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15 Best Automotive Tools at Harbor Freight

Sure, auto supply houses and your local pick'n'pull are great sources for car parts. But if you're looking to stock up on automotive tools, where do you turn? From oil changes to a complete vehicle refurbishing, if you've got the project, Harbor Freight's got the tools. The following list of 15 automotive tools includes everything from upholstery pliers to shop supplies, and it's just the tip of the iceberg for automotive hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts.

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Steering Wheel Removal Set

Whether you have a damaged column or have need to fix a damaged intermittent wiper and turn signal on an older vehicle, removing a steering wheel is no small task. But the things you do to fix it become much easier with the proper tools! This Harbor Freight tool set includes everything you need to remove a standard steering wheel. Works with almost any domestic or imported vehicle, including wheels with telescoping tilt.

The Harbor Freight tool set includes a steering wheel puller, five sets of cap screws, and a lock plate.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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3 Ton Floor Jack

Harbor Freight carries a wide range of floor jacks, all of them surprisingly high-quality items that are available at budget-friendly prices. Which is great news, because if you’re hoping to upgrade your automotive workshop, a high-quality jack is an essential purchase. It’s no wonder that floor jacks are consistently cited when discussing the things that DIYers should always buy at Harbor Freight.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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Cordless Impact Wrench

For decades, the mainstay tool of an auto mechanic’s shop has been the pneumatic wrench. But in recent years, the portability of cordless impact wrenches has drawn in more and more fans. If you have doubts about the power behind these battery-powered bolt busters, take a look at this interview with salvage king David Marofsky, and you’ll quickly become a believer.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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4 Ton Hydraulic Kit

This Pittsburgh hydraulic kit from Harbor Freight is the perfect tool for a variety of auto body and frame repair jobs. With an assortment of accessories including a hydraulic spreader and wedge head, this Harbor Freight tool set is perfect for spreading, bending, straightening and dent restoration. And with a fully manual activation, there’s no need to worry about power supply: it’s a completely portable solution!

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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Body and Fender Repair Tools

Some body repairs are best done with manual tools, rather than a full-fledged hydraulic kit. This Harbor Freight body and fender repair kit is ideal for more detailed DIY auto body repair. The rubber-gripped hammers and variety of dollies included with the Harbor Freight tool set allows you to restore your car body and fender to pristine condition, reversing dents and dings and adding value to your vehicle.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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Farm Jack

Of course, not all automotive work gets done on the nice, level floor of a garage. If you have a tractor break down or need to make field ATV repairs, then this farm jack could be exactly the tool you need for the job. The lifting arm can be set to any height on the pole, allowing you to use it on stepped raises, or for non-repair tasks like pulling saplings or as a come-along for installing chain-link fencing.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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There may be no greater boon to the DIYer than the wonder that is Bondo. Available in jumbo-sized gallon containers from Harbor Freight, this two-part product is perfect for repairing rust damage on cars or sections of rotten wood in your home. If you’re new to working with Bondo, or just want a refresher, this Family Handyman tutorial with Chip Foose of Velocity TV’s “Overhaulin'” is a terrific starting point for seeing the things you do with Bondo.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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Push Pin Pliers & Panel Clip Pliers

Automotive interiors are notoriously finicky to work with. The various types of push pins and panel clips are designed to seat in and stay put. After all, no one wants to have a dash panel that rattles. The downside of this is that removing and replacing panels and upholstery can be difficult, at best. Luckily, Harbor Freight carries a variety of specialty tools, like these pliers, for repairing your car’s interior.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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Stub Impact Wrench

This is a traditional pneumatic wrench, but its short form factor makes it ideal for sliding into tight spots where a larger wrench can’t reach. By allowing DIYers to bring pneumatic force to bear on bolts that traditionally need to be hand-cranked, they can potentially save a lot of time and swearing on most projects. And that’s exactly why stub and miniature wrenches are often included in lists of best air tools for automotive work.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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30-Inch Magnetic Sweepers

Once the work on the car is done, the DIYers job still isn’t complete. Make shop cleanup a breeze with this wide-base magnetic sweeper. If you’re like many DIYers, the things you do to keep your shop tidy is an ongoing struggle, but one that’s well worth the effort, and a clean shop is safer and saves you time and money in the long run.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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Serpentine Belt Tool Kit

On most vehicles, a serpentine belt will last for around 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Labor to change a serpentine belt could easily run a couple hundred dollars or more. At less than $20, this idler pulley adjustment kit is an investment that will pay for itself in its first use.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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Oil Filter Pliers

An oil change is the most classic of automotive DIY projects. For many of us, it’s the first foray into the realm of vehicle maintenance. And if you’ve ever had to use the hack of hammering a screwdriver through the oil filter in order to unscrew it, then you know how useful dedicated filter pliers can be. Designed to handle filters from 2 to 4.5 inches, these pliers are almost a full foot long in order to maximize torque.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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Anti-Fatigue Mat

This 5- x 5- x 2-foot anti-fatigue mat will make the hours spent in the shop seem shorter and your boots seem more comfortable. Anti-fatigue mats add comfort and increase traction, making them a great way to prevent trips, slips, and falls.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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ATV and Lawn Mower Lift

With a shop or garage tricked out for working on your car, you may as well use the space for repairs and maintenance on your smaller vehicles as well. This lift is designed to provide full access to ATVs and lawn mowers. It’s great for keeping your own vehicle in top shape, or for fixing up an older vehicle for resale. And if you’re considering purchasing a rider, be sure to check out these Family Handyman riding lawn mower reviews.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

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Auto Ramps

Car jack safety is an essential lesson for any DIY auto enthusiast. A quality jack is essential, but should always be supplemented by jack stands or auto ramps. This solid steel set of Pittsburgh car ramps from Harbor Freight are affordably priced and extremely rugged. Together, they are capable of supporting vehicles weighing in at more than 6,500 lbs. Pick up a pair of these car ramps and you’ll be able to work on your car in safety.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor Freight

Dan Stout
Ohio-based freelance writer and author Dan Stout is a former residential remodeler, commercial site supervisor and maintenance manager. He’s worked on nearly all aspects of building and DIY including project planning and permitting, plumbing, basic electric, drywall, carpentry, tiling, painting and more. He also publishes noir fantasy thrillers, including The Carter Series, from Penguin imprint DAW Books.

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