How to Buy Used Automotive Hand Tools

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How to Buy Used Automotive Hand Tools

When a car has a flat tire, needs an oil change, or has mysterious smoke escaping from the hood, taking it to a mechanic may not always be an option. A good alternative to using expensive mechanics is for people who are handy to learn how to do at least some repairs themselves. Learning to take care of the mechanical components in an automobile may seem like a daunting task, but it can certainly be done. With the help of the car's manual, some online videos, and the proper tools, becoming an at-home mechanic is possible.

While beginner's tool kits are sold in automotive brick and mortar stores, automotive hand tools can be an expensive collection to build. Fortunately, buyers can search around for good deals on used automotive hand tools on diverse sites like eBay.. Knowing which automotive hand tools are indispensable as part of a standard collection and which hand tools are needed for an owner's specific car model can save buyers a lot of money in the long run. Becoming a savvy handyman is only a few steps away, and building a personalised tool kit with used hand tools is the first building block.

Uses of Automotive Hand Tools

Buying used automotive hand tools is easy to do, but the buyer first needs to know which tools are needed. There are all different types of hand tools, categorised by purpose. Wrenches and sockets are used to loosen and tighten nuts and bolts, while screwdrivers are used for removing or inserting screws. Pliers are used for bending wires and sometimes for cutting them, as well. Hammers are intended for striking objects into or out of place, either directly or indirectly by using a chisel or a punch. Other various hand tools are used for other functions, such as measuring parts and gaps or prying objects apart. Learning how to use different hand tools by name adds confidence that the right tools are purchased for specific needs.

Hand Tool

Description and Uses


Two types of wrenches: open-end and box-end

Box-end grips fasteners on all six sides

Open-end only grips on two sides, which means more slipping

Open-end is good for fasteners that box-end wrenches cannot fit on like four-sided fasteners

Combination wrenches offer both types in a single wrench

Adjustable wrenches fit any fastener, but have the weakest grip in the wrench family

Flare nut wrenches grip five of the six sides of a fastener and are must-haves when dealing with tubing

Allen wrenches are skinny 'L'-shaped wrenches that fit inside a fastener instead of around it

Socket Wrenches

Consists of sockets and socket drivers

Two types of sockets: six-point and twelve-point

Sockets fit over the head of the fastener, so size is very important

Standard 8-19 millimetre socket fits most fasteners

Larger sockets cover 12-24 millimetre fasteners

Smaller sockets cover 4-12 millimetre fasteners

Two types of socket drivers: ratchet handle and breaker bar

Ratchet handle allows the socket to be attached to the lever with the ability to change direction of the rotation

Breaker bar is designed for more difficult fasteners that require more torque

Extensions allow more leverage when turning the handle and are invaluable additions to a socket wrench set

Crow's foot wrenches are open-ended wrenches that can be attached to a socket driver like a socket

Crow's foot wrenches are excellent for situations where a socket cannot fit over the fastener, but the torque of a driver is needed


Two general types: slotted or Phillips

Slotted screwdriver (flat-head) is used for screws with a single thin slot on the head

Phillips screwdriver has a cross or 'X' pattern at the tip

Screwdrivers come in many sizes and are categorised by numbers

No. 2 and No. 3 Phillips are the most commonly used

Anything smaller than a No. 1 is rarely used

Torx heads are special screwdrivers that are commonly needed for motorcycle repairs

Torx heads are similar to Allen heads, but they feature six splines rather than six flat sides


Used for holding or bending automotive parts

Should not be used in lieu of a wrench or socket

Slip-joint pliers are most common and can be adjusted for different size parts

Slip-joint pliers come with a built-in wire cutter

Needle nose pliers have skinnier jaws and are ideal for small spaces or parts

Needle nose pliers may have a wire cutter built into the jaws

Channel-Lok pliers or adjustable joint pliers have longer handles and more adjustment settings for different sizes

Snap-ring pliers are special purpose pliers used for removing and installing snap-rings

Vise-grip pliers are famous for their tight grip

Vise-grip pliers are used to remove fasteners with damaged, stripped, or rounded heads

Wire cutters are helpful for cutting wires if pliers do not have a wire-cutting feature


Ball-peen hammers have a flat side and a round ball on the other side

Flat side is meant for striking other tools like chisels or punches

Round side is designed for shaping metal

Soft face hammers,, brass hammers,, and dead blow hammers are made of softer materials to minimise bouncing back when striking or shaping objects

Feeler Gauges

Used for measuring the size of gaps

Spark plug gap gauges look like a washer with six different sizes of wire loops

Blade-type feeler gauges adjust the valve clearance and look like a fan of blades with various thickness measurements

Pry Bar

Looks like a bar with a curve at the end

No other tool should be used for prying, as damage and accidents happen with tools that are not intended for prying


Used to remove highly damaged fasteners


Used to target an intended drill spot

Weakens the metal by 'punching' it

Probes and Pickup Tools

Mirror probes are helpful for looking in tight corners and small working spaces

Magnetic pickup tools retrieve small metal objects in areas that are too small for fingers to reach

Measuring Tools

Dial indicators and micrometres measure parts, gaps, and charges when working with automotive components


Used to scrape off car paint, stains, and grease build-up

Knowing the functions and purposes of each automotive hand tool ensures that the necessary hand tools for automotive and motorcycle repairs are purchased and are readily accessible for quick fixes and worst-case scenarios on the road.

The Benefits of Buying Used Automotive Hand Tools

Many people buy their tools in kits or in sets, but sometimes the hand tools that are needed for automotive work are not available in the generic kits that are marketed to the beginner handyman. Not to mention, complete tool kits are expensive and may not contain everything that is needed for automotive repairs. Fortunately, used automotive hand tools can often be found in good condition for a discounted price. With used hand tools, both quality and affordability can be achieved.

Safety Precautions When Using Automotive Hand Tools

Safety is the number one priority when using automotive hand tools. Using the wrong tool can damage the part, the tool, or the person using it. By understanding how each tool works and the conditions in which it should be used, accidents can be avoided. Using the largest possible tool for a situation also prevents injury because it gives the user more leverage and control. When working with wrenches, they should be pulled toward the body rather than pushed to prevent injury to the knuckles. It is also important to make sure that the heads on all tools are attached securely before swinging them so that no accidents happen.


In these modern times, it is often possible for motivated individuals to learn how to manage at least some basic automotive repairs on their own. For those who do not already have the knowledge, plenty of resources are available online to help men and women tackle their own automotive problems. Having all the hand tools that are needed to take care of a car, truck, or motorcycle does not have to be either expensive or confusing. Learning about each tool's intended function and the sizes that are needed for particular vehicles allows do-it-yourselfers to confidently avoid non-essential hand tools when they are purchasing the right tools to meet their needs.

While new hand tools can be purchased in kits and sets as well as individually at brick and mortar automotive shops, searching for used tools online at sites like eBay may help consumers save a substantial amount of money while still acquiring quality tools.

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