The ultimate checklist to basic automotive restoration tools & equipment.

Please realize this checklist has been written as a guide. This is to give you the reader a starting point, being that I personally do not know what each individual person has for knowledge, experience, workshop, tools or the project you might be working on.  I write these articles for a broad spectrum of people.

While the term auto restoration can mean many different things to different people, it is dependent on each person’s individual desires, needs, and goals for their project. I am writing them with the thought that an individual will be performing a complete ground-up restoration on an automobile that is at least 50 years of age to a show quality standard.

 There are many tool review websites, I did not see many that focus on the auto repair, auto collision, or my personal favorite is the automotive restoration industries. That is the niche topic I am going to be focusing my personal attention on with this website.

This list of Basic automotive restoration tools is based on the tool requirements for automotive technical education programs for both automotive mechanical repair and automotive collision repair college programs. With the addition of some of the necessary shop equipment and supplies, you are going to need during the course of your restoration.

Basic restoration tools:

  • Documentation (3 items)
  • Safety Equipment (14 items)
  • Shop Equipment (21 items)
  • Shop Supplies (7 items)
  • Welding equipment (17 items)
  • Hand tools (289 hand tools)
  • Inspection tools (10 items)
  • Socket Set – 1/4″ Drive (30 items)
  • Socket Set – 3/8″ Drive (47 items)
  • Socket Set – 1/2″ Drive (61 items)
  • Combination Wrenches (33 items)
  • Adjustable Wrenches (2items)
  • Line Wrenches Set (12 items)
  • Hex (Allen) Wrenches Set (22 items)
  • Screw Drivers – Blade Type (6 items)
  • Screw Drivers – Phillips (5 items)
  • Screw Drivers – Posi-drive (3 items)
  • Pliers (10 items)
  • Snap/Retaining Ring Pliers (3 items)
  • Files with Handles (3 items)
  • Hammers (14 items)
  • Punch and Chisel Set (17 items)
  • Pry Bars (7 items)
  • Torque Wrenches (2 items)
  • Breaker Bars (2 items)
  • Brake Service Tools (9 items)
  • Electrical Tools (8 pieces)
  • Air Tools (15 items)
  • Power Tools (6 items)
  • Tool Box (3 items)
  • Body Tools (26 items)
  • Automotive Electrical systems (6 items)
  • Automotive Air Conditioning & Heating (6 items)
  • Automotive Braking Systems (7 items)
  • Automotive Suspension & Steering Systems (9 items)
  • Automotive Drive Train & Axels (6 items)
  • Automotive Automatic Transmission & Transaxle (14 items)
  • Automotive Engine Performance Analysis (9 items)
  • Automotive Engine Repair (10 items)
  • Automotive Engine Rebuilding Tools (15 items)

500 Items in total, I am using the term items because some of the items could have more than one piece to them.

Documentation (3 items)

  • Digital Camera
  • Journal
  • Pens & Pencils

Safety Equipment (14 items)

  • Face shield
  • Safety Glasses
  • Hearing Protectors (ear muff type)
  • Mechanics work Gloves
  • Disposable gloves
  • Headphones
  • Coveralls
  • Painters suit
  • Painters head sock
  • Leather welding gloves
  • 3M cartridge type paint mask
  • 3M cartridge type dust mask
  • First aid kit
  • Triple Antibiotic

Shop Equipment (22 items)

  • Air Compressor
  • Work Bench
  • Anvil
  • Vise
  • 20-ton press
  • Drill Press
  • Belt sander
  • Bench grinder
  • Engine hoist
  • A-frame – overhead hoist
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Oil Drain and Oil Caddy
  • Battery Charger and Jumper
  • Media Blast Cabinet
  • Parts Washer
  • Creeper
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Shop-Vac
  • Broom
  • Dust Pan
  • Trash Can

Shop Supplies (8 items)

  • Hand cleaner
  • Tub of Towels
  • Brake clean
  • Penetrating Lubricant
  • Disposable shop towels (blue)
  • Shop rags (red)
  • Q-tips
  • Cleaning Supplies

Welding equipment (17 items)

  • MIG welder 135 – 140 kit
  • Welding gas
  • Welding cart
  • Welding table
  • Welding helmet (shade 10)
  • Flame resistant welding blanket
  • Welding goggles (shade 5)
  • High cut welding gloves
  • Welding jacket
  • Spot weld cutters/drill kit
  • Chipping hammer
  • Clamps
  • Grinder
  • Sharpies
  • Calipers
  • Rulers
  • Squares

Inspection tools (10 items)

  • Fender cover
  • Pocket Flash Light
  • Pocket Knife
  • Inspection Mirror
  • Flexible Magnetic Pick-Up Tool
  • Telescoping magnet
  • Tape Measure 12″
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Tire chuck with Aero male coupler (3804, G-2 or equivalent)
  • Tire tread depth gauge (1/32″)

Socket Set – 1/4″ Drive (30 items)

