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Hagerty Employee

6 measuring tools you need in your garage

Measuring tools are the unsung heroes of most toolboxes, despite any jokes you’ve heard about how “real mechanics don’t use those.” However, the fact is that precision matters when doing things the right way and building something that will last. Whether fabricating from raw materials or making adjustments to an already assembled engine, here are six tools just about every home DIY enthusiast should have in their toolbox drawers.


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New Driver

I do a lot of my own work, and wholeheartedly agree with this list.  It could certainly be expanded, but these are the basics.  One thing I take some issue with is the torque wrench as shown.  A torque wrench is a great, and many times necessary tool.  My perspective - not that it's 100% accurate all the time - is that a beam style torque wrench should be more accurate than a "clicker."  It is easy for clicker's to get out of calibration, and the user doesn't know it.


New Driver

I use electronic calipers many times a day (I'm an engineer), but at home not so often. I have a dial caliper at home, because an electronic one always seems dead when I need it at home. 

I also agree with the multimeter, but I finally got a good used Fluke; the cheaper ones kept dying on me. They are great for a quick alternator check- check the battery before starting and it's about 12.8 or so, and start the car and it should jump to 14 or so. If it doesn't, you have a bad alternator. Not a definitive test, but it has always worked for me.


Intermediate Driver

Loved the Kelvin and Hobbs comic strips from years ago.


I seem to need my tire pressure gauge fairly often.

Intermediate Driver

Two increasingly useful tools to have in addition to a multimeter are a high quality OBDII scanner and an oscilloscope. Pretty much every car made after 1996 is going to eventually have failing electronics and these two gizmos, in addition to a multimeter, can help figure out what is working and what isn't.


I really like the Autel AP200 OBDII scanner (~$70) which is just a dongle and a phone app and for an oscilloscope, the Pico series that can be had for less than $200 for a 2 channel unit. The Pico units use a PC as the display so they can be held to a low cost and offer world class performance. An oscilloscope is really just a souped up multimeter.

Pit Crew

Add vac gauge, pressure gauge, thread gauge, micrometers, and high and low temp thermometers. All should be dual purpose metric and English.

The fact of the matter is "You don't know where you are at if you don't know where you are at."


Intermediate Driver

I would like to make a case for the humble sewing flexible measuring tape. These things are great for getting overall length of irregularly shaped things like brake lines or wire runs. Also when you need to position something like a luggage rack and you want it evenly positioned on both sides of the car at distance X from the windshield along a curve the flexible tape measure comes into its own. Worth every penny and you can measure yourself for new pants and a shirt, or do the Navy "rope and choke" body fat measurement as well.

Intermediate Driver

Fluke, there is no substitute.

New Driver

Pretty sure those aren't "vernier" (named after a guy named Vernier) calipers. The Vernier part would be the scales on a non- digital measuring tool which allow for a visible, readable fine scale. Those are digital calipers. Just sayin'

Pit Crew


great for car aggregation!!!