Whats the best way to approach fixing my own vehicle?

I’m going to gear this article for those who have little to some knowledge of auto repair and feel comfortable around a wrench set. The DIY’er so to speak. So your vehicle is in need of repair and you have a ton of questions like, the best place to get parts, the best tools , the proper procedures, etc. Here it is no B.S. copy these tools.  #1 a 1/4 drive ratchet, a 1/4 extension in 1 inch, 3 inch , 6 inch and twelve inch, preferably wobble extensions , if not a swivel for sockets in 1/4.  A six point metric socket set consisting of 4mm, 4.5mm, 5mm, 5.5mm, 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm, 2x8mm, 9mm, 2x 10mm, 11mm, 2x12mm, 2x13mm, 2x14mm, the reason you should have 2 is those are going to be used most and thus likely to be lost or broken, always have a spare. Ok that should cover you on 1/4 drive stuff on to 3/8. #2 a good 3/8 ratchet, craftsman, stanley, snap-on, cornwell, etc. This is your workhorse, get a good one.  One inch, 3 inch, 6 inch, 8 inch and 12 inch 3/8  again preferably wobble extensions, in not then a 3/8 inch swivel for sockets, to save time I will list sockets in order, these need to be six point metric as well in millimeters starting 8, 9, 2×10, 11, 2×12, 2×13, 2×14, 15, 16,17, 18, 19, 20 and 21mm. You will need both short and long sockets for both 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2. In a perfect world you should have both 6 point and 12 point in short and long sockets. Six point sockets are the same shape as the nut and have less of a chance of rounding off nuts. Your 1/2 set should include a good ratchet, 1 inch, 3 inch 6 inch, 8 inch and 12 inch wobble extensions, in not you will need a swivel as well. Socket sizes should include, in metric millimeters, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 ,19, 20, 21, 22, and 24mm. Again short and long sockets in both 6 and 12 point. I know it is already overwhelming, trust me if you are serious about your own auto repair, you WILL need these. I guarantee it, you can buy it all at once, which I recommend, or you can make a billion trips to the tool store every time you need something you don’t have. Trust me get it all at once, you will thank me later. That covers your basic socket sets in 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch drive. All the years as a mechanic did I  rarely use S.A.E. fractional sockets like 1/2 inch 3/8 inch ,but it is good to have a few like 1/2 , 5/16, 5/8, 3/8 , 3/4 ,11/16 and 15/16 sockets in 3/8 and 1/2 drive you wont need them in 1/4 drive. That rounds out your socket set and you should be able to do almost any repair involving nuts and bolts. Next is combination wrenches, again metric will cover most of your needs, but it wouldnt hurt to get both metric and standard. I highly recommend, a complete set of Torx, and allen sockets. For the allen, I recommend both metric and standard. Next, you need a 2 to 3 pound hand sledge hammer, a good heavy ball pein hammer, a pry bar set with handles, a phillips screwdriver set and a flat head set. An adjustable end wrench aka crescent wrench, adjustable slip joint pliers, also known as water pump pliers, a pair of side cutters, regular and needle nose pliers, a hacksaw, a multi meter and test light for electrical. GASP you say! That must cost hundreds of dollars, that is one reason mechanics aren’t cheap, they have a lot invested in tools. Fortunately you can be wise and pick up sets on sale , clearance , garage sales, swap meets, pawn shops and put together every thing I mentioned for 200.00. It is doable but will require some work, but once you have it all, things will go much more smoothly, I saved the last and most important tool you will need and that is a good, high output L.E.D. flashlight, I can’t stress enough how important that tool is. Get a good one! My next article will cover what to do once you have a good complete tool set. Until then, happy tool hunting!

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