Ten Essential Tools For A Well-Equipped Garage

A good, well-equipped garage does more than make car work possible; it makes it more enjoyable and more effective. Certain tools are terrific benefits in the pursuit of mechanical excellence. These are Jalopnik readers' picks for the ten most essential garage items.

As for the car, that's up to you.

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Photo Credit: Jack Olsen/Hemmings

Ten Essential Tools For A Well-Equipped Garage

10.) Lots of light

Suggested By: rebeldevil

Why it's a garage necessity: If you've ever fumbled around in a harsh shadow — or, worse, darkness — trying to find a clutch slave cylinder bleeder screw, you know how necessary good light is to successful mechanical proceedings. It's not just about brightness, though; the idea of well-lit means that you want to have a lot of clean, diffuse light coming from several sources to prevent shadows.

Photo Credit: Charlie Kindel

Ten Essential Tools For A Well-Equipped Garage

9.) Fire extinguisher

Suggested By: PanchoVilleneuve, ROCK AND ROLL LICENSE!

Why it's a garage necessity: You're in an enclosed space with a sizable amount of an explosive liquid (gasoline), a powerful electrical energy source (a battery), possibly some very flammable materials (shop rags) and God knows what else that can burn. For the benefit of your garage, your car, and not least of all yourself, have something on hand that can put out a fire.

Photo Credit: Thing Three

Ten Essential Tools For A Well-Equipped Garage

8.) First-Aid Kit

Suggested By: Altemus Prime

Why it's a garage necessity: As much as skinned knuckles are a rite of passage for garage work, a place with lots of sharp edges and hot surfaces and heavy components and things being twisted and forced off is a setting for any number of mild to moderate medical situations. Have some bandages and antiseptic wipes and maybe a instant-cold pack on hand to deal with the frailties of the human form.

Photo Credit: Marcin Wichary

Ten Essential Tools For A Well-Equipped Garage

7.) Bench Vise

Suggested By: Hooker

Why it's a garage necessity: A good bench vise is better than a third hand. Things need to be held in place, forces need to be applied, sometimes something has to be held while glue dries or whatever. That's not a dismissive "whatever"; these things are endlessly usable.

(Note: It's vise, not vice. That's more for the bedroom.)

Photo Credit: tmib_seattle

Ten Essential Tools For A Well-Equipped Garage

6.) Torque Wrench

Suggested By: JackTrade

Why it's a garage necessity: Tightening everything down as far as possible is for barbarians. Certain bolts must be tightened very carefully and to specific recommendations. (Third-gen Supra owners especially understand this.) A good torque wrench should be handled carefully and treated to an occasional recalibration. Using one is the mark of someone who takes mechanical work seriously.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Ten Essential Tools For A Well-Equipped Garage

5.) Air compressor

Suggested By: Phil L.

Why it's a garage necessity: The one indulgence on this list that verges on a justifiable necessity, a good air compressor will open up a new world of capability to you. Beyond inflating tires, the ability to blow-clean and -dry parts and use air tools more than justifies the moderate expense.

Buying one is sort of like buying a tractor: Always go one size up from what you think you need. You need more than you think.

Photo Credit: Sears/Craftsman

Ten Essential Tools For A Well-Equipped Garage

4.) Jack Stands/Lift

Suggested By: rawtoast

Why it's a garage necessity: We mostly see the outside and top of a car, but a lot of the important stuff is underneath. Also, it's not nice to your brake discs to let the car rest on them after removing the wheels. Good solid jack stands with safety pins are an immeasurable asset when working on your car.

If you can spring for an honest-to-God lift, go for it. It's not essential, but it is oh so nice.

Photo Credit: Ryan Frost

Ten Essential Tools For A Well-Equipped Garage

3.) A computer with high-speed Web connection

Suggested By: Brian, The Life of

Why it's a garage necessity: Repair manuals are a necessity, but sometimes you need outside advice. Rather than running back and forth and tracking greasy fingerprints all over the house, it's so much more convenient to have a Web portal in the garage with you. Keep that outdated WinXP machine for garage duty, and if you need help there's gotta be a forum somewhere that will offer tons of useful advice.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Ten Essential Tools For A Well-Equipped Garage

2.) Storage

Suggested By: Bullitt417 Picked Up his Mustang GT

Why it's a garage necessity: If you work on cars, you will collect a colossal amount of stuff — tools, fluids, fasteners, random weird pieces from last year's project. You need a place to keep all of this in some semblance of order so that your garage doesn't look like a junkyard. Besides, a well-organized peg board and a few good shelving units and tool cabinets exude an ego-boosting air of mechanical authority.

Photo Credit: Tod Kurt

Ten Essential Tools For A Well-Equipped Garage

1.) Plenty of good, stable bench space

Suggested By: Car Ramrod

Why it's a garage necessity: Something between a workspace and a ceremonial altar, a good workbench is the most necessary part of a garage outside of the walls and roof itself. It is where things get done. Adequate workspace is mandatory for keeping parts organized and tools within reach. If there is one thing that is essential, it is this.

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