Whatever your ride, and whatever maintenance, modifications or repairs you’ve got planned for it, a few simple and affordable products can make a big impact when it comes to tackling summer wrenching with ease, speed, and convenience.
Below, we’ll look at a few simple, cheap, and clever items to keep in your toolkit or garage, each of which can help make working on, or around, your ride a more pleasant and less frustrating experience.
Magnets, magnets, magnets!
Suspension repairs, air filter replacement, changing a wheel, dismantling of any part, general garage organization
Why You Want Some
Because you’re a klutz, and you’ll lose things, and that’ll make you angry and cause you to use foul language in front of the kids. So, start by getting yourself a magnetic tool holder, which is comprised of a dish or tray, with a big magnet attached to the back. You stick this on the side of your ride, on the top of your engine, or even on the underside of the hood (since most work upside down), to keep your parts, fasteners, and even small tools organized, at hand, and just as you left them.
Next, acquire yourself a parts grabber. This is basically a bendy stick with a magnet on one end, and will prove useful for when you drop that last intake manifold bolt or some tiny but important screw down into the abyss of your engine bay. Modern vehicle engine compartments are so tight a parts grabber may be your only option for retrieval. Some parts grabbers have a small claw on the end, since you’ll probably drop a non-magnetic part or two down into the engine room, too.
Finally, consider using some super glue to attach powerful rare-earth magnets to your garage wall, and use them to keep commonly used tools out of the way, but nearby.
Rare-earth magnets super-glued to the wall of your garage, near the door, make a great place to leave your car keys where they won’t get knocked over.
Safety glasses with built-in LED lights
Exhaust system changes, fluid changes, suspension work, inspections, anything underneath your ride
Why You Want Some
Because, seriously, how clever is one handy little product that tackles two important jobs? First, a set of these bad boys protects your eyes, which is swell. Second, they make sure you have good light, exactly where it’s needed, and exactly where you’re looking, without tripping on an extension cord for your work light, or knocking the work light over, or having to constantly adjust said work light because it’s in the your way (or you’re in its way). If you want illumination that always shines where you’re looking but is never in the way, a set of LED light safety glasses is pretty much the best thing ever.
Wear safety glasses! When working on your ride, assuming that the “safety squint” is sufficient is a good way to wind up in the hospital emergency room with an eye injury. Use a set of safety glasses, and preferably one with built-in lighting, and your peepers will thank you.
An el-cheapo tablet
Wiring, brakes, fluid changes, installing custom parts, troubleshooting, dismantling and cleaning, etc.
Why You Want One
Because skimping is great when it comes to your toilet paper, your guest beer, and the potentially fragile electronics you’ll use in your garage. You can buy a budget tablet for under $50, leave it in the garage, and keep your smartphone, laptop or “good” tablet far from the grease, metal particles, dust, dirt, and potential of damage or smashy-times it’s likely to experience while you work on your ride. Even a cheap tablet can browse the web or YouTube, so you can watch or read how-to guides on car repair or maintenance, or check with fellow mechanics in online forums if you run into a sticky. Plus, if you drop an impact gun on it, or accidentally drop it into your oil-change basin, you won’t feel nearly as bad.
Pro Tip 1
Consider getting a budget-brand tablet with a camera, so you can photograph things before you take them apart, so you’ll know how to fit them back together.
Pro Tip 2
If you’ve got a TV in your garage, all you need is a Chromecast, or similar device, to send web pages, videos, audio files and more from your tablet to the TV, for an easier time viewing them in the background. If you don’t know what a Chromecast is, or how to set one up with your tablet, ask your nearest teenager for assistance.
A multi-function creeper
Brakes, fluid changes, detailing, tire changes, exhaust work, suspension work, etc.
Why You Want One
Because if you get the right one, you’ll have a creeper, a bench, and a rolling tool and fastener storage cart, all in one – which pretty much makes you a genius. Some multi-function creeper bench products are available that easily switch from a comfy creeper to a rolling seat in seconds. Go from lying flat on your back to sitting on your backside, lickety-split – and keep all of your fasteners and sockets and extensions right beside you all the while.
Obtain a bicycle hanging hook from your local hardware store, and secure it into a stud in the wall of your garage. Then, when you’re not using your multi-function bench, you can fold it flat and hang it on the wall until next time, instead of leaving it out and tripping over it.
A wall-mounted blower vac
Garage clean up, car interior detailing, car drying, workbench cleanup
Why You Want One
Because it can help clean up workspaces, clean your ride, clean your whole garage, and even be used to dry parts, or your entire ride, after cleaning. Wall-mounted units ensure there’s a 100 percent chance your blower vac will be where you left it, when you need it. The uses are limitless: blow debris out of your garage or workbench (or suck it up), use it to dry parts, use it to dry your entire ride, and, of course, use it for detailing your ride’s cabin and sucking up yucky old fries.