The Ultimate Gift Guide For Do-It-Yourself Wrenchers

The Ultimate Gift Guide For Do-It-Yourself Wrenchers

Illustration for article titled The Ultimate Gift Guide For Do-It-Yourself Wrenchers
Photo: Interiot/Wikimedia Commons (Other)

Are you still looking for something special for that special wrencher in your life? Maybe looking for a present for yourself? No matter your needs/intentions, we’re here to help you get through the holidays with a list of helpful tools, gear, and other accessories that can help your favorite wrencher hit the ground running.

Staff Writer at Jalopnik and learning pilot. Loves all vehicles! Smart Fortwo (x4), AmTran School Bus, VW W8, Jetta TDI (x2), Audi TT, Buell Lightning, Suzuki Burgman, Yamaha U7E, Honda CBR600 + More

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Kobalt 232-Piece Standard (SAE) and Metric Combination Polished Chrome Mechanic’s Tool Set

Kobalt 232-Piece Standard (SAE) and Metric Combination Polished Chrome Mechanic’s Tool Set

Illustration for article titled The Ultimate Gift Guide For Do-It-Yourself Wrenchers
Photo: Lowes

Let’s start this right with an insanely good deal. If you’re just getting into wrenching or even if you’ve been working on your vehicles forever, you will always need hand tools. That’s where this Kobalt Mechanic’s Tool Set comes in. The number of tools you get for the price is absolutely staggering. Check out the list:

  • This new mechanic’s tool set includes 117 commonly used 6- and 12-point sockets, three 90-tooth ratchets, 4 extensions, 30 wrenches that have 15 degree offset for extra clearance, 40 hex keys and 38 other tools
  • A bonus 5-piece precision screwdriver set includes 3 Phillips sizes PH00, PH0 and PH1 as well as 2 flat-head sizes 5/64-in, 3/32-in
  • Our Pro90 ratchets feature a 90-tooth gear that delivers a 4° precision swing and offers improved mobility in tight work spaces
  • The 117-piece socket assortment includes 6- and 12-point features, shallow and deep depths, metric and SAE (standard) measurements and 2 spark plug sockets
  • Ten standard length combination wrenches are included along with 20 mini combination wrenches, 4 socket extensions, a magnetic bit driver, spinner handle, 12pc nut driver set and 19pc insert bit set to simplify any task
  • Sockets, ratchets and wrenches are constructed from chrome vanadium steel and heat treated for strength and durability with a professional high-polish finish
  • Metric and SAE socket sizes are easy to identify with laser etched size call-outs and color-coded stripes to identify metric (blue) and SAE (red) measurements
  • Updated 3-drawer blow-molded tool chest keeps your tools organized and offers convenient storage and transportation including tool storage in the lid and an empty bottom drawer

This whole kit is only $99.00 at Lowes. I’ve spent more on basic tools at Harbor Freight and can safely tell you I don’t have nearly this many tools or a neat place to keep them.

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Mr. Heater Double Tank Top Outdoor Propane Heater

Mr. Heater Double Tank Top Outdoor Propane Heater

Illustration for article titled The Ultimate Gift Guide For Do-It-Yourself Wrenchers
Photo: Amazon

This next one is hot! As I mentioned earlier, car repairs don’t stop just because it’s freezing outside. If you’re as unlucky as I am, you will also have to perform your repairs out in the bitter cold, too.

This where a tank top propane heater can come in handy. Last winter, a friend’s Honda Civic Del Sol needed a new heater core. I stopped by to help him replace it and he had one of these running nearby and I found myself taking off my coat to help him. Freezing temps were no challenge for this powerful heater. I definitely recommend it to the wintertime wrencher.

This handy heater can be purchased for $89.99 at the Home Depot.

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Milwaukee SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw

Milwaukee SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw

Illustration for article titled The Ultimate Gift Guide For Do-It-Yourself Wrenchers
Photo: Home Depot

I firmly believe every DIY wrencher needs a reciprocating saw. Cut some fenders, remove some rust, you could even delete an entire roof if you wanted to! In our household we’ve used ours to cut through rusty floors of a Ford Bronco and the droopy exhaust of my school bus project.

They’re more than powerful enough to cut through fresh automotive grade steel without breaking a sweat.

Pick this one up for $119.00 at the Home Depot.

