Working on minor repairs to your vehicle at home is easy because there you’re well-stocked with tools to get the job done effectively. But, what happens when the same fully-running, tip-top vehicle bails out on you in the middle of nowhere, especially in the wee hours of the night when you know only vampires and werewolves might be awake for rescue?
So much for the rescue! You can prevent these vehicles-related debacles, not to mention such frightful encounters, by keeping the best tool kit in your car.
A well-stocked mechanical tool kit will be the one that comes with the most commonly used components like screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, flashlight, glass breaker etc. You can turn it into a full-fledged rescuer by adding equipment like an air pressure gauge, tire inflator, battery booster, tow-strap etc. These tools will enable you to defuse potentially threatening situations like burst tires, dead batteries, loose nuts of wheels and so on.
We value your life as well as your money. That’s why we put together this extensive article containing a list of top tool kits for a car along with a buyer’s guide. If you intend to be self-serving during an unexpected car breakdown, then dig in to know which tools you need in your car’s trunk at all times.
Table of Contents
Top Tool Kit to Keep in Car Comparison Table
TACKLIFE 1X Cordless Tire Inflator
Weight: 1.85 pounds
Dimension: 11.46 x 7.09 x 2.8 inches
Weight: 5 pounds
Dimension: 14.17 x 12.99 x 8.66 inches
Coleman Cable 08662
Weight: 7.3 pounds
Klein Tools 85146 6pcs Screwdriver Set
Weight: 1.87 pounds
Dimension: 12 x 9 x 1.5 inches
Motion Pro Gauge
Weight: 0.9 Pounds
Dimension: 13 x 6.5 x 3 inches
GOODSMANN 3000 Lumen
Weight: 1.67 pounds
Dimension: 7 x 8 x 4 inches
Weight: 2 Pounds
Dimension: 10 x 2 x 2 inches
NOCO Genius10 Battery Charger
Weight: 0.01 ounces
Dimension: 4.41 x 4.48 x 9.1 inches
Leatherman Super Tool 300 Multitool
Weight: 15.2 ounces
Dimension: 5.2 x 4 x 1.97 inches
Ztylus Stinger Car Safety Emergency Escape Tool
Weight: 4 ounces
Dimension: 3 x 1 x 2.75 inches
1. TACKLIFE 1X Cordless Tire Inflator: Best Portable Air Pump
Eager to balloon the deflated tire of your car to get back on the road? We know the tool that will get you out of this fiasco in a trice. Tacklife 1X cordless tire inflator is called the best and the most reliable rescuer for a dozen reasons.
It is very affordable. But, that’s just an appetizer.
The main course is its dual personality, one minute working as an air compressor, another minute turned into a power bank. So, either your vehicle’s tire bails out on you or your mobile phone or some other device, this multi-talented little fellow will save the day anytime.
What makes it more palatable is its high-precision digitalized pressure gauge with a super-bright LCD screen. Just check the current tire pressure to punch in the appropriate value and let it take over from there. It will shut down automatically after reaching the preset figures. Plus, don’t worry about the crisis occurring at nighttime because the built-in LED flashlight will dispel the darkness to let you work comfortably.
Oh, in case you’re wondering which type of tire, let me just lay it bare for you. Be it a bike, motorcycle, a regular small car or a midsize SUV, it is good for all. Besides, you can also use it for balls, balloons and other such inflatables. All thanks to 3 extra adapters that manufacturers have packed with it.
To top it all, its lightweight body is adorned with a heat-resistant and shock-proof rubberised handle to offer a comfortable and firm grip.
- Cordless design comes with a powerful rechargeable battery and other accessories.
- Digitalised control gauge with a clear LED screen makes it easy to operate.
- Perfect for versatile applications.
- Built-in emergency flashlight to cope with low visibility situations.
- Its a bit noisy.
- It overheats quickly.
Tacklife 1X cordless tire inflator works like a charm whether you’re using it for a vehicle’s tires or pumping air in other inflatables. Its digitalized control and bright flashlight make it a great and reliable companion for roadside emergencies.
