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Basic Car Toolkit

Build or Buy a Basic Car Toolkit and Be Prepared

A basic car toolkit is a handy set of tools to have in your vehicle so that you can handle basic repairs while on the road. It’s different from an roadside emergency kit, which often contains emergency equipment like jumper cables, flares, a flashlight, and a first aid kit.

There is no set definition of what should be in your car tool kit. Just be sure to take a basic list such as the one below and supplement it with some tools you know that are specifically helpful on your vehicle. If you have an older car you may find that a spare quart of oil or a bottle of coolant is part of your kit. Or, you may have a newer car with comprehensive roadside assistance and snacks and a blanket might be more in your wheelhouse. One thing is certain: a proper car tool kit paired with an emergency kit will provide the best preparedness for any situation you might find yourself.

  • Screwdrivers. We like a 6-1 screwdriver and at least one individual flathead and one phillips. You can use the flathead as a mini pry bar when needed.
  • Assorted Hex Keys
  • A basic Socket Set. Get a set based upon the make of your vehicle. Japanese, European, and newer American cars use metric, older American cars use standard.
  • Adjustable and Locking Pliers.
  • Wire Cutters/Cutting Pliers. Never leave home without them.
  • Ratchet Straps.
  • Tire Gauge
  • Zip Ties and Duct Tape. There is not much that can’t be rigged temporarily with these two must haves. Add bailing wire and you could be back to road ready in time.

Some of you may have enough extra tools around to put one of these kits together pretty easily.

But you can also buy a kit with everything you will need online. The important thing is to make sure the toolset has the best tools for your vehicle, and not be as concerned with tool count. Also, you shouldn’t pay more for a high tool count that includes inexpensive hardware.

We like ones like this you can find on Amazon. It’s actually a tool kit for motorcycles, but it has all the tools you need: locking pliers, an adjustable wrench, a 6-in-1 screwdriver, pliers with a wire cutter, a ratchet and sockets, hex keys, and more stuff. And, the parts roll up into one handy pouch taking up little room in your vehicle.