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CHICAGO ELECTRIC Flux 125 Welder

CHICAGO ELECTRIC Flux 125 Welder

Illustration for article titled The Ultimate Gift Guide For Do-It-Yourself Wrenchers
Photo: Harbor Freight

As our very own David Tracy remarked, owning a welder is like having a superpower. With a cheap flux core welder you can teach yourself how to use this superpower. You’ll never see two separate pieces of metal the same way.

You can definitely spend more to get a better welder, but this one happens to be both cheap and apparently pretty decent. This Chicago Electric Flux 125 is David Tracy tested and can be found at your local Harbor Freight for $129.00.

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Torin BIG RED 3-Ton Jack Stands

Torin BIG RED 3-Ton Jack Stands

Illustration for article titled The Ultimate Gift Guide For Do-It-Yourself Wrenchers
Photo: Amazon

If you’re going to be working under your car, you’re going to want a quality set of jackstands. You don’t want to trust your life to something that will fail.

BIG RED jack stands are well-reviewed all over the internet, plus they’re available at affordable prices. Get a set and be comfortable working under your ride for $39.99 on Amazon.

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Makita Cordless Angle Grinder

Makita Cordless Angle Grinder

Illustration for article titled The Ultimate Gift Guide For Do-It-Yourself Wrenchers
Photo: Amazon

If you’re going to have a welder and a reciprocating saw you’ll definitely want to have an angle grinder in your arsenal of tools. My old angle grinder probably gets even more use than the reciprocating saw does. Not only are they great for sanding and grinding, but with a cutoff wheel, you can cut through just about anything.

If I have any complaint about my grinder it’s that it’s wired. That means I won’t be able to use it for my school bus project unless I carry a generator around with me. This Makita could be the solution to that dilemma!

Pick it up for $128.99 on Amazon and please be safe, wear gloves and goggles!

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DeWalt DCF899B Impact Wrench

DeWalt DCF899B Impact Wrench

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Photo: Amazon

This tool is on the pricey side but it will likely never let you down. During the summer I blew a tire on one of my Smart Fortwos. I tried to use a little 150 ft-lb impact to get the wheel off and the lug bolts didn’t even move. Thankfully someone in my convoy brought out the big guns and pulled out this DeWalt DCF899. The impact made the lug bolts fly right off as if they were hand-tightened. I’m convinced if this impact can’t remove the bolt, you’ll need to employ a torch or a grinder to get it off.

This crazy powerful tool is available on Amazon for $249.00.

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Battery Tender 4.5 Amp Battery Charger & Maintainer

Battery Tender 4.5 Amp Battery Charger & Maintainer

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Photo: Costco

Here’s a device that has saved my butt numerous during times of car and motorcycle troubleshooting. It isn’t just another trickle charger, this thing will completely charge a battery quickly. I bought a 3 Amp version a couple years ago and it’s still one of my favorite gadget purchases. Every car and motorcycle person should have at least one of these in their home.

The neat trick to getting Battery Tenders cheap is getting them from Costco, they sell them cheaper than just about anybody.

Pick one up from Costco for $44.99.

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Pro-Lift Mechanic Creeper

Pro-Lift Mechanic Creeper

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Photo: Amazon

It’s not uncommon to fine me working on a car repair down low or underneath a vehicle. Usually I just inch under the vehicle and do the work with rocks poking me in the back. It’s much better to roll around on a nice creeper. This one folds into a chair so you can sit down while you work on your own brakes like a civilized human. As a bonus, a creeper can also be a bed when you get too tired of working on your ride!

The Pro-Lift Creeper is $39.96 on Amazon.

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Pittsburgh Automotive Steel Car Ramps

Pittsburgh Automotive Steel Car Ramps

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Photo: Harbor Freight

These ramps are the same steel ramps I bought from Harbor Freight eight years ago. Plastic ramps get the job done, but in my experience they aren’t the most durable ramps you can get. I had a set of plastic ramps start cracking on the third use and they were only holding up a Smart Fortwo. That was a scary experience I never want to have again.

Meanwhile, my metal ramps are going on eight years old without so much as a bend.

These ramps are $44.99 at Harbor Freight and will probably last longer than your car.


Those are all my recommendations for this year. I hope you’re able to make yourself or someone else feel jolly with these tools and other car-related gear.

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Staff Writer at Jalopnik and learning pilot. Loves all vehicles! Smart Fortwo (x4), AmTran School Bus, VW W8, Jetta TDI (x2), Audi TT, Buell Lightning, Suzuki Burgman, Yamaha U7E, Honda CBR600 + More

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