Automotive Tools

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Here is a list of some of my favorite tools I use on a regular basis.  There are all my own tools that I have store in my tool box.    As you can tell these tools have been used and abused but they did the trick.  Years in the business and many jobs later they have their battle wounds.  But don’t be fooled, these automotive tools are still going strong and I still use them today.  Some of them more than others.   Some of these tools you can get for pretty cheap on amazon but some of them you may want to purchase from your tool distributor.  There nothing like a new shiny stool that has never been used that really gets the other guys in the shop jealous.  Below are the pictures in no particular order.


This tools is called a Power Probe.  It is one of my favorite tools because it helps me diagnose electrical issues very fast.  Its hooks up to the positive and negative post at the battery and when the tip of the power probe touches anything on the vehicle that is power, the little LED light will light up red.  When is touches anything ground on the vehicle, it will light up green.  Not only that, but you can supply power and or ground to components on the vehicle using the tip of this test probe by pressing the switch up or down.  The new ones have a built in voltmeter on them just in case you come across a bad connection and need a volt reading.

power probe
My power probe I use when diagnosing electrical issues

 

Here is an engine compression tester.  It is pretty self explanatory.  Checking engine compression is vital to diagnosing and fixing many no start and engine performance issues.   For example, this tool was used to diagnose a broken camshaft on this vehicle.  Got to have one of these if you plan on diagnosing base engine mechanical problems.

engine compression tester
Compression gauge with adapters

Below is an Engine and Transmission Oil Pressure Tester Set.  While I don’t work on transmissions, it comes as a kit.   I have used this to check engine oil pressure at the oil pressure sending unit hole and it works greats.   It comes with all of the necessary adapters and quick fit disconnect gauges.

engine and transmission oil pressure tester set
engine and transmission oil pressure tester set

Here is a Universal Noid Light.  I like this style because it will fit just about any vehicle.  You can use it to check injector pulse while cranking it over if you are diagnosing a crank no start condition.  As you can see the prongs on my the end of mine have broken off so it is rather cheap.  I did end up soldering small prongs back on the end so I can still use it.  Another good feature about this is that it has a long cord and a suction cup that you can use to attach it to the windshield while you crank the engine over.  This way you dont need an assistant to help check for injector pulse.

universal noid light
universal noid light

Here is a Power Steering Pump Pulley Installer.  This particular one only installs the pulley into the power steering pump.   This one is very durable and works great.  Saves you time and money when removing and replacing a power steering pump.  Only a few bucks, it is well worth the investment.

power steering pulley installer tool
power steering pulley installer tool

Here is an Exhaust Back Pressure Tester.  This tools is great to use if you think the exhaust is plugged up on a car causing a low power condition.  Plugged exhaust can cause all sorts of issues with a fuel injected vehicle.  Not only the fuel trims and oxygen sensor readings be way out of whack, but it will also affect manifold vacuum as well.   This will not only cause poor gas mileage and low power, but it will also cause the engine to carbon up and put a major load on the base engine mechanical components as well.   The specifications are no more than 1.5 psi at 2000 rpm.    It simply screws into the oxygen sensor and measures the exhaust back pressure when the engine is running.

exhaust back pressure tester
exhaust back pressure tester

Here is a must have when diagnosing fuel injected vehicles.  Fuel delivery issues are incredibly common and a simple Fuel Pressure Tester will save you loads of time when trying to diagnose a, engine misfire or low power condition.  Here is a good page explaining how to check fuel pressure.

fuel pressure gauge
Standard fuel pressure gauge

Below is an electronic temperature gun.  This tools is great for diagnosing catalytic converters (plugged cats or even for emissions), misfire conditions and cooling system issues.  If you have an old school vehicle  that will not flag misfire codes that is hard to figure out which cylinder is misfiring (before 1996), just check the temperature of each exhaust manifold runner from each cylinder.  There will be a drastic temperature difference in the runner of the cylinder misfiring compared to the other cylinders that are firing like normally.  Another good use for this tool is that it can also help diagnose a stuck caliper by taking the temperature of all four rotors of a vehicle that has a pulling condition.

electronic temperature gun
Raytek electronic temperature gun

Here is a basic tool that works wonders.  This Spark Tester is also a vital tool is diagnosing a no spark condition.  This particular one is adjustable and is very easy to use.  If there is one cylinder misfiring while the engine is running, you will need to check for spark going to that cylinder.   This would be the tool to use.  Just insert it into the ignition wire or ignition coil going to that cylinder and start the engine (or crank it over if your are diagnosing a no start condition).

adjustable spark tester
adjustable spark tester

Here is a must have if you want to get serious about diagnosing and fixing engines.  A basic hand held engine Vacuum gauge is a very simple tool and it will tell you loads of information about how the engine is running.  It basically is a gauge for how well the engine is breathing.  If the exhaust is plugged, engine is misfiring (due to low compression, faulty piston rings, burned valve, incorrect valve timing) it will cause low engine vacuum.  Just hook it up to a vacuum source that has full manifold vacuum (intake manifold) while the engine is running and take a reading.

hand held vacuum gauge
hand held vacuum gauge

This is also a very handy tool.  This is called an Impact screw driver.  This works great for getting those stubborn flat head and Phillips screws out that are rusted into place.  I use this tool all of the time to remove the rotor screws when doing a brake job on Honda cars and trucks.

Impact screw driver
Impact screw driver

This next tool is a Serpentine Belt Tool.  It has many different adapters for all different sizes and it even comes with an extension.  If your planning on replacing serpentine belts, this tool is a must have.

Serpentine Belt Tool
Serpentine Belt Tool

Last but not least, these are called Stud remover set.  These are great for removing broken studs.  Usually this happens on exhaust components such as the exhaust manifolds and catalytic converters.  There are four different sizes and there are two separate sets.  There is an American and metric set.  These work great when your in a bind.  Highly recommended.

stud extractors
Matco stud extractors

Below is a smoke machine made by Redline Detection.   This tool is absolutely fantastic!  Not only is it made to locate leaks in the Evaporative Emissions system on newer vehicles (which works wonders), you can also use it to smoke test the intake system to help locate any hard to find engine vacuum leaks (in case of any idling, stalling or lean codes you may have and suspect it may be due to a vacuum leak).   Sometimes the intake manifold gasket can leak vacuum in one particular area which will suck in large amounts of air into one or two cylinders causing certain cylinders to misfire.  This smoke machine will pinpoint this type of vacuum leak no problem and save you a ton of time.  In addition, you can even use it to smoke test the exhaust system if you suspect there is a leak causing false oxygen sensor or catalytic converter codes.