2. GearAmerica 2PK: Best Emergency Towing Straps
It is smart to keep a tow strap in your car’s trunk when travelling because you can never know when bad luck strikes and the vehicle gets stuck in a puddle or pit. What is smarter is to rely on 2PK 4” x 30’ tow strap by GearAmerica to literally drag you out of the predicament.
The fact that it is made up of rugged polyester with military-grade webbing and superior tensile strength indicates its endurance for extreme load and scalding temperatures.
To assure you further of its heavy-duty build, the company has made its double-web-loop ends large with heavy padding and reinforcement. This makes it capable of performing the most demanding towing or recovery tasks such as towing large trucks and SUVs, dragging bulky equipment, moving huge debris etc.
With a ginormous maximum breaking strength (MBS) limit of 45k lbs, it can prove to be a lifesaver for off-roader owners, farmers, emergency personnel or anyone frequently encountering hauling of humungous loads.
A final but thoughtful feature is the inclusion of an over-sized storage bag to help you keep all your towing essentials in one place.
- Ruggedly build with heavy padding and reinforced parts for a longer lifespan and protection of equipment.
- Weather-resistant with a huge towing capacity of 45k lbs.
- Ideal for versatile demanding applications.
- Comes with a large storage bag.
- Lifetime replacement warranty.
- Stitching starts coming apart in folding areas.
- Bag is less durable.
This towing strap is tightly woven and has thick padding and reinforcements on critical parts for endurance. It has a ginormous weight-towing capacity, which makes it ideal for demanding towing and recovery jobs.
3. Coleman Cable 08662: Best Ergonomically Designed Booster Cables
This booster cable is one of the most reliable and safest that you could find in the market. The manufacturers have used their signature T-Prene coating for insulation to keep them flexible enough to survive -94 degree Fahrenheit. Neither motor oil nor rain nor any chemical can damage it. This indicates that you can depend on it to rescue you from the crisis of down auto batteries.
The clamps are undoubtedly the highlight of this nifty equipment. They’re specially designed to clasp around both side-terminal and top-post batteries. Whether it’s dark or bright daylight, you will have no trouble identifying positive and negative poles because they come with colour-coded triple-polarity identification that glimmers in the dark. To make matters more enticing, not to mention safe, the clamps are shielded to prevent short-circuit and accidental contact.
This particular set of cables is 25ft in length. So you will have no trouble at all in bringing them in contact with the down battery of your car after the clamps at the other end have been connected to another vehicle’s battery. I highly doubt that it can get any easier and safer than this to resuscitate a vehicle’s battery.
- Insulated coating to endure warm and cold temperatures.
- Versatile and ergonomic clamps are easy to use.
- Clamps feature colour-coded polarity identification with glowing marks.
- Safe to use.
- 25ft long cables provide hassle-free reach from one battery to another.
- Suitable for light-duty occasional use.
These Coleman booster cables are a good value for money with their dependable 4-gauge construction. Their shielded clamps with glowing and colour-coded polarity labels as well as 25ft length make working with them hassle-free and safe.
4. Klein Tools 85146 6pcs Screwdriver Set: Best Top Rated Tool Kit to Keep in Car
Klein Tools are reputed for making top-notch equipment, and their 6pcs screwdriver set reflects on that point explicitly. We have here a collection of the most frequently used screwdrivers such as a 3/16” Cabinet tip, 1/4” and 5/16” Keystone tips, Phillips tips, and a Magnetizer/Demagnetizer.
The good thing about these items is that even when they’re stacked with other such handy paraphernalia, you will be able to identify the type of screwdriver and its orientation direction due to the distinguishing tip structure of every piece.
Keeping up with their commitment to delivering high-performance tools, these items come integrated with cushioned grip handles to let you exert the right amount of torque for perfect results.
Coming towards durability, the fact that they bear Klein Tools name speaks volumes of their premium construction. However, a repeat is always reassuring. The heat-treated shafts and corrosion-resistant chrome-plating tell the tale of their unmatchable durability and sturdiness.
Last but not the least, the addition of a magnetizer/demagnetizer allows you to quickly magnetize the tip of the driver in use to deftly deal with those pesky little nuts and screws that slip through your clutches.
- Heat-treated shaft and corrosion-resistant chrome-plating add more to the durability.
- Handles have cushioned grips to help you exert accurate torque with comfort.
