available that will give you a range of sizes and fittings that are ideal if you are starting out.  


There are many types of screwdriver available including specialist drives such as Tri-wing, Torq-set and Hexalobular however you are unlikely to come across most of the specialist drives unless you are working in very specific industries. The two standard screwdrivers are Philips and flat or straight head. It’s advisable when buying screwdrivers to go for “impact screwdrivers” they have the shaft running all the way through the handle and allow much more torque to be applied.

Tool Box / Cabinets

What about keeping your tools? Tools can last a life time if you buy quality and look after them. And the biggest reason for having to re-buy tools is misplacing them. To start with a tool box or case will suffice and most tool sets come in storage cases but one your collection begins to grow its advisable to invest in a tool cabinet, they can become quite costly but if you buy a quality they will last your career.

When starting out you will probably be budget sensitive but try to but quality tools that will last rather than a set from a supermarket and over time build up your tool collection as you go.