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17 Essential DIY Car Repair Tools

Are you a DIY type of person? Like to tinker on your car instead of taking it to a shop? Then we recommend having these car tools handy. You can find these 17 simple yet essential items at most hardware stores. Although some items aren’t typically thought of as “car tools,” they are surprisingly effective.

1. Zip Ties

Zip ties aren’t just for childproofing your cupboards. They can hold body panels together temporarily and keep wires orderly. They can also be used to hold loose hubcaps or other loose exterior parts on to your vehicle. You can find them in different colors – maybe one will match on your car’s exterior!

2. Heavy Duty Magnet

DIY Auto Repair Tools Magnet

Heavy duty magnet

“Why do I need a magnet in my car,” you ask? Because a heavy duty magnet will pick up screws, bolts, and other pieces of metal—saving wear and tear on your back. A heavy duty magnet can also help you hold onto loose pieces of metal during car repairs, so you aren’t scrambling to find loose pieces when it’s time to put parts back together.

3. Multi-Tool

DIY Auto Repair Tools multi-tools

Multi-tool is like a mini toolbox in one

Multi-tools are like having a mini toolbox in your back pocket—easy to access and handy for quick, small projects. Most multi-tools contain needle nose pliers, a knife, various screw drivers, and a variety of other tools. A good multi-tool costs around $60 and will be worth every cent.

4. Car Jack and Stands

DIY Auto Repair Tools Car Jack and Stand

Car jack and jack stand

A quality car jack and jack stands are essential when working under your vehicle. The jack lifts your vehicle off the ground, and the jack stands support your vehicle while you work underneath it.  Therefore, it’s important to have a good quality set to ensure your safety. While your vehicle may come with a jack, purchasing your own higher quality jack and stands is recommended.

5. Tire Gauge

A good tire gauge is invaluable. It indicates if your tires are over- or under-inflated. Benefits of properly inflated tires include:

  • Prevents excessive wear
  • Lowers risk of blowout
  • Creates a smoother ride
  • Increases fuel efficiency
  • Increases traction

Consult your vehicle’s manual for the recommended Pressure Per Square Inch (PSI) and check your tires with your tire gauge regularly. If a tire is flat… consider the next item on this list.

6. Air Compressor

A tire gauge is an air compressor’s best friend! Use an air compressor to properly inflate your tires to the recommended PSI. Air compressors can also power spray guns which are handy for detailing or spray painting your vehicle.

An air compressor can also help power pneumatic tools like nail guns and staplers.

7. Socket Set

DIY Auto Repair Tools Socket Set

Socket Set

A socket wrench is a ratchet tool that comes with a set of cylinder-shaped sockets of varying sizes. Having a quality socket set might cost a bit more, but it’ll be worth it. When considering purchasing your socket set, look for a few things:

  • Comprised of good alloy steel – for lasting durability
  • Metric and inch sizes – for more fitting options
  • Deep sockets –for spark plug work
  • Warranties – for protection
  • Impact sockets – for high-torque with power tools
  • Easy snap-on parts – for versatility

Once you have a quality socket set, you’ll be able to remove all the nuts and bolts you could imagine.

8. Side Cutters

DIY Auto Repair Tools Side Cutters

Side Cutters, also known as diagonal pliers

Side cutters, also known as “diagonal pliers,” are handy for cutting wires, copper, brass, iron, aluminum, and steel wire. A side cutter is useful when doing auto body work or cutting any type of metal. You get what you pay for with side cutters. Better quality side cutters will cost more but last longer.

9. Pry Bar

Pry bars are available in varying sizes. Small ones about the size of a pair of scissors are handy for removing audio components from your vehicle’s dashboard or a car’s inside door panel. Larger ones can be used to carefully remove dents and to check a vehicle’s ball joints.

10. Torque Wrench

You’d be nuts not to have a good torque wrench in your garage. Pun intended. A torque wrench requires far less elbow grease than a standard wrench and is perfect for loosening or tightening lug nuts and bolts. You can set it to stop applying force at a certain point, ensuring that you’re not over-tightening (ruining) lug nuts.

11. Locking Pliers

DIY Auto Repair Tools Locking Pliers

Locking pliers, also known as vise grips

Locking pliers function as an extra hand when two just aren’t enough. Locking pliers, also known as vise grips, holds an item in place while you work. For instance, a vise can hold metal while you weld. The benefit these pliers have over a bench vise is their portability and small “footprint” on the item.

