The best car tool kits for home mechanics

Tackling basic car repairs yourself could save you hundreds of pounds. We pick the best tool kits for home or roadside repairs.

assortment of sockets and bits

by Tim Pitt |

Once upon a time, fixing a car used to mean plenty of elbow grease and a puddle of oil on your driveway. Today, it’s as likely to involve a laptop and a spreadsheet of fault codes.

But while the more complicated repairs are best left to the experts, there are still plenty of jobs – such as changing the oil or brake pads – that you can tackle at home. With the right tool kit and a Sunday morning to spare, you could save a small fortune.

A car tool kit is also invaluable on the road. If you break down, particularly in a remote area, it might be the difference between a quick repair and a very long walk. We’ve compiled a list of the best car tool kits for amateur mechanics. You’ll find many of them useful around the house, too.

All of our choices contain a comprehensive set of tools, but if you want to supplement them with additional screwdrivers, spanners or even a strong metal toolbox to keep them all in, we've got these covered too.

At the bottom of this article, you will find some further advice and buying tips.

WZG Werkzeug 194-Piece Tool Set

Editor's pick
WZG Werkzeug 194 Piece Tool Set
Amazon

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Ideal for the home mechanic. This comprehensive kit from German brand WZG Werkzeug is a great addition to any garage. The sturdy aluminium carry-case contains 194 pieces, secured in place by Velcro or rubber straps.

The kit comprises a variety of spanners, sockets, pliers, screwdrivers and Allen keys. Other useful tools include a file, 8-inch adjustable wrench, ratchet handle, 300g machinist hammer, zip ties and measuring tape. The quality is very good, especially given the affordable price. Note these tools are metric (rather than imperial) sizes, so won’t be suitable for some classic cars.

Pros Cons
• All the basic tools you need • A bit large to keep in the car
• Well made and organised
• Strong aluminium case

Ideal for repairs on the road

Top Pick
Black & Decker
Amazon

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This compact kit fits in your car's glove box or spare wheel well and contains the essentials for emergency repairs. It could prevent a call to a breakdown service or provide peace of mind when driving in rural areas, where mobile phone signal is limited.

Acclaimed toolmaker Black & Decker has squeezed no less than 77 pieces into a roll-up bag. These include spanners, sockets and Allen keys, plus flat-blade and Phillips screwdrivers, pliers and a ratchet. The components are well made and should last for many years of occasional use.

Pros Cons
• Portable for the car • Only basic tools included
• Affordable
• Good quality

Halfords Advanced 150 Pc Socket & Spanner Set

Best for lifetime use
Halfords Advanced 150 Pc Socket & Spanner Set

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Not a cheap option by any stretch but a lifetime warranty means (in theory) it's a buy-once and never again item. Containing all the tools you'll realistically need, this kit is an investment for those who want to know the right spanner or socket will never be more than a mere arm's reach away.

Pros Cons
• Lifetime warranty • Plastic case
• Good value for money • Pricey for occasional use
• Wide selection of tools

Related: The best torque wrench for your car

Affordable and essential

Best value
Hi-Spec Tools 67 Piece Auto Mechanics Tool Kit Set
Amazon

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Containing the 'most reached for sockets' by car mechanics. This value-priced kit comprises 67 pieces made from a chrome-plated steel alloy. As well as the expected spanners and sockets, handy extras include a voltage tester and earthing lead, plus no less than 28 screwdriver bits.

Its plastic case doesn’t exactly feel premium, but this is an affordable tool kit that you could store at home or in the car boot. The tool sizes are metric, making it suitable for the vast majority of cars – and plenty of jobs around the house, too.

Pros Cons
• Budget price • Trade-off with low price is lower quality
• Easy to carry around
• Good range of tools

Sealey 100-Piece Mechanics Tool Kit

For serious DIYers and professionals
Sealey AK7400 Mechanics Tool Kit 100pc

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Sealey is one of the tool industry's most comprehensive manufacturers, that produces almost any tool you can think of, from spanners to the most obscure pieces of equipment. Its 100-piece mechanic's tool kit is fairly self-explanatory: if you you have a workshop at home or a serious home mechanic, this set bears all the frequently used tools you need and at the level of quality you expect.

In addition to the 1/4" and 1/2" sockets, you get deep spark plug sockets (1/4"), extension bars, 10" water pump pliers, 12oz ball pein hammer, circuit tester, hex keys, to name but a few. At almost eight kilograms, it's a hefty kit, but it's not intended to be super portable and is indicative of the heavy-duty nature of the tools in it.

Pros Cons
• Professional-grade quality • Not worth it for casual DIYers
• Comprehensive set
• A worthy investment for those who will benefit

Related: The best tyre inflator compressors | The best car battery chargers

Best portable kit for bikers

Recommended
Sealey MS164 Motorcycle Underseat Tool Kit
Amazon

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Even a car tool roll is too bulky for carrying on a motorcycle. Help is at hand, however, in the shape of this slimmed-down kit from Sealey. It's small enough to fit beneath your motorbike seat.

The Sealey name dates back to 1978 and the company is one of the leading suppliers to the garage trade. The zip-up bag contains pliers, sockets, mole grips, cable ties, a ratchet and a magnetic screwdriver. The kit is of decent quality and won’t weigh you down unnecessarily.

Pros Cons
• Ideal for bikers • Flimsy bag
• Very compact • Limited tool selection
• Good quality tools

Car tool kits: what you need to know

Value

A complete car tool kit is much cheaper than buying individual tools separately. A reasonably comprehensive kit for home car maintenance may cost less than £100 – or £50 if you need a portable kit for roadside repairs. Compare that with the hourly labour rate for your local garage and you’ll soon realise how much you could save.

What tools to looks for

Assuming you’re starting from scratch, the basics to look for in a car repair kit include screwdrivers, a ratchet and sockets, spanners, Allen keys and pliers. Additional items you may need to buy – particularly for more involved jobs at home – including a hammer, car jack, axle stands, tyre pressure gauge and inflator, battery jump-starter pack and hand degreaser. An OBD code reader is nigh-on essential for fault diagnosis with modern cars, too.

We’d suggest storing all of the above in your garage or shed, then keeping a portable tool kit in the car. Either way, a ready-made kit should be easy to carry, with its own case or bag providing easy access to the tools inside. Professional tool kits are of better quality, but vastly more expensive. So consider whether you will likely reap the benefits of a professional-grade set. Remember, there are perfectly decent sets for casual users. You can gradually upgrade your tool collection over time.

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