View Full Version : Without going crazy, just the basics........

01-27-2014, 10:11 PM
Ok we all love tools, at least I think we all do:-)
Simple question: What tools should one carry in ones trunk?

I do not want to lug around 100 pounds of anything in the trunk, also AAA quality not needed, yes Snap-On would be nice, but just want bare bones to get job done if needed on the road.

Thanks for your suggestions:-)

01-27-2014, 10:12 PM
A fully-charged cell phone would be a good place to start....;) BP

01-27-2014, 10:21 PM
Grainger has an Armstrong set in 2 boxes. One box has sockets the other wrenches. The ones I have are signed by a Nascar driver (not recalling the name now) and I THINK they continue that trend with a different driver every few years. They are a high quality set that covers most jobs one would tackle without being in a shop (I have used them in the arena nearly 15 years and never broken one). Add a GOOD set of screwdrivers, a medium size hammer and several sizes and types of pliers. Steve

OH, Dont cheap out on tools. Cheap tools often do more damage than good. Steve

01-27-2014, 10:36 PM
AAA card, checkbook and a cell phone.......

Actually, Harbor Freight, Lowes, Home Depot etc sell "emergency" tool sets that are pretty complete for around $30 when you catch them on sale. Sockets, end wrenches, screwdrivers, channel locks etc. So-so quality Chinese stuff but cheap enough to keep a set in each car.

01-27-2014, 10:38 PM
I carry a small, cheap set in a case that has sockets to 13/16 and wrenches to 5/8. It also has a screwdriver handle and assortment of bits. I add visegrips, pliers, needle nose, 8" crescent wrench, a hammer and a small prybar. I also like to bring a piece of wire, a test light and some tape. And a flashlight.

01-28-2014, 12:16 AM
Guess it depends on what you want to spend. I bought one of these for a friend of mine last year. I wasn't expecting much; it turned out to be a very complete kit that would do just about anything one would need to do on the road. It's 50 pounds. Add some jumper cables, a trolley jack and a rechargeable LED worklight and you are in business.


01-28-2014, 12:24 AM
I recommend a battery jump box. It'll start the car without needing cables and a donor car. It will also get you down the road in the event of an alternator failure, 12 volt cars only though.

01-28-2014, 01:12 AM
The suggestion for a portable power pack is a good one. If you just want the basics, Harbor Freight has a sale going on right now and you can get a basic 3-in-1 for $40 or a 4-in-1 with compressor for $63. Use the 25% off coupon from Sunday's paper and you get the 3-in-1 for $30 and the 4-in-1 for $47.

If you want more gizmos, the 5-in-1 has 351 amps of cranking power, an air compressor and hose, a dual LED work light, a pair of 12volt outlets to supply 12V to cigarette lighter type plug-in power supplies for appliances, a USB charging port, and even two 120volt receptacles to supply 200 watts (400 peak) of 120volt power for small appliances for a short period of time. Use the 25% off coupon and it's $75 plus tax.

01-28-2014, 05:22 AM
I like to have a tarp or and old blanket to put on the ground when doing some mechanic alongside the road. I put it under the working area to collect falling nuts and bolts. The idea came to me when, a long time ago, one of my carb jets fall in the sewer grille located under the car. Fortunately, I've been able to lift the grille but this was a lesson.

01-28-2014, 08:14 AM
Lots of good suggestions. I would include a decent length breaker bar. Makes removing lug nuts much easier.

01-28-2014, 08:20 AM
The blanket is a good idea, if you're crawling around under the car the last thing you want to do with dirty clothes is climb back into on your cars interior.

01-28-2014, 08:42 AM
I always have a 4-way lugwrench in the trunk,and a trolley jack. Visegrips are the most versatile tool to have-Visegrip BRAND not chinese copies. I looked at my engine,and thought about what I could easily fix on the road: Alternator and belt,water pump,fuel pump,fuel hose leak,distributor,rotor,points,point gap.I carry in the trunk,spares of those parts,and the tools to change them.Add to that the already mentioned flashlight,etc. [I probably have less than 50 lbs of parts and tools in the trunk]
And as BP said in first post,a cell phone!

01-28-2014, 09:02 AM
Great thread.

All good ideas.
I would add....
Two pair of decent shop gloves (the type with the velcro around the wrist).
A couple of rolls of paper towels, and a tube of GoJo type hand cleaner.
A fire extinguisher.
An empty plastic 1 gallon gas can. (Ever have to buy one on the road? $$$)
A pair of socks and a towel.
An emergency raincoat poncho and rain hat.
Maybe an umbrella.