12. Four-Way Wrench

DIY Auto Repair Tools Four Way Wrench

Four-way wrench, also known as lug wrench

A four-way wrench or “lug wrench” is an X-shaped tool, giving this item its name. It is commonly used for loosening and tightening lug nuts on a vehicle’s wheels, and most vehicles come equipped with one. While a torque wrench is the preferred choice for tightening nuts or bolts to avoid stripping, a four-way wrench is a more affordable option.

13. Acetylene Torch

The acetylene torch is a surprisingly versatile multi-tool and one of the most useful DIY auto repair tools. Acetylene torches can help remove a rusty nut, release a stuck panel, warm heavy undercoating to ease removal, and cut metal. Use extreme caution when working with fire and be sure to keep this out of the reach of children.

14. Fire Extinguisher

DIY Auto Repair Tools Fire Extinguisher

Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher can stop a small, manageable fire from becoming an out-of-control, perilous situation. Every garage and home should have one. Remember, once you use a fire extinguisher, recharge it immediately—regardless of how much spray was used. Also, inspect all fire extinguishers every 30 days, to:

  • Ensure extinguisher is not blocked by equipment
  • Check that fire extinguisher pressure is at recommended level
  • Inspect that the nozzle or other parts are not hindered in any way

15. Shop Light

DIY Auto Repair Tools Shop Light

Shop Light

Garages are rarely lit like a ballpark at night, yet often that’s exactly what you need when working on a car. A good shop light illuminates those dark corners so you can see what you’re doing. Be careful with shop lights, though, as they tend to get very hot and break easily.

16. Wall-Mounted Wet / Dry Vacuums

DIY Auto Repair Tools Wet Dry Shop Vacuum

Convenient, wall-mounted Shop Vacuum

Nobody likes a dirty car. A wet / dry vacuum makes cleaning up those mishaps easier. And if you keep it in plain sight, conveniently mounted on a garage wall, you’ll be able to stay on top of those crumbs and spills in your car. Make sure it has a long hose and various attachments for those hard-to-reach corners.

17. OBD II Code Reader

DIY Auto Repair Tools OBD Code Reader

OBD Code Reader

An On Board Diagnostics (OBD) reader can give you an idea of why certain dashboard lights are on and guide you in the right direction for fixing the issue. Code readers are as affordable as ever and can help you figure out a problem, preventing an unnecessary trip to the mechanic.

Put These DIY Auto Repair Tools to Use

Hopefully, your vehicle doesn’t have issues, but if it does, you’ll be able to tackle a variety of repairs with the 17 tools listed above.

If your car does experience issues that can’t be fixed with any of the tools above, or any tools at all, visit our eBay store. We have a variety of used vehicles that can fill the open space in your garage.

Teen Vaping: Seeing Through the Vapor [INFOGRAPHIC]

Since smoking e-cigarettes (aka vaping) is growing in popularity, we saw a need to gather data from numerous, respected, research articles—many from the CDC. We are sharing that data here so that teens can make an informed decision about vaping. Too often teens will pick up a habit without considering risks.

We know many people have used vaping successfully to quit cigarette smoking and that is great. Our focus is on teens that start vaping without ever having smoked tobacco cigarettes. We do not advocate one form of smoking over the other.

Traditional tobacco cigarette use among teens is at an all-time low. While that is cause to celebrate, the reason may not be. Teen vaping is rising dramatically. “Vaping” is slang for smoking electronic cigarettes—also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vapes, and vapor cigarettes. These devices emerged when smoking was banned in many public areas and have become a $3.5 billion industry.

Today, 40 million Americans smoke e-cigarettes and experts predict the industry will grow 25% annually through 2018. Wall Street predicts revenue from e-cigs will surpass traditional tobacco cigarettes by 2025.

Very few regulations are in place, giving teens easy access and allowing manufacturers to advertise freely, unlike tobacco companies which are restricted. Smoking e-cigs exposes teens to the same dangers of nicotine addiction as a tobacco cigarette, plus uncertain long-term health effects from chemicals in the liquid nicotine solutions.

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Teen Vaping: Seeing Through the Vapor

The e-cig industry is a $3.5 billion industry that projects a 25% annual growth through 2018 and revenues are expected to surpass that of traditional tobacco cigarettes by 2025. With few regulations, e-cig companies are free to use their money to advertise on television channels that attract younger audiences, spending $115 million on ads in 2014, an increase of 1,696%!

