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  • Automotive Tool List - Which Tools Do I Need?

    As I have been continually gathering feedback on our social media channels to attract new members, there have been questions coming up about those looking to break into working on these Camaro's or cars in general and what they even need to get started.

    I decided it might be beneficial to start breaking down some basic and advance tools that one might use when working on their car for those who want to get started to look into investing in.

    Since we have an amazon affiliate account and we get a small commission from any sales through their links that we provide, I'll add Amazon links to products where I can but some of these tools may be cheaper in box stores.

    Repair Manuals

    One of the first things you will want to do if you are starting out on these cars is to pickup a manual for them so that you can see torque specs, diagrams and have a bit of a guide on how to preform certain services.OBDII Code Reader

    After getting yourself a manual, the second best tool you can have to start learning what's going on when you have an issue is an OBDII code reader so that you can read engine codes when your engine light goes on. This will help point your repair in the right direction, or if you have to take the car into the mechanic help you recognize if they don't know what they are doing or trying to take you for a ride.

    These are fairly generic nowadays, so it is more on preference if you want a hand held unit or something that connects to your phone. I bought an autel scanner for about $20-$30 and it does everything I need it to do when I am not tuning the car and have hp tuners out. (If you are just getting into repairing your car and not tuning it, there is no need to drop big money on Hp tuners)Jack, Jack Stands & Car Ramps

    If you need to get under your car to change the oil or another type of repair, you're going to need to safely get your car up in the air. To do this you'll need a jack and jackstands (I recommend a low profile jack as these cars sit lower) or possibly ramps. Any way you choose make sure that you never work under a vehicle only supported by a Jack and use wheel chocks to prevent the car from rolling. Follow all safety precautions or you risk death if your car falls on you. A little bit of common sense and you'll be safe.
    • Low profile Jack
    • 3 ton jack stands
    • wheel chocks (you should at least a pair to put behind your 2 wheels on the ground, but ideally you should have them front and back of the 2 wheels on the ground.
    • Wheel ramps (if you don't want to use a jack, but want to get under for things like oil changes. Make sure the ramp will let your lowered car go up it)

    Socket Set

    A good socket set is needed if you intend on doing any wrenching on these cars. I would invest in something that has a decent number of pieces and is also a decent name. Cheaper socket sets tend to have fatter walls and can't always fit in tight areas, or the tolerances are off and they tend to strip bolts easier. Stripped bolts = a 10 minute job turning into a 3 day job.
    • Stanley Socket Set I like my Stanley socket set, it is durable and their lifetime warranty replaces any tool I break. Granted, a lot of their stuff is backordered and takes awhile to get to me when I break it, it's free and I make do with my spare tools in the mean time.
    • Dewalt Mechanics set
    • Mastercraft Socket Set

    I have always believed you don't need super expensive wrenches. You want something that has a thinner material for the closed end to allow you to use the wrench in different circumstances. The big thing for me is having both a set of metric and SAE. Some people will get ratcheting wrenches and that is there only set. I personally like having a set of each as the ratcheting ones are fatter and I can't always use them in tight spots.Oil drip Pans / Funnels

    I don't know if you consider this a tool or not, but if you do any sort of fluid changes, a catch pan is an absolute must. Funnels will help getting fluid into both the motor / transmission.
    Screw Drivers

    A set of screw drivers is needed for everything from undoing band clamps in the engine bay, to helping remove wiring harness clips to tacking most interior trim work.Pliers/Vice Grips

    Pliers are used for help to dislodge brackets/harness clips and vice grips are primarily going to be used to grab things like stripped bolts or hold something in place while you wrench on the other side.Hammer

    There are a few different types of hammers that may be helpful to have when working on your car. A regular hammer, sledge hammer rubber mallet and sliding hammer. The sliding hammer probably fits in more with "specialty tools" but since we already have a hammer category we'll keep it here.
    Torque Wrench

