Although Rotary Thread is primarily a manufacturer of thread repair tools, quite a lot of us are grease monkeys on the side—avid collectors of the best mechanic tools—weekend tinkerers who enjoy spending a little too much time in the garage, under the hood.
Needless to say, we find DIY car repair to be very satisfying—we save money, gain tons of experience, and get a satisfying confidence boost, knowing that our car is working properly because of the work we put in.
In our years as DIY tinkerers and home mechanics, we find that we actually don’t need a ton of fancy tools for most of the repair and maintenance projects we undertake. That said, there are definitely a number of must-have tools that are foundational pieces to any toolbox. Having these essential tools can be the very difference between a long and tedious task and a job done right.
1. Rotary Thread
Rotary Thread is a rotary tool attachment that repairs, cleans, and creates new threads on nuts and bolts. Rotary Thread is a far more effective alternative to traditional thread repair tools such as thread files, taps and dies, and threaded inserts, among others.
Unlike traditional thread repair tools that would require you to match the right tools to the exact pitch of the thread you’re working on, Rotary Thread is designed to universally repair ALL of the most common inch, metric, pipe, ACME, square, and buttress types of threads—regardless of thread pitch. Rotary Thread also works on both internal and external threads.
Sold as either individual attachments or as part of thread repair kits, Rotary Thread is an excellent and essential addition to your toolbox.
2. Impact Wrench
As veteran home mechanics, we’ve all encountered an extremely stubborn bolt that just wouldn’t budge, even with all the elbow grease and determination in the world—but it would with an impact wrench.
An impact wrench, also called an impact gun or a torque gun, is a handheld socket wrench power tool that allows you to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts quickly and with minimal effort. Typically outfitted with a 1/2″ socket attachment, an impact wrench is particularly helpful in getting nuts and bolts unstuck from that are most susceptible to rust such as ball joints, caliper bolts, etc.
Perhaps the most quintessential DIY tool, the hammer is one the most versatile and vital tools in a mechanic’s tool box. While a lot of professional and expert mechanics will have an absolute arsenal of up to 20 different hammers, we find that having a ball peen hammer, a soft-blow mallet, and a 2-pound maul is enough to cover most DIY automotive projects and repairs.
Use the ball peen hammer for precision work; use the soft-blow mallet for jobs where hammering is needed but without causing unnecessary surface damage, such as when doing engine work; and use the 2-pound maul when you need to deliver a heavy blow, such as when removing drum brakes, ball joints, tie rods, and a host of other suspension work.
Screwdrivers are an absolutely ubiquitous tool in every auto mechanic repair workshop, and for good reason. Used for installing and removing screws, a good quality screwdriver also doubles as a pry bar.
Screwdrivers offer endless use and value for countless automotive repair applications—from replacing an oil filter, to changing a spark plug, to fastening a delicate piece of electronics.
In most cases, you’ll be using the flat and the Phillips (cross) screwdrivers, so there’s really no need for you to buy a full set. However, in our experience, it’s generally more cost-effective to just spring for an entire set anyway, which isn’t really a drawback since screwdrivers are nifty little tools that serve a wide array DIY uses outside of automotive applications.
At no point in automotive history have cars become more reliant on both electrical and electronic systems than today. Naturally, this increasing reliance on modern electronics has also rendered cars more vulnerable to electrical issues.
A multimeter, also called a volt-ohm meter, is a handheld diagnostic tool that would allow you to detect any unwanted electric upsurge in the way your car operates. Measuring resistance, current, voltage, and amperage, a multimeter can help you diagnose a wide array of issues relating to your car’s battery, power supply and delivery systems, fuses, and various other electrical circuits.
In our experience, we find that when shopping for a multimeter, it’s best to invest in a good quality one right from the get-go as cheaper multimeters tend to be less accurate and more prone to giving misleading readings altogether.
Just remember that when shopping for the abovementioned tools—and when shopping for tools in general—it’s always a good idea to invest in high-quality ones right off the bat, as you will use them a lot and for a quite a long time.
Speaking of high-quality tools—Rotary Thread is the only professional-grade thread repair tool on the market that works on both internal and external threads, as well as on ALL of the most common inch, metric, pipe, ACME, square, and buttress types of threads.
There you go—a practical starter list of the best mechanic tools that every DIY and weekend tinkerers must have!