Do you love to spend time tinkering under the bonnet of your project car? Regardless of the scale of your restoration work, the right tools will be necessary. Whether you’re rebuilding a car to use as a daily driver or you want to restore a show car to pristine condition, it pays to know what equipment you’ll need along the way. We’ll explore some of the most critical tools to stock in your home garage.
We’ll start with what may be a significant investment depending on the size you purchase. An air compressor is an invaluable aid, as it helps speed up the removal of everything from lug nuts to smaller nuts and bolts. You can purchase smaller air compressors that will run only a single tool at a time, or larger versions that require the installation of permanent air lines in your garage and can run multiple tools at once.
An impact wrench is going to be a vital consideration for any auto restoration. Our recommendation is that you purchase a larger wrench for bigger jobs – like removing lug nuts – and a smaller one for more precision work.
Ratchets are indispensable tools, but an air ratchet can make your work simpler and easier. It also connects right to your air compressor and can fit the same extensions and sockets as your regular ratchets.
Manual Ratchets, Sockets, and Spanners
You’ll need a selection of manual ratchets, sockets, and spanners for any resto job. As a note, it pays to invest in a quality set of tools. Cheaper options might seem appealing at the outset, but they’ll break and leave you hanging. Quality is always worth the price.
Another air tool, your angle grinder will come in handy when doing all types of body work. If you’ll be hiring out the body work, then you might not need this one, but it’s worth considering.
Another important tool for those doing body work, a dent puller does precisely what the name implies. Again, if you’re not going to do the body work yourself, this is one that you can probably live without.
Hoists and Stands
Restoration work involves removing and installing heavy items like engines and transmissions. You’ll need to make sure you have a transmission stand, an engine hoist, and other pieces of equipment to make sure you’re safe while working.
You will need a full set of manual tools at hand, including:
- Needle-nose pliers
- Hex wrenches
- Vice grips
- Channel locks
- Torque wrenches
- Valve spring compressors
- Pry bars
Many of the tools listed immediately above should be in your general tools, but some, such as torque wrenches and valve spring compressors, are specialty bits of kit that you’ll want to add as soon as you can.
In the end, it’s possible to do modest repair and restoration work with just basic tools while building your kit so that you can eventually take on larger projects down the road. Tools can be expensive, so plan your budget and know what tools you’ll need for specific projects.