- Tip-Ident for instant identification of the driver’s type.
- A bit pricey.
- Complaints about magnetizer.
This is the best screwdriver set for keeping in a car or a DIYer’s kit at home. They’re a bit expensive, but the top-notch quality and efficient performance complemented with comfortable use makes them worth every penny.
5. Motion Pro Gauge: Best Digital Tire Pressure Gauge
When it comes to checking the pressure of the tires of a vehicle on your own with unquestionable accuracy, Motion Pro Digital Tire Pressure Gauge is the name we trust the most.
It is so well-built and easy to use that those who have used it once refuse to go back to any other model for the job. It can measure from 0-60 psi along with the ability to show a 1/100th psi precisely. This shows that its accuracy is spot-on.
The good thing is that digital control is backlit, so low visibility will not be an impediment. Add brass ball type air chuck along with a bleed valve to the picture, and you will hardly have any trouble adjusting the pressure of your vehicle’s tire.
What’s even more peachy is that you can program the desired scale (psi/bar/kpa/kg-cm2) for checking the pressure. Also, the unit can save minimum and maximum pressure reading in the memory for further convenience.
It comes with a powerful battery offering 1000 hours of continuous use. But, the best part is its auto shut-off feature that prolongs battery life, allowing it to stay around for quite a long time.
- User-friendly operation.
- Backlit digital display offers easy readability in low lighting.
- Unmatchable accuracy.
- Battery-powered with auto shut-off to extend battery life.
- The Air hose is a bit stiff to maneuver.
- Only reads up to 60psi.
If you’re looking for the best digital pressure gauge for the money with unparalleled accuracy, look no further and go for Motion Pro Digital Tire Pressure Gauge. Its easy operation and the backlit digital display will help you check the current pressure of the wheels quickly.
6. GOODSMANN 3000 Lumen: Best Rechargeable Flashlight
Nowadays smartphones have an emergency flashlight feature, which comes in handy in low visibility. But, when your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, it’s better to have a floodlight to help you properly see what you are up against.
This 3000 Lumen flashlight by Goodsmann is a good option to have on-board at all times to deal with the night time crisis.
Not that we would recommend you to drop it, but even if it falls on the ground or bumps with anything during use, the solid ABS construction with impact-resistance will cushion the fall or hit. On top of that, it has been waterproofed to survive unexpected weathers, not to mention that it will float instead of submerging when accidentally falls in a river or lake.
Coming towards its task of fighting the darkness…well, let’s just say it will illuminate the darkened area as brightly as those fireworks illuminate the night sky on New Year’s night. The unit employs three lighting formats, high mode, light mode and SOS mode to survive various situations. It is battery-powered, which is both a good and a bad thing.
Good because it comes with a USB car charger for quick recharging. Bad, because it is irreplaceable. Bummer!
However, as long as it has juice, it will act as a lifesaver during home use, camping, fishing, hunting, cave exploring etc.
- Top-notch quality.
- Waterproof and floatable design.
- Three lighting modes to effectively deal with various situations.
- Ergonomic hand strip offers a firm grip.
- Suitable for a plethora of applications.
- Irreplaceable battery is a putoff.
- Battery life is low.
- Steep price.
Its steep price will make you reluctant to buy it, but once you assess its rock-solid construction adorned with waterproof and floatable technology, the cost seems worth it. It has multiple lighting modes to help you illuminate a broad area with appropriate intensity to effectively deal with the crisis at hand.
7. Kobalt 105129: Best Multi-Drive Wrench
This multi-drive wrench by Kobalt is great for emergency backup in your car’s trunk. The tool is not that costly yet it gives off a solid feel. Chrome vanadium construction with polished finishing makes it quite sturdy and durable.
This single tool can get you out of a plethora of sticky situations, courtesy of its multi-sided rotating heads. This implies that you should forget about the hassle of rummaging through tools in search of the right socket because this single piece alone can fit 16 different types of SAE and metric sockets.
To make it a more efficient multi-talented tool, the tool is accompanied by a set of 12 commonly used driver bits fixed in a holder. There’s more. As a cherry on top of the sundae, an LED flashlight is also included that slides in the largest socket. It might slip out due to weak magnetic pull, but there’s no denying that the bright light fights the darkness fairly well, enabling you to conveniently work on your car plugs or tricky fasteners especially on a deserted road.
