Repairing, maintaining and upgrading your car at home is a great way of saving money and it can be an interesting and rewarding hobby. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an old pro, there are some essential things for your garage that will make your work more enjoyable, more productive and safer. Here’s our top five must-have products for the DIY mechanic:
1. Mechanic’s stool
A mechanic’s stool is a height-adjustable, wheel-mounted, rotating stool – it’s the absolute perfect design for working on vehicles of any size. You can position the stool to give you comfortable access to your vehicle, wheel it along as you change what you are working on and rotate to reach tools and parts.
Some models come with built-in tool storage – either temporary in the form of a tray or more permanent in the form of a full toolbox. If you are likely to be working beneath your vehicle, you can get lie-flat models that let you slide in and out of position easily and quickly.
2. Trolley jack
When you’re working underneath the vehicle, for example on brakes, wheels or tyres, you’ll need to raise the car off the ground. The most cost-effective, simplest way of achieving this is with a hydraulic trolley jack. These are wheel mounted to let you get into position easily, and have an extending arm that you pump to provide the lift. Premium models include overload valves, slow-release mechanisms and ‘rocket lifts’ which let you raise the vehicle with fewer pumps. Make sure you get a jack that is suited to your vehicle – pay attention to weight capacities, clearances and lift heights.
Typically, the garage does not have great lighting. You’ve probably got a single fluorescent strip or a dangling bulb at best, but you’ll need more than that to complete any routine tasks safely and comfortably – let alone more delicate or precise ones. A bright, adjustable spot light can make your work easier and better. They’re relatively inexpensive, but if you’re on a particularly tight budget you can even get away with a high wattage bulb in an Anglepoise desk lamp, or a rechargeable LED torch.
As with good, practical lighting, most garages don’t come equipped with heating. They’re often left out of central heating systems as a way of reducing energy costs in the home – but if you’re working in the garage regularly you’ll want to add in a heater. A small portable space heater, oil-radiator or electric fan heater can make your garage much more comfortable – no one wants to work on their car in a padded coat, hat, gloves and scarf, after all.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, think about getting yourself a fan. It doesn’t need to be a huge, heavy-duty model – just something to circulate the air and keep you cool on warmer days. The majority of domestic garages don’t have windows, so you’ll want to get as much air flow as you can from a combination of an open door and a fan – particularly if you are doing any sanding, filing or painting as fumes and particulates can quickly cause respiratory issues.
Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk