Best car tool kits for those DIYers

To help you get those DIY mechanic jobs complete and to feel like a champion, CAR recommends its top car tool kits.

Socket set in a red case

by Chris Williams |

Granted, many motoring fix-it tasks require a laptop and diagnostic tool rather than a screwdriver but there are many little jobs that still demand actual tools.

These jobs can be as simple as removing a battery or number plate, but a small job though it is, tools are crucial and fingernails are useless.

What tools to looks for

When starting from an empty shelf, the basics to look for in a tool kit for your car include screwdrivers, a ratchet and sockets, spanners, allen keys and pliers.

Additional items you may need – particularly for more involved jobs at home – include a hammer, car jack, axle stands, tyre pressure gauge and inflator, battery jump-starter pack and hand degreaser such as Swarfega.

We’d suggest storing all of the above in your garage or shed, then keeping a portable tool kit in the car (see our favourite below). Either way, a ready-made kit should be easy to carry, with its own case or bag providing easy access to the tools inside.

Professional tool kits are better quality, but vastly more expensive. So consider whether you will likely reap the benefits of a professional-grade set. Remember, there are perfectly decent sets for casual users. You can gradually upgrade your tool collection over time.

Faithfull Metal Barn Tool Box 484 mm

Editoru2019s tool box pick
Faithfull Metal Barn Tool Box 484 mm

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As classic as a hamburger and just as reliable. The steel body is sturdy and can be made secure with a padlock if your wish. This size is 484 x 154 x 165mm and comes with a tote tray. There is a smaller size but it does away with the tote tray.

The best car tool kits

WZG Werkzeug 194 Piece Tool Set

Editoru2019s pick
WZG Werkzeug 194 Piece Tool Set

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This tool kit knows its market and caters perfectly to it. Ideal for the home mechanic, this comprehensive kit from German brand WZG Werkzeug is a great addition to any garage. The sturdy aluminium carry-case contains 194 pieces, secured in place by Velcro or rubber straps.

The kit comprises a variety of spanners, sockets, pliers, screwdrivers and allen keys. Other useful tools include a file, 8-inch adjustable wrench, ratchet handle, 300g machinist hammer, zip ties and measuring tape. The quality is very good, especially given the affordable price. Note these tools are metric (rather than imperial) sizes, so won’t be suitable for some classic cars.

Pros Cons
• All the basic tools you need • A bit large to keep in the car
• Well made and organised
• Strong aluminium case

Black + Decker 77 Piece Tool Accessories Roll Bag

Best portable tool kit
Black + Decker A7063-QZ 77 Piece Tool Accessories Roll Bag

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Unlike the large WZG kit, this fits in your caru2019s glove box or spare wheel well and contains the essentials for emergency repairs. It could prevent a call to a breakdown service u2013 or provide peace of mind when driving in rural areas, where mobile phone signal is limited.

Although not comprehensive, Black + Decker has still squeezed no less than 77 pieces into a roll-up bag. These include spanners, sockets and allen keys, plus flat-blade and Phillips screwdrivers, pliers and a ratchet. The components are well made and should last for many years of occasional use.

Pros Cons
• Portable for the car • Only basic tools included
• Affordable
• Good quality

Halfords Advanced 150 Pc Socket & Spanner Set

Lifetime warranty
Halfords Advanced 150 Pc Socket & Spanner Set

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Bearing most essential tools, there is the added and significant benefit of a lifetime warranty. The case isn't the best quality, but crucially, the tools are very good. Those who would see the greatest return are those who would use this kit frequently.

Pros Cons
• Lifetime warranty • Plastic case
• Good value for money • Pricey for occasional use
• Wide selection of tools

Hi-Spec 67 Piece Auto Mechanics Tool Set

Best budget tool kit
Hi-Spec 67 Piece Auto Mechanics Tool Set

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Containing the u2018most reached for socketsu2019 by car mechanics. This value-priced kit comprises 67 pieces made from chrome-plated steel alloy. As well as the expected spanners and sockets, handy extras include a voltage tester and earthing lead, plus no less than 28 screwdriver bits.

The plastic case feels a bit flimsy but this is an affordable tool kit that you could store at home or in the car boot. The tool sizes are metric, making it suitable for the vast majority of cars – and plenty of jobs around the house, too.

Pros Cons
• Budget price • Trade-off with low price is lower quality
• Easy to carry around
• Good range of tools

Sealey Mechanics Tool Kit 100pc

For serious DIYers and tinkerers
Sealey AK7400 Mechanics Tool Kit 100pc

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Sealey is one of the tool industry's most comprehensive manufacturers, that produces almost any tool you can think of, from spanners to the most obscure pieces of equipment. Its 100-piece mechanic's tool kit is fairly self-explanatory: if you have a workshop at home or a serious home mechanic, this set bears all the frequently used tools you need and at the level of quality you expect.

In addition to the 1/4" and 1/2" sockets, you get deep spark plug sockets (1/4"), extension bars, 10" water pump pliers, 12oz ball pein hammer, circuit tester, hex keys, to name but a few. At almost eight kilograms, it's a hefty kit, but it's not intended to be super portable and is indicative of the heavy-duty nature of the tools in it.

Pros Cons
• Professional-grade quality • Not worth it for casual DIYers
• Lifetime guarantee
• A worthy investment for those who will benefit

Sealey Motorcycle Toolkit

Sealey MS164 Motorcycle Toolkit

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Even a car tool roll is too bulky for carrying on a motorcycle. Help is at hand, however, in the shape of this slimmed-down kit from Sealey. Itu2019s small enough to fit beneath your motorbike seat.

The Sealey name dates back to 1978 and the company is one of the leading suppliers to the garage trade. The zip-up bag contains pliers, sockets, mole grips, cable ties, a ratchet and a magnetic screwdriver. The kit is of a decent quality and won’t weigh you down unnecessarily.

Pros Cons
• Ideal for bikers • Flimsy bag
• Very compact • Limited tool selection
• Good quality tools

Read next:

Rust converters, rust repair, and avoiding rust

Paint protection options for DIY

Tyre sealant: what it is and how to use it

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