What tools should a backyard mechanic have these days ?

For a person doing routine regular maintenance on a modern car with perhaps once and awhile tackling some slightly more difficult repairs what would you
suggest be included in their tool box ?
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Say for a Mustang..
Full set of Metric 6 point sockets every size from at least 8 to 19 MM. -plus a 12 point 12mm socket. other 12 points where specialty 12 point bolts exist
1/2 inch drive Breaker bar, 1/2 sockets from 16 to at least 21.
Set of combination wrenches Must be GOOD quality to be worth it.
Torx and allens, depending... seat belts, door strikers; possible need on struts, calipers
Misc electrical/wiring repair, incl at least 12 volt test light ... recommned a dvm.
Strap Oil filter wrench (for removal) and 3 gal closable drain pan
Exhaust work:
4 or 4 1/2 inch angle grinder with cutting wheel (the more compact, the better.. given a recognizable name. You'll find tons of uses for this tool, great value for money. (you can grind with cutting wheel, cutting with grinding wheel is a pita!)
good quality Ramps at minimum. 2 ton floor type jack (see Meijers post right now) and solid base jackstands.
3/8 var speed drill and top quality bits for same. Cheap electric drills are ok, cheap bits are useless except for wood.
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On Sun, 19 Mar 2006 16:51:37 GMT, Backyard Mechanic

I'd agree pretty much, but with today's exhaust systems mostly being stainless, you are not going to be doing much exhaust work, so you can save yourself the cutoff saw or grinder, at least untill you find a need for it.
Add to the list an OBD scanner for reading and resetting codes. The Auto Xray unit is excellent, and upgradeable to manufacturer specific codes and CANBUS. *** Free account sponsored by SecureIX.com *** *** Encrypt your Internet usage with a free VPN account from http://www.SecureIX.com ***
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You won't fit it all in one box, maybe one wall of your garage if you are lucky, but don't bank on it.
21" or higher floor jack, at least a pair of three ton jack stands Oil catch basin, coolant catch basin, five gallon container to recycle fluids All metric and standard regular and deep sockets All metric and standard crecsent and/or box-end wrenches OBD-II code reader Pair of ramps Four-way tire iron Tourque wrench Auto multimeter, test leads Haynes/chilton's manuals for routine maintenance, alldatadiy.com subscriptions for each vehicle Mighty Vac pump/bleeding kit Air compressor/attachments Screwdrivers all shapes and sizes Battery cleaning/maintenance tools, load tester, 2/10/50 charger, gravity tester Workbench Lots of other stuff that don't readily come to mind. Heaps of special tools and whatnot you collect over the years that you will only use once, or a couple of times if you are lucky.
Once I make more room I think I'll add a 12 gallon parts washer.
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On 19 Mar 2006 09:04:33 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

You can forget the battery gravity tester if you have a sealed battery - and you can get away without the compressor and air tools. They make life easier. The Mity vac is handy, but you can get along without it. Save your money on the Chiltons / Haynes and get the manual from the dealer. They cost more, but anything else is a total waste of money. A good set of ramps is always handy too. If you have a choice between 4 jack stands and 2 jack stands plus a set of ramps, use the latter. Changing oil etc is always easier with ramps and you have less chance of a jacking mishap (perhaps contered by a chance of driving over/off the ramps - but we ARE being careful, I hope) A decent creaper, or at least something to slide around on, is a definite advantage. The special tools can generally be rented when you need them. *** Free account sponsored by SecureIX.com *** *** Encrypt your Internet usage with a free VPN account from http://www.SecureIX.com ***
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Steve Stone wrote:

everything you can buy
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The other answers were good... this one is, though cryptic, probably the best.
Other than basic hand tools (I would definitely add a 21 mm 'everything' to BYMs list, though... especially in larger sizes, a close fitting SAE size can be adequate in all but the highest torque applications - but, if you take the corners off a fastener, you will not be amused.
The torque wrench should be a decent quality click type... An inch pounds torque wrench will be a big plus when doing medium to good skill engine work. This should also be a click type... swivel head is a bonus. An inch pounbds dial reading torque wrench if you plan on doing differential/steering box work, too.
The OBD2 scanner is a sore point... stand alone code readers are getting more and more useless... a scan tool capable of displaying PID data is better... a scan tool capable of performing actuator tests is even better.... a scan tool able to communicate with proprietary modules is the best choice. If a new Ford is in your future, you better make sure it can communicate over the CAN protocol network. - bring your wallet. Even something as mundane as a lighting system is now, more often than not, using a module in the control system somewhere.
Safety glasses... several pair kept handy around the shop.... use them lest you wind up like this battered old warhorse... Also, hypo-allergenic nitrile rubber gloves (the blue ones)... I don't use them (didn't have them back when I started) and everyone can tell. After you wash up, you may think your hands are clean... I look at mine 15 minutes after a good scrub and the dark stuff just seems to ooze out of nowhere.
Hide your adjustable wrenches in a really dark corner... resist any urge to use them... they only do two things well... bend tin and take the corners off of fasteners.
The DMM you choose should be good quality.... auto ranging is a plus but require attention when using to avoid misinterpreting the display. One with a bar graph along the bottom is useful but not mandatory.... an audible continuity tester is handy.... whichever DMM you buy -RTFM!!!!! The DMM is one of the least understood, underutilized tools in the box. At the very least.... LEARN HOW TO READ AND UNDERSTAND VOLTAGE DROPS!!!! Ever wonder how some guys can find a problem in ten minutes and others couldn't find it in ten days??? Voltage drops.....
A good shop manual including the PC/ED (powertrain control/emissions diagnostics) sections and the wiring diagrams... heavy on the wiring diagrams... some practice may be required to read the diagrams correctly.
HTH

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Well put, on hiding those adj'l wrenches. And be sure to buy a tiny pair of GOOD (like brand name "VISE") vice-grip pliers for working behind someone who had been using his adj'l wrenches! They work quite well on smaller ones, but don't seem to work so well on larger rounded-off bolts/nuts. s
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The most important things:- a kettle, tea bags and some chocolate biscuits. Essential for when you can't figure what's wrong with the thing you're working on!
"when all else fails, brew"
m
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pottsy wrote:

Ditto........ When you get frustrated, back off and have a cup of your favorite brew. Coffee does me, tea is good. Beer increases the chances for mistakes ;)
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