  • 1/4″ – 1/2″ Standard Depth (6 Point)
  • 1/4″ – 1/2″ Deep (6 Point) 
  • 6mm – 12mm Shallow (6 Point)
  • 6mm – 12mm Deep (6 Point)
  • Ratchets
  • Extensions – 3″, 6″
  • Flex/Universal Joint/Swivel

Socket Set – 3/8″ Drive (47 items)

  • 5/16″ – 3/4″ Standard Depth (6 Point)
  • 3/8″ – 3/4″ Deep (6 Point)
  • 9mm – 19mm Standard Depth (6 Point)
  • 9mm – 19mm Deep (6 Point)
  • Ratchet
  • Extension – 3″, 6″, 12″, 18″, 24″ 
  • Flex/Universal Joint/Swivel Fractional 
  • * Standard Flex/Swivel Impact Socket Set 3/8″ – 3/4″ (7 pieces / optional )
  • * Metric Flex/Swivel Impact Socket Set 9mm – 19mm (11pieces / optional)

Socket Set – 1/2″ Drive (61 items)

  • 7/16″ – 1 1/8″ Standard Depth (6 Point)
  • 7/16″ – 1 1/8″ Deep (6 Point)
  • 10mm – 25mm Standard Depth (6 Point)
  • 10mm – 25mm Deep (6 Point)
  • Ratchet
  • Breaker Bar
  • Extension 3″,6″,12″

Combination Wrenches (33 items)

  • 1/4″ – 1″ Standard
  • 7mm – 24mm Metric

Crescent Wrenches (2items)

  • 10”
  • 12”

Line Wrenches Set (12 items)

  • 3/8″ – 3/4″
  • 10mm – 18mm

Hex (Allen) Wrenches Set (22 items)

  • 050″ – 3/8″ Fractional
  • 2 mm – 7mm Metric

Screw Drivers – Blade Type (6 items)

  • Stubby
  • 1/4″ x 6″
  • 1/4″ x 9″
  • 3/8″ x 9″
  • 3/8″ x 16″
  • Offset

Screw Drivers – Phillips (5 items)

  • #2 Stubby
  • #1 Tip
  • #2 Tip
  • #3 Tip
  • Offset

Screw Drivers – Posi-drive (3 items)

  • 3 – ¼”, #2
  • 6-1/4” #1
  • 8” #2

Screw Driver – Torx (12 items)

  • T-8
  •  T-10
  •  T-20
  •  T-25
  •  T-27
  •  T-30
  •  T-40
  •  T45
  •  T47
  •  T-50
  •  T-55
  •  T60 

Pliers (10 items)

  • Slip Joint 6″
  • Needle Nose 6″ – 8”
  • Diagonal Cutter 7″ – 8”
  • Channel Locks 12″ (water pump pliers)
  • Long Reach End Cutter 
  • Vise-Grip Locking Pliers 10″ 
  • Channellock-type pliers (9″ – 10″)
  • Two (2) 10″ curved jaw vise grips
  • Four (4) 9″ C clamp vise grip
  • Set drill bits by 1/64 increments to 1/2″

Snap/Retaining Ring Pliers (3 items)

  • Internal Retaining Ring Pliers
  • External Retaining Ring Pliers
  • Snap Ring Pliers 

Files with Handles (3 items)

  • Flat 10″ Mill
  • Round 8″ – 10″
  • Three-Cornered

Hammers (14 items)

  • 16oz Ball Peen
  • 32oz Ball Peen
  • 16oz plastic/rubber
  • 16oz Rubber Mallet
  • 16oz Dead Blow
  • Sledgehammers 3 to 4 lb.
  • Hubcap Hammer 
  • 7 piece Hammer and Dolly set

Punch and Chisel Set (17 items)

  • Center Punch
  • Pin Punch – 1/8″, 3/16″, 1/4″, 5/16″
  • Taper Punch 3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″
  • Brass Punch – 3/4″
  • Cape Chisel – 5/16″
  • Cold Chisel – 3/8″ – 3/4″

Pry Bars (7 items)

  • Rolling Head 16″
  • Straight 16″
  • Assortment (3 – 5 piece set)

Brake Service Tools (9 items)

  • Brake Spring Pliers
  • Hold Down Tool
  • Caliper Wind Back Tool Set 
  • Brake adjusting tool 8″
  • B rake spring pliers, remove and install
  • Brake retainer washer tool (large/small)

Electrical Tools (8 pieces)

  • Analog Multi Meter
  • Digital Multimeter
  • Ammeter
  • Dwell Meter
  • 12-volt test light
  • Remote Starter Switch
  • Timing light
  • Insulation piercing test probes

Air Tools (15 items)

  • Blowgun
  • 3/8″ Impact Wrench
  • 1/2″ Impact Gun
  • ¼” Air ratchet
  • 3/8″ Air Ratchet
  • Air Hammer with
  • Cut-Off Tool
  • 90 Degree Die Grinder
  • Palm design 6” DA air sander
  • 3” air angle die grinder
  • 3/8” air drill
  • 3″ DA sander with a hook and loop pad
  • 6″ DA sander with a hook and loop pad
  • Paint gun – Primer/gravity feed hvlp 1.7-2.3 tip
  • Paint gun – Paint/gravity feed hvlp 1.3 tip
  • Paint gun – Clear Coat/gravity feed hvlp
  • Spray gun air pressure regulators
  • Sure shot

Power Tools (6 items)

  • Heat gun
  • Soldering gun/iron
  • 25’ Extension cord
  • Electric screwdriver
  • Bit set
  • Flashlight with batteries
  • ¼” Impact driver
  • 3/8″ Drive rechargeable drill
  • 1/2″ Drive rechargeable drill
  • 3/8” Variable speed electric drill (corded)

Torque Wrenches (2 items)

  • 3/8”
  • ½” Torque wrench (max 250lbs.)

