Your Guide to Buying the Best Automotive Hand Tools

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Your Guide to Buying the Best Automotive Hand Tools

Hand tools are, as the name implies, held in the hand and operated without power, be it electricity or any other source. Therefore, you can use them virtually anywhere because they are not dependent on the accessibility of mains power or batteries that can go flat. Automotive hand tools are designed for adjusting and repairing cars, as well for other motorised vehicles.

Today, a separate hand tool for every minor repair can be found, but in reality, it is possible to make do with a few automotive hand tools that perform many functions. Thus, the best hand tools are multifunctional and can serve you well in case of car problems when you are out and about, provided that you have them with you. Using multifunctional hand tools means that you are not carrying a large box of tools with you all the time, but have the essentials. Automotive hand tools can be purchased from many high street shops that specialise in vehicle parts or sell DYI equipment, but you can also buy hand tools on online auction sites, such as eBay.


Wrenches are hand tools that grip and turn nuts and bolts on vehicles. They can be used both for tightening and loosening these fastenings. Vehicles generally have a considerable number of nuts and bolts, and therefore wrenches can be used for many tasks.

Torque Wrench

A torque wrench is a hand tool used in order to apply torque to the nuts and bolts on the vehicles. Torque is a force that causes rotation. In order to lock the fastenings into place, use this wrench. When new, all the bolts on automotive vehicles are tightened to a certain point. However, over time, they may loosen and need retightening. A torque wrench measures how far each bolt has to be turned, and thus makes it possible to reach the values recommended by the manufacturer. The torque wrench could either click once the bolt is in place or show the value on an electric dial. Less precise torque wrenches have a gauge and a needle.

Open End Wrench

The open end wrench, chiefly known as the spanner, has a fixed, U-shaped opening, or jaws that grip and turn the bolts and the nuts. Because of its fixed size, the wrench fits bolts of the same size perfectly. As most spanners have openings on both sides, one wrench can be used for two types of bolts. A spanner's size is usually detailed on its head. As a vehicle owner, you can buy a set of open end wrenches. When looking for the set, determine whether your vehicle uses standard size or metric bolts. If the bolts use inches, then buy a standard size set. If the bolts are described in centimetres, you need a metric set.

Adjustable Wrench

As the name implies, an adjustable wrench can be adjusted according to the nut or bolt you need to turn. This means that its size can be changed by sliding the jaw of the wrench. This alters the width of the wrench. Although it may seem to be a very good and versatile tool that makes it unnecessary to carry many different sizes of wrenches with you all the time, it comes with some drawbacks. In a situation where you need a very precise hand tool, as when, for example, you are tightening an axle bolt, an adjustable wrench may slip and damage the head of the bolt.

Ratchet Wrench

A ratchet wrench consists of a driver and sockets of different sizes. The sockets are attached to the driver and they are interchangeable. In order to be able to use it on a variety of bolts, one should have a comprehensive kit of at least two drivers and numerous sockets ready. The ratchet wrench is known for the clicking sound that it makes when it has tightened the bolt. In order to extend the reach of a ratchet wrench, you can also get some extensions to help you work with difficult places on your vehicle. You can also use multiple extensions at once if you cannot reach the bolt. However, in this case, you may lose some torque on the bolt.

Comparison of Wrench Types

Wrenches are very important when it comes to automotive hand tools. In fact, they are multifunctional items, and they allow you to work with many of the nuts and bolts on your vehicle. However, you do not necessarily need to buy sets of all kinds of wrenches. Decide which are best for your needs and use these.

Wrench Type

Torque Wrench

Open End Wrench

Adjustable Wrench

Ratchet Wrench


Long drive, fixed head

Rather short, one or two fixed heads

Wrench width can be changed

Drivers can be fitted with sockets and extensions


Click, deflecting beam, electronic, mechatronic, beam, slipper



Flex, short and long handle, fine toothed, rotator, palm, dual


Tightening nuts and bolts very tight

Nuts and bolts corresponding to the head size

Simpler tightening and loosening

Serious tightening of nuts and bolts


Pliers, also known as pincers, have flat, parallel, and serrated surfaces. A pair of pliers is a good way out of a complex situation if you do not have the proper tool for the job, as they can easily take over the tasks of some other hand tools. For example, they can be used in order to loosen the spring clamp on a radiator hose.

Cutting Pliers

Cutting pliers, also known as snips or cutters, are a subtype of pliers, and are used for cutting. A good pair of sharp pliers can handle many cutting tasks. Snips are designed for the wires and cables found in your car.

Adjustable Pliers

If you have a pair of adjustable pliers, then you can manipulate a variety of nuts and bolts in and on your vehicle without having to buy many sets of pliers of different sizes. Usually, adjustable pliers have up to five levels. The flat surface of the pliers minimises the damage to the nuts and bolts.


Pliers and wrenches take care of the nuts and bolts on your vehicle, but you also need a screwdriver for the screws. If wrenches fit around the heads of the bolts, then screwdrivers are put inside the screws. The screwdriver, which is a metal rod, comes equipped either with a flat or cross-shaped tip that fits into the screw's head. You need a set of different screwdrivers according to the screw sizes you have.

Allen Key

An Allen key is a subtype of screwdriver, but it is also similar to a wrench. It is a metal rod designed for Allen screws, which have a hexagonal shape. Allen keys can also be inserted into bolts in order to tighten them to an extreme degree. Allen keys generally come in sets.

Buying the Best Automotive Hand Tools on eBay

In order to find any of the automotive hand tools described here, use the search feature and type the keywords into the search box, which you can find at the top of any eBay page. For more specific results, you can add "automotive" to the hand tool name. After you receive the initial search results, you can sort them by price or auction time or narrow them down by selecting the item condition. You can buy a used hand tool and get a good bargain if you pay attention to its appearance. Be sure to browse the photos in the item listing and to read the seller's notes about the item. Avoid hand tools that look too worn out or are corroded.

For the best products and fast service, choose top-rated sellers whose feedback is positive and who have high ratings. They are evaluated by other buyers. When searching for a hand tool, you can also check a box in order to see listings only from top-rated sellers.


Automotive hand tools are essential in order to repair your vehicle. They are unpowered and can therefore be used basically anywhere, especially when you are out and about with your car and have no mains power supply at hand. The best hand tools perform more than one action, being multifunctional. If you own multifunctional hand tools, you only need a few, and do not have to carry a heavy set with you all the time.

Wrenches grip nuts and bolts, and they are used in order to tighten or loosen them. A torque wrench measures how far each of the fastenings is turned, and you can apply the torque as advised by the manufacturer. An open end wrench has one or two fixed heads. Open end wrenches usually come in sets of two. An adjustable wrench can be sized according to the bolt, but it is not the best tool for tightening. A ratchet wrench consists of drivers and sockets of different sizes, and can be customised to suit your needs.

Pliers, or pincers, are a useful tool that can stand in for many other tools. Both adjustable and cutting pliers are available. You also need some screwdrivers for the screws on your vehicle. Flat, cross-shaped, and hexagonal Allen head screwdrivers are a part of every complete kit.

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