When it comes to repairing a car, there are 2 things that should help you make a choice of tools. Safety is the first and in my opinion, that is the most important and then convenience is the next. If I can only choose 11 tools, the following would be the 11 essential DIY car repair tools.
1. Wheel Chock
When working under the car, you will need to lift it up but there is always the risk of the wheels moving and the car coming off the jack which could end up with you being crushed under there. A wheel chock keeps the wheels from moving and ensures your safety. You should know that even with the handbrake pulled up and the gear in parking, you still need to place the chock under the wheels.
2. Fire Extinguisher
You may be surprised to see this on the list as an essential tool but fire is a real danger as you carry out certain repairs, especially with oil and fuel. You may need to weld something; before you know it, a fire has broken out. With a fire extinguisher nearby, you can bring the situation under control. Remember your safety is quite important.
Not just any jack will cut it; it has to be a well-built one with a capacity of 2 tons or more. With cars, there will always be a reason to raise it, either to change a tire, fix the brakes, check on the suspension or fix anything that is under the car. If not for safety tools, this would have been first on the list. There are different types of jacks and you could choose one that is convenient for you to use as well as store. You would also need the jack stands to keep the car up.
4. Socket set
While fixing your car you will be dealing with bolts and nuts of different sizes so a set of sockets is a good idea. You will also need to have a driver of a reasonable length so that you do not have to use too much muscle to turn them. The set may come with a couple of drivers but you may still want to purchase more to suit different situations.
5. Air compressor
The things you can do with an air compressor are numerous, once you find the best portable air compressor, it will become your go-to tool for a number of things not just when fixing the car. You can use it to put pressure on the tires, you can use it to clean the air filter, blow dust from the engine, and pump pressure into anything that needs it. I have actually used it to clean rust off some parts of the car when I was too lazy to do it the right way.
This is another multi-functional tool you need in your DYI box. You can use it for cutting wires, which makes it essential when dealing with wiring, you can also use it to hold things in place as you weld them, they can be used to remove bolts when you cannot find the right wrench to use. To quickly pull off the terminals of a battery, you can use the pliers as well. It is really the definition of a tool of convenience and you should always have one.
You need to have screwdrivers of different sizes, there will always be a time when you need to tighten or unscrew screws as you fix the car. If you do not wish to have single screwdrivers, you can get those that come as a single unit that way you can save space in your toolbox and it also saves you from having to go through a pile of screwdrivers to find the one you want.
8. Dead blow mullet
When you are faced with stuck bolds, sometimes what it takes to get them loose is a good knock with a dead blow mullet, at times you may also need to apply some heat to get it loose. Not just any mullet or hammer will do because this one is specially designed for this task and it will not damage the metal. It is covered in molded poly which makes it safe to use on metal without spoiling the surface.
9. Wall-mounted wet/dry vacuum
You will need to clean up after doing whatever repairs and a wall-mounted wet/dry vacuum will come in handy for that as it can suck up debris as well as sludge from the floor and parts of the car. The majority of them can also be used for blowing so what you just need to sweep away, can be blown with this vacuum. It is also handy if you need to quickly pick up bolds and screws from the floor.
10. Electrical tape
If you are dealing with wiring, you will need to tape up exposed wires and this tape will come in handy, I would recommend that you get different colors especially black, red, and green so that you are able to identify the different wires like the live wires and the earth or neutral. You should never leave the wires exposed or else you will end up needing to use the fire extinguisher quite often.
From experience, cars seem to need repair much too often when it is dark and you do not want to be feeling your way around the engine or under the car just because there is no light. Always carry a bright flashlight with backup batteries in your toolbox. It is best to have a flashlight that can be easily placed in a strategic location so that your hands remain free, if possible, you can get one that has a magnetic attachment.
You may still be able to add more tools to your list like a cordless tire inflator, multimeter to test the wiring, gloves for your safety, a funnel and so much more.