    These are a must have when working on cars. Every bolt on a car has a torque spec which is a specific measure of torque applied to a bolt so that it is not too tight or too loose to put it in the simplest of terms.For small bolts like rocker arm bolts, caliper bolts, steering bolts etc, a 3/8" wrench is more suitable.Impact Gun / Wrench

    You may have seen our impact gun thread where we discussed which battery powered impact to go with. Now that I have switched to battery powered, I find it way more versatile than my air gun. If you can afford to go with a battery power gun and you already have batteries from one of the big name players and it is going to be cheaper for you that way, do it.
    Specialty Tools

    These tools are a little more for specialized jobs such as certain engine/electrical testing, ball joint repairs, brake repairs, etc.

    Ball Joint Seperator

    You can use pullers, pickle forks or separators. I prefer using the seperator as I have had great luck with it and have never ruined a ball joint boot ever.OHM Meter/ Multi Meter / Electrical Related

    For testing the electrical system or the battery.Wire Crimpers / Wire Cutters

    If you are doing any sort of wiring on your car (amp install, audio, Big 3 wire upgrade, trailer hitch, etc) then you will need a way to strip your wires and crimp them.Brake Bleeders

    If you don't have a second person to pump the brakes for you while you bleed them, a vacuum bleeder is key to getting the job done yourselfOther Power Tools

    These are under the specialty category because it depends on what you are doing. Drills for instance aren't specialty, but they are typically going to be used more so to drill a hole into something if you require it, or maybe to spin some wire wheel to clean an area up. Angle grinders and sawzalls can be used to remove metal where needed to make something fit or get rid of something that is no longer needed.

    Molding Trim Remover

    Used to remove the trim around your radio or dashboard without marring the surface
    Compression Tester

    Used to check for cylinder compression. More of a diagnostic tool than something you will use often.Misc

    These are not necessarily tools, but probably a very good idea to have when working on your car.
    I''ll keep adding to this list with more tools. If you have tool suggestions list them below and I will add them to this list. I'll ramp this from a beginner all the way up to an advance level.
    Last edited by LETZRIDE; 04-03-2021, 10:27 PM.

    2002 SOM Z28 Camaro - 12.9 @ 104 mph
    1996 3800 Camaro - 13.43 @ 100.77 mph

    Project Cars | How To Guides | Scratch Repair | Synthetic Oil

  • #2
    Nice Mike good write up.
    08' L76 6.0L 4X4 Chevy EXT.Cab LTZ Vortec MAX with Snug top cover, Dynomax exhaust,Hptuners& K&N intake
    96' Camaro M5 to A4 conversion, alot of mods . GT35R Turbo full suspension. Built engine


    • #3
      I definitely need those impact guns.


      • #4
        Originally posted by 2.8 Bird View Post
        I definitely need those impact guns.
        Cordless is so much better than air. In the few times I have used it not worrying about the air line or having to plug the compressor in and hear it go off is so much nicer

        2002 SOM Z28 Camaro - 12.9 @ 104 mph
        1996 3800 Camaro - 13.43 @ 100.77 mph

        Project Cars | How To Guides | Scratch Repair | Synthetic Oil


        • #5
          I have a 20 inch 1/2 inch drive breaker bar that I freaking Love. go to the pick-a-part place and nothing, but Nothing, is too tight to undo...

          I'd never ever buy another Harbor Freight tool though. Bitten too many times.
          Floor jack - handle broke,
          Variable speed grinder/buffer - starts slow and then revs to full speed (no control),
          Reciprocating saw - does not stop (switch fault),
          Axle stands - recalled (dangerous),
          Work bench - flimsiest PoS I have ever tried to use,
          14 inch electric chainsaw - chain jammed so had I had to dismantle it just to clear it, threw it out.

          User error, could be... but I've been working with various tools and powered equipment for over 40 years without these problems.
          Last edited by Pax2001; 04-29-2021, 11:54 AM. Reason: changed saw status to doesn't stop - typo


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