Auto Body Supplies Are Critical For Basic Car Maintenance
Whether or not you are a car mechanic, as long as you own a vehicle it is essential that you also own some auto body supplies. Being prepared for general auto repairs and having the necessary tools to keep your vehicle in overall good running condition will prolong the life of your car and can save you a lot of expenditures in the long run. So, what auto tools and supplies do you need the most and where can you find them?
There are some basic auto body supplies that every car owner should have on hand, as well as some others that can make car maintenance a lot easier. Many of these tools can probably already be found in your garage, basement or shed. Having a set of wrenches, for example, is always handy. A small set of adjustable wrenches will be helpful in many occasions, as is a socket set for work involving nuts and bolts. Other types of wrenches you may want to have are a spark-plug wrench and an oil-filter wrench. For anything you have difficulty reaching, a set of pliers can be the solution. And of course, you can never go wrong with a basic set of screwdrivers. You can find many of these tools at hardware and equipment stores like Northern Tool (which also carries a wide supply of more extensive auto body supplies).
To perform basic maintenance such as adjusting your car’s fluid levels, you will need a funnel as well as a bottle of oil. A couple of small towels and rags are also surprisingly necessary supplies that people often forget, and these can be used in a variety of other car maintenance activities. Going along with cleanliness, you may also want to get a set of durable gloves (made of heavy cloth, not plastic). Not only will these keep your hands protected from injury while you work on your car, but they will also save you from having to vigorously scrub away dirt and oil stains from your fingertips when you are finished— unless of course you are using these stains to prove your “handiness” to friends and family!
Many people use wrenches to knock at stuck parts on their vehicles, but this can damage them (in addition to not being a very effective means of car repair). Consider then, adding a rubber mallet to your auto body supplies if you do not already have one. A rubber mallet can be used for banging parts loose, therefore helping to preserve your other tools and keeping it in good, working condition. After all, you don’t want to have to buy new tools all over again anytime in the near future.
Some auto body supplies will be specifically for emergency situations. For example, consider having a set of jumper cables in case the vehicle’s battery should die. Flat tires are another emergency situation, and for changing them you will need a lug wrench as well as a jack for propping up your car. Some vehicles may already come with a basic jack, but the better quality and more effective hydraulic jacks are worth buying. In addition to these items, be sure to have a pressure gauge for checking the air pressure in your car’s tires.
While not really considered an auto body tool, a flashlight is an important emergency item that is all too often overlooked. You should get a flashlight for each vehicle that you or your family members may own, along with some extra batteries. Many auto body supply stores sell smaller flashlights that can be stowed away in the glove compartment of your vehicle. Some auto flashlights can even be recharged through your car’s cigarette lighter.
Almost all vehicles break down at some point or another and end up with damaged parts. More extensive car repairs will obviously require specially ordered parts or even the help of a professional. However, there are a few minor auto body parts that are helpful to have on hand. A spare tire, for example, can be a lifesaver in many situations.
Many car owners may have longer lists of supplies, largely depending on the condition that their vehicle is in. Chipping paint, which should always be taken care of before it turns to rust, will require touch ups with new car paint and a finishing spray. Meanwhile, rusted paint on a vehicle will mandate tools to sand down or scrape away the rust to bare metal, then a primer and new paint job. Car paint supplies are also a necessity if you’re into car restoration. If your car’s frame is extremely rusted, new auto body panels may be the best solution, and in some cases the only solution. Be aware, however, that auto body panels will generally have to be ordered either through an auto parts store or online auto parts retailer (though you can always get these replaced by a professional instead of doing it yourself).
You may also want to get new auto body panels if yours are very scratched or dented, but for the most part these can be fixed with repair kits and dent fillers. When in stores look for Bondo, a brand that specifically manufactures auto body dent and scratch repair supplies. Bondo offers a good selection of fillers, dent repair kits, suction dent pullers, finishing spray and other items. You can find these products at most stores that sell auto body supplies.
Getting the auto body supplies you need is fairly simple, but saving money while you do it isn’t always as easy. If you have the time, it is best to compare prices between different tool and auto supply retailers such as Harbor Freight and Autozone. House of Kolor also has a wide selection of auto body supplies, as does the aforementioned Northern Tool. Car restoration enthusiasts and professional mechanics can also find many of their needed shop and auto body office supplies at these same retailers. Some may even offer discounts for items ordered in bulk.