Of the 40 million Americans that smoke e-cigarettes, 2.6 million are middle and high school aged teens, and the number appears to be climbing every year. E-cigs expose teens to health risks such as nicotine addiction and long-term health effects that might contribute to brain damage. Much is unknown about the long-term effects of e-cigarettes, and even less is known about the damage it can do to developing teenagers.

Teens Are Fastest Growing Segment

Over 2.6 million middle and high school aged teens are using e-cigarettes. That’s equal to the entire population of Nevada.

Between 2011 and 2014, teen use of e-cigarettes increased 800% and the number of teens using e-cigarettes continues to rise.

  • 13.46% of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2014 compared to 1.5% in 2011.
  • 3.9% of middle school students used e-cigarettes in 2014 compared to 1.1% in 2011.

Ad Spending Increased Dramatically in 3 Years

Over the last few years, e-cigarette companies have increased advertising spending.

  • In 2011, e-cigarette companies spent $6.4 million on advertisements
  • In 2014, e-cigarette companies spent $115 million, an increase of 1,696%

Adults aren’t the only people seeing these ads.

  • 66% of middle school students saw at least one e-cig ad in 2014
  • 71% of high school students saw at least one e-cig ad in 2014

1950s Advertising Tactics—Reboot of Tobacco Companies

Most e-cig advertisements appear on TV and radio stations that draw a large teenage audience. The ads employ themes of sex, independence, popularity, and rebellion—just like the ones used to sell tobacco cigarettes to teens in the 1950s.

“The same advertising tactics the tobacco industry used years ago to get kids addicted to nicotine are now being used to entice an entire new generation of young people to use e-cigarettes,” says Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the Center for Disease Control.

The advertisements are working. The increase of advertising between 2011-2014 has correlated with an increase of e-cigarette usage among middle and high school students.

More than 18 million youths were exposed to e-cigarette advertisements in 2014. With no regulation on advertising, e-cigarette companies can use both print and television advertising.

  • 14.4 million youth are exposed to e-cig ads at retail stores  
  • 10.5 million youth are exposed to e-cig ads through the internet  
  • 9.6 million youth are exposed to e-cig ads through TV/Movies
  • 8 million youth are exposed to e-cig ads through magazines/newspapers

Why are Teens Vaping?

E-cigarettes became an attractive option for people wanting to quit the traditional cigarette habit. However, only 10% of teens report using e-cigarettes to quit smoking.

  • 40% of teens use e-cigarettes because of how they taste 
  • 23% of teens use e-cigarettes because of boredom  
  • 21% of teens use e-cigarettes to relax or relieve tension  
  • 13% of teens use e-cigarettes because it looks cool  

Teens also admitted to using e-cigarettes to:

  • See what it’s like
  • Get high
  • Fit in with friends

Some teens even stated they continue to use e-cigarettes because they’re “hooked.”

E-Cigarettes Shrouded In Misconceptions

Teens may also be drawn to e-cigarettes due to common misconceptions:

Myth:  E-cigarettes don’t have nicotine
Fact:    Almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Many have wide discrepancies about how much is in the product compared to what they claim is in the product.

Myth: E-cigarettes aren’t addictive
Fact:   With almost all e-cigarettes containing nicotine, use of e-cigarettes can create addiction to the nicotine in the product.

Myth: There are no secondhand emissions from e-cigarettes
Fact:   Aerosol emitted by e-cigarettes and exhaled by users contains carcinogens like formaldehyde. Little is known about the emissions and the harm they might cause.

What’s in e-Cigarettes?

Vaporizing devices such as e-cigarettes and nicotine-based liquid are unregulated. No packaging requirements exist for accurately representing ingredients in liquid nicotine solutions, so manufacturers are allowed to create and disperse products with no oversight on what is actually in e-cig nicotine liquid.

While labeled as an alternative to smoking, e-cigarettes still contain nicotine. The liquid nicotine is not only addictive but stunts brain development in youth.

There are over 500 different brands of e-cigarettes and over 7,700 flavors of nicotine liquid all without FDA regulation; the health hazards are uncertain when inhaled.