Breaker Bars (2 items)

  • 3/8”
  • ½”

Tool Box (3 items)

  • Roll away tool cart
  • 55” Roller cabinet & 55” top chest

Body Tools (26 items)

  • Body trim/molding removal tools
  • Door trim panel tool
  • Window crank clip remover
  • Vixen/body metal file
  • Heel or toe dolly
  • Rubber block sander
  • Board File 2 ¾” x 17 ½”
  • Wet sand bucket – 2 to 5 gal
  • Large sponge
  • Mud board
  • Body filler spreaders
  • Body filler mixing board
  • Putty squeegee 3M#05518
  • Hand sanding pad 3M#05530
  • 6” DA Sander pad 3M#5576
  • Metal Files
  • Sanding Blocks – Durablock #AF44A
  • Assorted Picks 
  • Seambuster Spot Weld Chisel – Steck #20015SB
  • Right Angle SeamBuster – Steck #20016
  • Spot weld cutters – (Blair) #11082
  • Rotobroach cutters – (Blair) #11099
  • ¼” Roptobroach cutters – (Blair) #11100-3
  • Step drill 1/8” – ½” – (Blair) #35400
  • Step drill 3/16” – ½” (Blair) #35401
  • Step drill 3/16” – 7/8” (Blair) #35402

Automotive Electrical systems (6 items)

  • Test Light
  • Digital Multimeter
  • Wire Strippers/crimpers
  • Set of jumper wires
  • Battery post/terminal brush
  • 5/16″ Battery side terminal wrench

Automotive Air Conditioning & Heating (6 items)

  • Digital thermometer
  • Dye injector/UV light
  • Manifold gauge set
  • Orifice tube removing tool
  • R134A can tap
  • Valve core tool

Automotive Braking Systems (7 items)

  • 3/8″ hex bit driver socket
  • Caliper Piston Compressor
  • Drum Brake Spring Remover/Installer
  • Drum Brake Spring retainer remover/installer
  • Flare nut set metric
  • Flare nut set SAE
  • T50 Torx bit driver socket

Automotive Suspension & Steering Systems (9 items)

  • Ball Joint Fork
  • Brass hammer
  • Grease Pencil
  • Tape Measure
  • Thread restoring file
  • Tie Rod End Fork
  • Valve core tool
  • Wheel lug nut flip socket metric
  • Wheel lug nut flip socket SAE

Automotive Drive Train & Axels (6 items)

  • Clutch Alignment Tool Set
  • Pilot Bushing Remover
  • Seal Puller
  • Flywheel Turner
  • CV boot clamp pliers
  • 1/4″ drive torque wrench

Automotive Automatic Transmission & Transaxle (14 items)

  • Automatic Transmission Pressure Gauge Kit
  • Snap Ring Pliers Set
  • Lock Ring Pliers Set
  • Seal Pullers
  • Lip seal installer
  • 4 Piece Pick Set
  • Basic Scan Tool (Data Stream & Read Codes)
  • Chisel Set
  • Torx Socket Set
  • Alan Socket Set
  • Digital Multi Meter
  • Feeler gauge set
  • Dial indicator
  • Vernier caliper

Automotive Engine Performance Analysis (9 items)

  • Compression Gauge Set
  • Cooling system pressure test kit
  • Spark plug gapper
  • Spark plug socket 13/16″
  • Spark plug socket 5/8″
  • Spark plug wire pliers
  • Spark tester
  • Stethoscope
  • Vacuum Gauge
  • Basic Scan Tool (Data Stream & Read Codes)

Automotive Engine Repair (10 items)

  • Feeler Gauge – .0015″ to.080″
  • Set of “T” gauges
  • Plastic Gauge
  • Ring Compressor
  • Oil Pressure gauge set
  • Antifreeze hydrometer
  • Tap & Die set
  • Hose clamp plier set or hose clamp pliers
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Hose pinch-off pliers

Automotive Engine Rebuilding Tools (15 items)

  • Camshaft installation tool
  • Piston ring compressor
  • Feeler Gauge – .0015″ to.080″
  • Degree wheel
  • Balancer puller
  • Piston stop
  • Camshaft checking tool
  • Damper installation tool
  • Thread chaser kit
  • Checking springs
  • Valve spring compressor
  • Engine cleaning brushes
  • Basic ring filer kit
  • Crankshaft turning socket
  • Dial bore gauge

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