The tool fits comfortably in the palm of one’s hand to allow a user to apply proper torque on bolts and fasteners. However, we came across a few complaints in regards to its poor fit with a 6pt fastener regardless of it being a multi-drive socket wrench. Rest assured its a handy tool to have in your toolbox or car’s glove compartment.
- Well-built, durable.
- The universal-style wrench works with multiple SAE and metric sockets.
- 12pcs driver bits and a flashlight are also included.
- Ergonomic design fits in the palm.
- Good for emergency backup.
- Flashlight slips out of the socket due to weak magnetism.
- Doesn’t work well with 6pt fasteners.
Kobalt Multi-Drive wrench is a reliable tool, especially for emergency backup, due to its rock-solid built and integration of additional accessories. Its compatibility with a wide variety of sockets and fasteners coupled with the ergonomic feel of the tool allows you to effectively deal with the job at hand.
8. NOCO Genius10 Battery Charger: Best Battery Desulfator with Temperature Compensation
We want only the best for your vehicle, and what can beat the thing that promises efficiency and longer battery life. That’s Noco Genius10 10-amp Smart Charger for you. It is the most compact and lightweight unit of its class, but the amount of power and miraculous traits it is housing are phenomenal.
This little guy is like a one-stop-shop, containing a solution for all your problems. Whether you want to resuscitate a dead battery or repair a damaged one, it has got the answers to get the ball rolling. A battery as low as 1-volt or completely dead (down to 0 volts), both can be charged to their full capacity without much effort.
Like a true genius, not only can it detect sulfation and acid stratification, but can also automatically reverse the damage to bring it back to its former glory. More importantly, eliminate overcharging and under-charging from the picture for good because the unit comes with thermal compensation. In layman’s terms, there’s a built-in thermal sensor optimized for climate change to detect temperature. This remarkable engineering feat adjusts the charge to give you precision charging both in hot and cold weather.
To top it all, it is designed for 6-volt and 12-volt lead-acid and Li-ion batteries. Meaning, it can deal with all types of vehicles, cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers and tractors, ATVs, trucks, SUVs, boats, classic cars etc.
- Compact and lightweight.
- The multi-voltage design is compatible with a variety of batteries.
- Capable of charging dead batteries and repairing the damaged ones.
- Thermal compensation technology prevents over- and under-charging.
- Suitable for all kinds of vehicles.
- Manual is hard to comprehend.
- Non-removable cables are a nuisance.
True to its name, NOCO Genius10 is a genius when it comes to reviving dead and damaged batteries. This updated edition has a multi-voltage design and a built-in thermal compensation mechanism that can charge 6-volt and 12-volt batteries to their full capacity with precision.
9. Leatherman Super Tool 300 Multitool: Best Tool Kit to Keep in Car Overall (Our Top Pick)
Leatherman is like a dinosaur, considering the decades for which it has been around in the industry. This 300 multitool has Leatherman’s signature rugged and sturdy construction. But, this tough-as-a-nail built comes at the expense of carry-ability. At 9.6 oz, it is no featherweight to be easily carried on your person. But hey, this tough cookie can handle massive abuse, so no complaints.
Still, it’s a better alternative than bulky toolkits as this unit is housing 19 handy tools in a single body. Screwdrivers, knives, pliers, wire stripper and cutters, a saw, a file, an awl, bottle and can opener and a ruler. This is all its offering.
All the tools are accessible when you open the unit in butterfly style. The pliers with a cutout grip for nuts and bolts are undoubtedly widely used and most admired of all tools. Moreover, the wirecutter blades at the base of the pliers will never disappoint you because they’re replaceable.
The multiple flathead screwdrivers and a Phillip screwdriver allow you to deal with a large number of screws and nuts. What users rave most about this jack of all trades is the safety feature. All tools securely lock within the handle except for the pliers. So you can use an individual tool without harming yourself.
- Rugged and corrosion-resistant construction.
- Easy and safe to use.
- Tough pliers.
- Replaceable wire cutters.
- Easily fits in a pocket.
- A bit expensive.
- Pliers aren’t needle-nosed.