Common ingredients found in e-cigs nicotine solutions:

  • Diethylene glycol (DEG), a toxic chemical also found in antifreeze
  • Formaldehyde, an embalming fluid—five times more in e-cigarettes than cigarettes
  • Propylene glycol, a chemical found in aircraft de-icing fluid
  • Nicotine in e-cigs makes teens three times more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes within 1 year
  • Diacetyl, a naturally occurring chemical found in some foods like beans, apples, and vinegar. It becomes dangerous when heated or boiled as in e-cigs
  • Artificial flavorings.  Over 7,700 flavors of nicotine liquid on the market.

Exploding e-Cigarettes

From 2012-2015, over 30 cases have been reported of e-cigarettes exploding while charging or while the e-cigarette was in use. 80% of explosions have occurred when e-cigarettes were charging, but in some cases, e-cigarettes have exploded or caught on fire in user’s pockets, hands, or mouths, causing severe burns. One explosion even caused death.

Calls to Poison Centers Increase

Monthly poison center calls related to e-cigarettes have gone from 1 in 2010 to 215 in 2014, causing the creation of the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act. This requires child resistant packaging for liquid nicotine as it only takes one teaspoon of liquid nicotine to kill a toddler.

Monthly poison center calls related to e-cigs:

  • 3,783 in 2014
  • 271 in 2011
  • 1 in 2010

Likely Harmful Effects of e-Cigarettes

  • High probability of becoming addicted to nicotine
  • Respiratory illnesses, lung irritation, and worsened breathing problems like bronchitis and asthma
  • Lung damage characterized by airway resistance, cellular changes, and other signs of inflammation
  • The water holding effect of e-cigarette vapor can dry out nasal passages, leading to bloody noses
  • Over 575% more compromised immune responses than tobacco smokers
    • Tobacco smokers suppress 53 immune genes
    • E-Cig smokers suppress 358 immune genes

Harvard University found evidence that artificial flavoring chemicals in 47 of the 51 types of flavored e-liquids they tested cause respiratory problems. As more research is done, more dangers may be found.

What Can We Do?

In a recent study, teens under the age of 18 were able to easily buy e-cigarettes online in 94% of their attempts.  None of the underage teens were asked to show proof of age when the packages were delivered. While e-cigarettes are slowly becoming more regulated, certain restrictions could further prevent underage teens from buying e-cigarettes:

  • Require age verification to enter e-cigarette vendor’s websites, make purchases, and accept deliveries of e-cigarettes.
  • Require e-cigarettes be sold through face-to-face transactions only rather than through the internet.
  • Increase taxes on nicotine products to potentially deter younger individuals from purchasing e-cigarettes.
  • Raise the minimum age of sale for nicotine products to 18 years old.
  • Place FDA regulations on advertisements.
  • Restrict the number of stores that sell nicotine products and how close they can be to schools.

While there is no surefire way of limiting e-cigarettes for underage teens, the steps above may help prevent underage teens from getting their hands on e-cigarettes.

How Can We Protect Teens?

  • Educate and discuss the pros and cons with teens in our lives
  • Counter vaping ads with educational ads about harmful side effects
  • Require age verification at point of sale
  • Prohibit online sales
  • Raise minimum age of e-cig sale to 18
  • Restrict number of stores and their proximity to schools

What Are The Warning Signs?

If you catch a whiff of fruit punch, bubble gum, mint, or any other uncharacteristic flavor coming from your teen’s room and you don’t find any juice containers or candy wrappers, they might be using e-cigarettes. Other signs your teen might be using e-cigarettes include:

  • Dry Cough
  • Dry Skin
  • Irritated Mouth or Throat
  • Increased fluid intake
  • Passing on caffeine when they didn’t before

If you are worried your teen is using or considering using e-cigarettes, you can:

  • Research e-cigarettes so you are clear what they look like
  • Educate your child about the dangers of e-cigarettes and nicotine
  • Set an example by not using e-cigarettes

“We did an amazing job getting kids off cigarettes in this country,” said Dr. Leslie Walker, chief of the division of adolescent medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “We see a jump that has the potential to obliterate all the work we did with tobacco cigarettes.”

Regardless of seemingly innocent nicotine flavors, e-cigarettes are another way for teens to be exposed to addictive, potentially harmful substances at a young age. Nicotine can delay brain development, and the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are still unknown. Consider monitoring your teenager’s behavior to ensure they don’t risk their health and become one of the 2.6 million American teens using e-cigarettes.