Automotive Restoration Tools And Equipment
The first-time automotive restorer is faced with a bewildering array of tools needed. A complete inventory of restoration tools would be expensive and confusing, but the good news is you don't need every tool made for every project. Just focus on the ones you do need for the job at hand.
Always buy the best hand tools you can afford - they reduce fatigue and last a lifetime. Quality tools will be kept and used for generations to come.
Air tools deliver higher torque and are more powerful than traditional hand tools or electric-powered tools. They will dramatically decrease the amount of time and energy needed to finish your project car.
Read: Top Ten Automotive Air Tools
Read: Garage Air Compressor Review
Automotive Body Tools
There is no shortcut or "easy way" to do restoration-quality bodywork. Learning to weld and use body tools properly requires practice and discipline.
Read: Tools Needed For Automotive Bodywork
Replacing body panels on cars requires welding, any other way is not acceptable. If you are sincere about restoring old cars, learning to weld is a must.
Read: Best Welder For Automotive Restoration
Read: MIG Welding Helmet Review
Angle Grinder and Attachments
Although mainly used for automotive body work (like grinding down welds), 4-1/2" angle grinders have many other automotive uses. With a cut-off wheel attachment, it makes quick work of shortening bolts or cutting off rusted muffler brackets.
Read: Angle Grinder Attachments For Automotive Repair
I have two different pairs of jack stands, which come in handy because I don't always need four, and two are taller than the other pair. The pairs should match each other and used together for supporting the vehicle.
Read: Best Jack Stands And Lifting Procedures
Jack Stands vs Ramps
For DIY oil changes, car ramps seem to be more popular than jack stands. Personally, I prefer jacks stands over ramps. I use a floor jack at the proper factory lift points, then place jack stands as close to the jack as possible.
Garage Shop Equipment
A good quality hydraulic floor jack will give you years of use. After 25 years of service, my old floor jack stopped holding pressure. Rather than buy a replacement, I decided to repair it.
Read: Repair An Old Floor Jack
Portable Work Stand
When you're working on a large body part like a hood or fender, you need a safe and stable place to set it down on. That's what portable work stands are for.
I bought a folding work stand years ago, and it's helped me repair doors, bumpers, hoods, fenders, and some non-automotive projects as well. When not in use, it folds up flat and can be stored out of the way.
Work lights on a stand make work easier and more enjoyable.
Drum Brake Tools
Many automotive techs don't have any experience with repairing drum brakes. Several specialty drum brake tools are required, not only to do the job, but to do the job safely.
Read: Drum Brake Tools
The many uses for a slide hammer include pulling out dents and removing rear axles. The tool has a long round shaft with a sliding hammer weight, to produce force without actually striking the panel.
GearWrench offers a nice slide hammer kit which includes five different components for different pulling uses. Included is a screw and hook attachment needed for dent pulling, as well as two flange adapters for pulling rear axles. The slide hammer weight is 5-1/2 pounds and the rod is 5/8-18 thread.
I originally purchased my slide hammer for body work, but has since found many other uses, such as removing stubborn bearings and seals. The picture above shows a slide hammer with special attachment for removing cam bushings from a motorcycle engine side cover.
Engine Rebuild Tools
In addition to standard hand tools, engine building requires some specialty tools as well.
Read: Tools Needed For An Engine Build
Misc Garage Equipment and Supplies
Supplies needed for old car restoration include shop towels or rags, aerosol penetrant sprays like WD-40, disposable gloves, and hand cleaner.
Shop: Latex Gloves (Large)
Tip: Buy gloves in the size larger than you think you need.
Shop: Latex Gloves (Extra-Large)
Kneeling on a concrete floor or outside on wet ground gets uncomfortable after a few minutes. There is enough padding in this rubber kneeling pad to cushion a 200+ pound size person (like me). I also use it as a butt pad.
Shop: Mechanics Kneeling Pad
Taking pictures before and after is extremely helpful during any project. A digital camera is nice to have, but a mobile phone works just as well.
TIP: Put a with a screen protector on your mobile phone!