Who keeps tools in their auto? What you use?

Discussion in 'The Barber Shop' started by Toothpick, Jan 10, 2019.

    I like some multi-purpose items but for anything "safety" related prefer single function. Allows you to pack only what you need and it be tailored to the requirements. I looked at the all-in one units when I was buying mine and didn't like the idea of having to replace the whole thing if say only the compressor dies.

    Welcome. I've had it for a couple years now and its been nothing but good. Also have the little 400 amp one I take along on motor bike trips. It started giving an error warning about a month in, emailed NOCO and the just sent out a replacement so also pretty impressed with their customer service
  1. I also have the NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70. Just got it a few months ago and haven't had an opportunity to use it yet but it seems very well made and all the reviews I read/watched were overwhelmingly positive. It's definitely extra peace of mind just to have it in the car.
  2. Toothpick

    Toothpick Moderator

    Ok, to answer some questions for the curious minds

    It’s a 1997 Ford Ranger regular cab 2.3L 5 speed.

    Odometer reads 171,000. I bought it off my boss. He had it for 8 years, said the odometer quit working on him a while ago but he estimates he put about 3,000-4,000 miles on it in the 8 years. I tend to beleive him because I have no reason not to. He never drove it to work and has 5 or so other vehicles. So let’s just say less than 200k

    I drive 352 miles to work every week. 18,304 miles a year. All highway. It’s my daily driver to/from work (4 days a week) other than that it sits and I drive something else.

    I regularly check the fluids (oil, brake, antifreeze, wiper, power steering, what else?). I do this 2-3x a month.

    As far as breaking down along side the road and fixing it - likely not going to happen. Very likely. I’ll just call someone.

    For a flat tire - I’ll throw on the spare. So I do need a jack. I’m thinking a 2T bottle jack will be fine. I won’t be pulling it off and fixing it. I’ll just throw on the spare and head on down the road.

    My mechanical skills - I would say Novice. But with YouTube’s help there hasn’t been anything I couldn’t fix yet. Except for balancing those damn lawn tractor blades!! But that’s another story. So yeah, anything outside of an oil change or tire change I’ll be taking it somewhere. Unless YouTube makes it look easy. But along side the road - I tow.

    So I don’t need a full toolbox. Just useful tools for everyday life. Whatever those are? Maybe ya’ll can’t say. I’ll just add to the toolbox as I need it.
  3. This is the bypass cutter I referred for making an emergency disconnect of a battery cable. They are used for cutting fuel and transmission hoses and such squarely and cleanly, also. Not that the latter would be needed in a fire or electrical meltdown. But handy to have.

  4. The more info the better, just trying to help...

    That's great info and my dad had that truck. They're pretty reliable, my dad's was a 5 speed manual. Do you know if the timing belt/tensioner has been done? They need it every 100k miles. At that time you also do the water pump and coolant/heater hoses, belts too if they've gone 100k. Basic tune ups are a snap on that engine and I think they're recommended every 30k, IIRC.

    It sounds like you've rethought and changed your needs from the OP. I'd still recommend the basics in post #59 for the truck. As far as useful tools for everyday life...

    1/4" and 3/8" socket sets, Spark plug sockets, SAE and Metric combination wrenches, sets of SAE & Metric Hex and Torx keys, 7" & 10" Knipex Pliers Wrench (better substitute for adjustable wrench), 7" and 10" Knipex cobras (better substitute for Channellocks), needle nose pliers, vise grips, set of screwdrivers. You say you do some repairs already so you probably have a start here, no?
  5. Cool, thanks for the background.

    As previously mentioned I consider tools/repair, roadside assistance and first aid different categories so that's how I assembled the lists.
    *designates a nice to have item

    Storage: I like the tool rolls you mentioned since they’ll conform and maximize your space. Will also stop tools from rattling and driving you nuts. The small plastic tool boxes for under/behind the seats work. Another choice would be a tool backpack like this.

