Working on cars is a proud American tradition. Still, some people are intimidated by the idea of working on a car, but the truth is most maintenance can be performed fairly simply with a basic set of tools and a willingness to learn. The tools on this short list will allow you to perform most of tasks associated with do-it-yourself auto maintenance and repair:

Oil filter wrench
This is easy to overlook, but changing your own oil is a great way to save money, and doing it without an oil filter wrench is incredibly difficult. Save yourself the trouble and pick one up.

Jack and jackstands
When you're under 2 tons of steel changing the oil, having a hydraulic jack to lift it and four jack stands holding it securely turns a dangerous situation into a safe one.

Mini crowbar and mini sledge
You'll be surprised how often you need a crowbar to leverage a part or pulley or how often that mini sledge will help you loosen a rusted bolt. Use these carefully.

Torque wrench
There are bolts on your car that need to be tightened to a maximum level of torque and a torque wrench simply allows you to do that. It's a little more expensive, but worth the cost.

Wire brush, utility knife, and pressure gauge
These are for small but necessary tasks such as cleaning battery terminals, cutting fluid hoses, and checking tire pressure (which should be done frequently).

Socket set
A decent socket set will save you hours of frustration. You don't have to spend a fortune, but don't make the common mistake of getting the wrong set. You'll need a standard set for your American car and a metric set for your foreign car. A good socket set can help tremendously with your brake repair in San Diego, CA.

Box wrench set
Box wrenches are closed on one end and open at the other end. They're perfect for bolts in narrow spaces that can't be reached with a socket.

Screwdriver set
You'll need screwdrivers to remove all kinds of parts on your car like a fan cowling, taillight assemblies, and bumper panels. Get a decent set with both slotted and Philip's head types.