Leatherman Super Tool 300 is one of the best multitools in the industry due to its top-notch rugged build and comfortable usability. All tools can be securely locked in place within the handle to prevent accidental cuts and nicks while working with an individual tool.
10. Ztylus Stinger Car Safety Emergency Escape Tool: Best Budget Tool Kit to Keep in Car
Ztylus Stinger is a little thing that you should always have within reach to rescue yourself from critical situations. There’s no need to use an emergency hammer for smashing windows in the wake of a car accident and further endanger your life.
This little gadget has a spring-loaded glass breaker which requires such a small force that even a kid could use it effortlessly. Simply push the device throughout the entire length of the window to break the glass to get an easy escape.
This small piece of equipment is your ticket to freedom in every sense of the term during frightful car accidents as it also incorporates a razor-sharp blade that will cut your seatbelt in a snap.
Enough with the horrid scenarios. The multifunctioning gadget can be used under normal circumstances too as it has dual USB ports. This means you can use it as a charger to juice up your mobile phone or other gadgets.
The charging feature is completely safe both for you and the device you’re planning to charge with it. Manufacturers have employed a unique circuit design to avoid nightmares like short-circuiting, overheating and over-charging.
- Features a spring-loaded glass breaker and sharp seatbelt cutter to provide easy escape during a car accident.
- Extremely easy to use.
- Built-in dual USB ports for charging devices in a car.
- The charger is certified to protect against short circuit and over-charging.
- Charging is a bit slow.
- Doesn’t fit in some lighter sockets of cars.
Ztylus Stinger is the best emergency escape tool that works exactly as it claims. The multi-functioning tool has an easy-to-use glass breaker and a razor-sharp blade for cutting seat belts to allow you an easy escape when your car flips in an accident.
Buying Guide for Best Tool Kit to Keep in Car
There are several tools that you need to stack in your car to tackle worst-case scenarios. In this buyer’s guide, we are planning to provide you with enough knowledge to make your next shopping expedition for an ideal toolkit for car easy and less confusing.
Whether it is a set of 3-6pcs tools or an elaborate one with over 100 items, the absence of a carrying box will defeat the purpose of easy access to tools in case of emergency. A carrying case ensures that all items are placed in an organized manner in one place to not just keep the pieces from falling out, but also give you immediate access to the required equipment.
The more, the merrier. You need a variety of tools to handle any critical situation to the best of your ability. The best mechanical toolset for a car will be the one having frequently used components like pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches, knives, spanners, wire cutters, flashlight etc. along with emergency escape tools like glass breaker and seatbelt cutter.
Vehicles have a knack for hitting you with deflated tires at the worst possible time even when you get them regularly checked. Hitting the road without a tire inflator is like tempting fate. We reviewed the best inexpensive cordless tire inflator named Tacklife 1X for your convenience. Investing in such an economical yet reliable device will bring the wheel to its former tip-top condition to let you resume your journey in a trice.
Although mobile phones have a flashlight feature, that is not as reliable as you would like it to be because a phone can also bail out on you. It is good to travel fully prepared. Keeping an LED flashlight within the confines of your vehicle is a smart decision. A well-built bright floodlight like Goodsmann 3000 Lumen has some impressive features to let you rescue yourself from some of the worst critical situations during the night time.
These tools are not robots, which means they rely on the dexterity of your hands. No matter how awesome the tool’s quality and built is or how nifty it is, it will fail to give you the intended result if it doesn’t feel comfortable in your hand. The more the tool feels comfy in your hand, the more you will enjoy working with it, not to mention more effectively it will get the task done.
That is why manufacturers employ ergonomic handles with vinyl or padded grips to avoid slipping and skidding. If you don’t want stiff tools that could translate into ruining your work and leave you with chafed and blistered hands, check the ergonomics of the selected tools first.
Finding the best tool kit to keep in a car doesn’t mean buying a professional-grade extensively loaded toolset that set you back financially.
You just need a careful collection of items that could rescue you from an emergency when you are on the road. We have broken down this article into reviews and an elaborate buyer’s guide mentioning some vital repair tools that will prove handy not just during travel but also at home or in a garage. We have picked the best of the best from the lot to make sure you are not disappointed.