    Non-tool items:
    10 x nitrile gloves
    1 x pair leather gloves
    1 x poly tarp (large enough to wrap up a body)
    2 x rags
    1 x HD (heavy duty) bag/can hand wipes
    1 x small can WD40
    1 x roll duct tape
    1 x roll electrical tape
    6 x HD 10” cable ties
    1 x Flashlight/worklight combo
    1 x extra set of batteries for above
    1 x tire pressure gauge
    1 x 1 of each amperage fuse the truck uses
    1 x the following bulbs
    -9007 (hi/low headlight)*
    -3157 clear (brake light, front turn signal, others)*
    -3156 clear (rear turn signal, backup lights, others)*

    1 x multitool (with needle nose pliers, wire cutter, 3” or longer knife)
    1 x set SAE hex keys*
    1 x multi-bit screwdriver
    1 x slip joint pliers
    1 x 8” adjustable wrench
    1 x set SAE box/open end wrenches
    1 x SAE socket set*

    **edit I like @shavefan's Knipex suggestions as an alternative to the adjustable wrench, great tools

    Roadside Assistance:
    Storage: Anything compact enough to stay out of the way the 99.99% of the time it’s not being used. I have my stuff in a old big’ish laptop bag.

    1 x booster cables (12’, at least 6 gauge)
    1 x set safety triages
    1 x set LED flares
    6 x chemical flares
    1 x battery boost pack*
    3 x bottles gas line antifreeze (unless of course it doesn’t freeze where you live)
    1 x can tire sealant*

    First Aid
    Storage: Something decently sturdy with minimal intrinsic organization (i.e. a bunch of elastic loops, etc. that only get in the way), instead use ziplock baggies to organize contents by type.

    Misc items:
    1 x ballpoint pen
    1 x small notepad
    1 x pen light*
    3 x tongue depressors
    2 x small garbage bags
    10 x nitrile gloves
    1 x N95 respirator
    1 x CPR barrier
    20 x small alcohol wipes
    10 x alcohol swab sticks
    10 x large sanitizing wipes (PAWS wipes)
    1 x tube bacitracin ointment
    5 x single use packs bacitracin ointment

    1 x trauma/EMS shears (good quality, 7”)
    1 x fine point tweezers
    1 x bandage scissors*
    1 x Kelly forceps*

    2 x rolls surgical tape (Transpore or Durapore)
    1 x sterile 2” rolled gauze
    10 x sterile 2x2 gauze pads
    10 x sterile 4x4 gauze pads
    1 x sterile 5x9 combine pad
    2 x triangular bandage
    1 x steri-strips
    1 x box assorted adhesive bandages (finger tip, knuckle, strip, etc.)

    all at your discretion

    Hope that's a little helpful
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  6. Toothpick

    Toothpick Moderator

    I’m about 99% sure the timing belt has not been done. I’ll ask my boss Monday just to be 100% sure. A dude I work with made the same suggestion to me last week to get it done. I’ll have to take it somewhere for that.
    I’m also about 99% sure he said he did the water pump.

    From the list in the last paragraph I’ve got everything but the spark plug sockets. I don’t have the Knipex brand but I have the adjustable wrench and channellocks.
  7. Toothpick

    Toothpick Moderator

    Thanks Mountain Man. That’s a big ole list! I see a lot of stuff I have already. But I’ll have to cross reference and add more I’m sure.
  8. On the bottle jack, apologies for being obvious but make sure whatever you get has the proper range to lift the truck.

    @Canadian Mountain Man has a good list but I can't recommend those C'man combo wrenches. Honestly, IME they're terrible, at least the new Made in China one's are. My friend had a set and I was working on his kids dirtbike and I think they slipped on and or rounded every fastener they touched. Maybe it was just a bad set but they were garbage.

    Edit: For a few bucks more, these are GTG...

    Also, I believe that Ranger is a mix of SAE and metric fasteners, you'll need both for tools

    SP socket size is 5/8" BTW
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  9. No....they're made by the most skilled blacksmiths using nothing but quality Chinesium which is a proprietary mix of finely aged lawn furniture, dishwashers, hubcaps & shopping carts.

