Wrenches and sockets - what do you need?
Speaking from long experience with Toyota's, cars, trucks, LC's, 4 runners and Fj's, I have some suggestions on basic wrenches and sockets that one might need to handle jobs on the road or maybe in your garage at home. Buying entire sets of this and that in anticipation of using them is usually fruitless unless you just want to accumulate tools or you have some european vehicles in the family fleet. You see the Europeans like 11,13, 15mm, and larger stuff as well as some larger ones. Asians prefer, 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19 and 24. For a Toyota 8 is the common mini size on later vehicles, and 10,12,and 14 are the most common fasteners on the vehicle anywhere. A standard combination wrench in each of the common sizes can be handy. Standard is fine and there is no need to have a lot of short, long, and standards. Standard sockets are usually enough for the occasional trip but I like to carry standard and deep sockets in those sizes and a few extensions, a universal joint and a ratchet. For drive I prefer 3/8" because it will get in to most of the nooks and crannys you need to whereas 1/2" won't. For a breaker bar I take a 15" long 1/2" driver version with an extension and a adapter for 3/8" drive. Why? Because I use it for a lug wrench also and I carry a socket specifically fitted for my lugs. I really dislike the short piece that comes with the vehicle. Add some screwdrivers and a few different pliers and you should be about there. For a screwdriver, I carry a single ratcheting one with a variety of bits in flat, phillips, pozidrive, and torx and it's a lot smaller package than a dozen different drivers. I also carry a 48oz cross peen hammer to use as a handy one handed sledge to drive in a dead man piece of rebar to winch off of. I also carry allen sockets that fit my 4 Treks mounts on my bumper and anything else (as I recall there are three).
Sockets are better than little L wrenches because with a ratchet or the breaker bar you can actually loosen and tighten something which is not always possible with the small L type. I carry my kit with rags and some lubricant in a small plastic tool box and it doesn't take up much room. I avoid all the other things that go along if you start carrying full sets. I also am not very fond of putting a kit together just before I leave. I have a dedicated kit for the purpose so I don't forget something. If I find I need something I don't have then the next time it will be in the kit. I don't rob my main tool box in my garage for trips. But I have needed this or that so many times on extended trips I just avoid the problem any more and start out with it. Hopefully I won't need a single thing. But if I do the tool is probably with me. Good luck and enjoy your travels.
On thing I need to stress is there is no right or wrong on this kind of thing. There are a lot of ideas and you should listen to them all. Then go with what you feel works best for you. But this question constantly comes up
Places to find good used tools include: Ebay, pawn shops, craigslist, friends, garage sales and forums. Places to find good new tools include Maryland Metrics, Sam Stag Sales, your local Snap-On, MAC, Matco, or Cornwell man. Stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Napa etc all sell tools. Some brands are good and some not so much. As long as they work when you need them, it doesn't matter. As a once upon a time professional mechanic, I have an awful lot of tools in my shop. Some I like better than others but some have been with me for over 40 years and they still are as good as the day I bought the.
Last edited by flintsghost; 02-15-2012 at 10:02 PM.