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.

automotive restoration tools

Hand Tools

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.

tools needed for old car restoration

Air Tools

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.

old car restoration tools and equipment

Read: Top Ten Automotive Air Tools

best garage air compressor

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.

tools and equipment needed for automotive restoration

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.

best welder for old car restoration

Read: Best Welder For Automotive Restoration

best MIG welding helmet

Read: MIG Welding Helmet Review

Jack Stands

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.

best jack stands for automotive repair

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.

repair an old floor jack

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.

work table for garage projects

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.

tools and equipment needed for automotive restoration

Work lights on a stand make work easier and more enjoyable.

best work light for garage projects

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.

drum brake shoes overhaul

Read: Drum Brake Tools

Slide Hammer

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.

tools and equipment needed to restore an old car

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.

tools needed to repair body panels

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.

tools needed for an engine build

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.

best gloves for automotive repair

Shop: Latex Gloves (Large)

Tip: Buy gloves in the size larger than you think you need.

Shop: Latex Gloves (Extra-Large)

Kneeling Pad

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.

best-kneeling pad for automotive work

Shop: Mechanics Kneeling Pad

Camera/Mobile Phone

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.

screen protector for mobile phone

TIP: Put a with a screen protector on your mobile phone!

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