    But yes, that is a crap set of wrenches.
  10. Ha, I just edited my post with an alternative...
  11. Wuick side bar here if you don’t mind.
    @Toothpick, these are the ticket for the blade balancing.

  12. Toothpick

    Toothpick Moderator


    I think I have a different issue. Both balancing techniques I’ve tried have told me a different side is off balance. The nail in the vice tells me one side if off, the nail on the wall of the shed tells me the other side is off. Maybe my shed is not level!
  13. The nail method is not holding the blade at the true center of the blade. Left to right yes, but not centered between cutting edge to sail edge. That is why it doesn’t work well. It makes it so it hold the blade off by that small distance at the edge of the hole-half it’s diameter, and enough to make that difference. Flipping the blade throws it off in the other direction. The cone balancers are a little better, but the wall mounted magna-matic is very precise in balancing and will also tell you if the blade is bent. You flipped the blade between shed and the other.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  14. It’s probably close enough to make your machine not shake too badly or hurt the engine, but you’ll see it not be the same when the blade is reversed side to side between testing. (Missed the edit time out)
  15. Floor jack is behind the passenger seat on the floor of the regular cab truck. It would have to take the whole seat out, and defeat the seat belt and air bags, to move forward.

    And yes, I've seen people hit in the head by flying objects on a lot of vehicle accidents I've worked. Several people had told and told and told the admin. about the shotguns they mounted in the patrol cars on the cages on just regular gun hooks between the driver's compartment and the back seat that did not secure the shotguns...just held them.

    One time a friend that I went to the academy with was in a chase and nosedived into a berm and the shotgun flew off and hit him in the back of the head...broke the stock on the shotgun. He just jumped out and ran after the guy that had abandoned his own wrecked vehicle and caught him. He was a former Marine though...just didn't give a crap. And another guy that was running hot had a car pull out in front of him and knocked him into a light pole...shotgun hit him in the back of the head also. The wreck killed the newspaper reporter that was riding with him.

    Then they finally spent the money to mount the vertical racks on the transmission hump that locked the shotgun in.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  16. My 1990 F-150 that I got off of Dad has 280 some thousand miles on it and still runs. Built Ford tough.
  17. Absolutely, any cargo should be well secured. When I said set against the back cab wall, neglected to mention that and was figuring it a given it be secured. Make sure the securing device or straps are up to the task. There are online calculators that will tell you the forces you are dealing with by combining load mass and speed of impact. It will surprise you maybe, what a fifty pound weight falling three feet equals to. Dead stop from speed much less weight can take your head off. A sherrifs’s son told me of a sand bag in a truck bed doing just that. Its habit for me to keep a cabin uncluttered and stored items well secured, having seen the results of unsecured loads throughout my career.
  18. FYI, Harbor Freight is having a sale on the small magnetic worklights, $4.99ea. These are the ones I keep in my glove box. Sale ends today, I'm gonna go pick up a couple more later.

    215 Lumen Magnetic Pocket Worklight
  19. I have a 2010 Ranger and there is a small jack with lug wrench behind the passenger seat, fastened to the floor. That would handle all the tire changing chores that you are going to do on the side of the road. Anything more that involves jacking the car up really needs to be done in a safe area with jack stands in place.

    As to the rest of the tools, it really needs to be based on what you are willing to do out on the road. I have a couple collector cars that I drive all over the place and I have tools and spares to do jobs I know I can handle. Those are much simpler cars and don't need OBDII readers and the like to diagnose issues. I still won't play mechanic on the side of a busy road, but I can do a lot in a hotel parking lot.

    I like to use ammo cans for tools. Strong and water resistant. Tool bags are nice too and easier to pack away. I have one that I use for junkyard parts pulling that works out real well. On the road tools are usually sourced at Harbor Fright. They are decent enough to get the job done, but not so expensive that you'll cry if they get lost or "borrowed". Everything else has been covered, although I didn't see anyone mention that a cheap digital multimeter can really help with simple diagnostics.

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