Even if you don't need it, it's nice to be prepared to help someone else.:!:

01-28-2014, 09:16 AM
All good suggestions. Even in new cars the first thing that's added is a 18" breaker bar and the appropriate sized deep well lugnut socket. also doubles as your prybar if you lose an alternator belt.

For the basic road side repairs
electric and duck tape
zip tie
A few cotter pins - carb and castle nut sizes
Real screw drivers. I find the multi bit tools add frustration.
Gloves, I like the tarp/blanket. I carry a couple bath towels, multi purpose for wet car, kid spills, road repair. Couple of wadded up plastic bags for wet greasy parts/trash. Unless your trunk doesn't care :)

Collapsable magnetic or cats paw bolt grabber.

Just a few additions.
Essentially. Think. What are the typical failures that happen. And accumulate those Sized tools.

Not knowing all models - I'm pretty sure you can leave all those Allen wrench (kit) FILLER pieces at home when driving a Studebaker.

01-28-2014, 10:00 AM
A good suggestion I have read is to get some vintage luggage and keep the tools in the luggage. That way, the trunk interior is protected and it makes a nice display at shows.

01-28-2014, 10:04 AM
A good suggestion I have read is to get some vintage luggage and keep the tools in the luggage. That way, the trunk interior is protected and it makes a nice display at shows.

Most excellent idea!

01-28-2014, 10:11 AM
You can go overboard, too...
There's an unwritten rule that says "Stuff fills available space"...and it will...


And then you start color coordinating stupid stuff:whome:


And organizing......


Where does it end!:rolleyes:

01-28-2014, 10:19 AM
Really good ideas here. And an excellent question. I would add one or two safety flares, especially if you do any driving at night. Safety first. I really do like the duct tape idea. How about a small roll of baling wire, if not zip ties (seriously)? And always keep a pack of chewing gum in the glove box (not so seriously).

01-28-2014, 04:22 PM
Everything listed so far sounds good but I think I would add in a cheap pair of coveralls. Even if it's a small job it will always happen when you have nice clean clothes on and have to be somewhere like meeting freinds for dinner.

01-28-2014, 04:25 PM
Here's a good start:


01-28-2014, 05:27 PM
I've had the same toolbox in my trunks since -79 & it's gotten its tools sorted out quite a bit since then & there's also always the basket of the rest mentioned above...
The first years my toolbox was mighty heavy thou.

01-28-2014, 08:21 PM
I just use a support vehicle. My old yukon stays packed with everything from a floor jack to small air compressor (makes it easier to change tires with air tools). Usually a case of oil for unexpected oil changes, A set of rod and main bearings, for a roadside "freshen" . I get one of my Sons to follow a distance behind me, so nobody knows, O, and we use 2-way radios. LOL LOL LOL

Come on Jerry Forrester, tell them you carry a roll of bailing wire and a pair of pliers.

01-28-2014, 09:43 PM
Wow! This is just the feedback I wanted! Thanks to all.............guess I will have make some decisions about what to carry in two cars!


01-28-2014, 10:03 PM
When I went with my Lark, I'd carry some of these things in a toolbox:

Adjustable wrench
Coffee can with matches
Army folding shovel
Electrical tape
Extra roll of wire, splices, wire crimpers, and wire strippers
Phillips and flathead screwdriver
Cigarette lighter plugin flashlight
Air gauge
Fuel line
Band clamps
Box cutter(Ever try to remove a R2 Lark supercharger belt from under the car with a fan shroud in the way in complete darkness? I just said the heck with it, and cut the belt loose, as it's just as easy to get a new one!)
Power steering fluid
Brake fluid

As the Lark was being driven around here locally, I kept enough to make any emergency repairs. I was one of those guys that had enough trust that my garage repairs would not result in a catastrophic breakdown while driving it around here, and it actually did. But, on long trips, I took my tool chest, socket sets, and/or bit driver sets with me. The last ones are great, it's like a whole tool chest inside of a plastic case. And yes, we usually went with a second modern vehicle as support! :)

01-29-2014, 01:29 AM
Always important to carry an extra oil pressure hose. A broken hose can really put you out of commission, but even if you catch the pressure loss before the engine blows you still won't find one in a regular parts store.

01-29-2014, 03:06 AM
Ine I would add is a nice leatherman or other good brand multitool. I always use to have one in my pocket but I lost it a couple weeks ago:( and I've missed it. My brother keeps almost all his tools in his car as its usually the one saving the day. I like to have at least a gas can, floor jack, four way, jumper cables, decent socket set. And then also a couple small rachet straps, a tool filled with odds and ends wrenchs, screwdrivers you know. And actually some zip ties and twist ties take up no space and can really save you. Oh and a really important that is't tools at all but is still a must is a random box of fuses.a bottle of every vital fluid have saved me before.