What Are The Best First Tools For Off-Road Drivers?

August 24, 2022

Best First Tools To Buy For Beginner Off-Roaders

Naturally, there are thousands of tools available for you if you're just getting started in the off-roading game, and some of the more experienced veterans among us already do. But some of us are just getting started with wrenching a newly acquired 4x4, and we're contemplating which tools to get next. That way, we can perform basic maintenance or fix something minor without having to spend an ungodly amount of money at the shop, right?

Well, we want to help you out - check out our full list of the best, must-have first tools if you're just starting out, and you'll be good to go when you hit the trails.

2022 Ford Bronco with Method MR704 wheels

High-Quality Jacks and Jack Stands

A few of the basic essentials that are gonna be must-haves will start with being able to get your rig off the ground and keep it there. This is obviously a crucial safety aspect, so spending the extra coin to get a high-quality floor jack and jack stand is worth the trade-off in worrying whether or not your vehicle is gonna fall on you or not.

But even with the best-quality jack and floor jacks in the world, not knowing how to properly use them can be just as dangerous as using the cheapest-quality crap out there. Also, the bigger the suspension lift or tires or the combination of both you have, the taller the floor jack and stands need to be. So it's also important to take that into consideration.

We'd recommend having a minimum of two jack stands, but even having four to six would be a great option for when you want to get your entire rig off the ground. All in all, with a decent quality jack stand, wheel chock and floor jack, you're looking at $100 bucks or so.

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Socket Sets

Next, and something that might be the most used item on this list, is a good socket set. There are a bunch of varieties out there ranging in price and size, but this is another item that is definitely worth spending a little extra to get a more extensive and inclusive kit.

You'll at least want something that has half-inch drive sockets for the bigger stuff, plus a three-eighths-inch drive socket for the smaller stuff, and both standard and metric sizes depending on the rig you're working with. These all-in-one inclusive socket kits are a great place to get started, as they'll have a large majority of the hand tools you need to take almost anything apart and put it together again. Plus, most of them are portable and easy to keep in your vehicle, so you can take them with you wherever you're going.

2021 Jeep Wrangler with ARKON OFF-ROAD Crown Series Triumph Wheels

Bench Vice Set

Sometimes - a lot of times, actually - we need an extra hand to hold things for us while we're trying to fix it or work on it, and a bench vice acts as a great extra hand in the garage. A $50 bench vice will save you a lot of frustrations from trying to keep something from moving around when you're trying to work on it.

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Measuring Tools

The rule of "measure twice, cut once" couldn't be any more true, but if you don't have a way to measure, well, then we wouldn't suggest doing any cutting at all. So, make sure to grab a tape measure. Along with the tape measure, another handy measuring tool to keep in your garage is a basic stainless-steel micrometer. It doesn't have to be digital or anything fancy, but it'll help with measuring any sort of those more precise measurements that you may need.

Speaking of precision measuring, knowing what foot-pounds you're torquing your bolts down to can also save you a lot of headaches. Having a torque wrench can mean the difference between spending a few seconds tightening down a bolt or a few hours trying to drill it up because you over torqued it and broke the head. A torque wrench doesn't just save you time, but it can save you from spending a lot of extra money that you weren't planning on.

2021 Jeep Gladiator Sport with Dick Cepek DC-2 wheels

Electrical Tools

With building, wrenching and repairing comes diagnosing. And for a lot of things, we can usually see, hear or even feel what the issue might be. But as for the electrical issues, most times we're gonna need a way to read voltage. That is a tool called the multimeter, and it's one of the best ways for reading and diagnosing electrical issues - it'll give you voltage in both DC and AC, and will also give you an ohm reading or resistance to help with finding backgrounds or wiring LED lights without built-in resistors.

Also, any electrical wiring installs or repairs will necessitate some wire strippers, a crimping tool, and electrical connectors - these'll help you get the job done much quicker and easier, and although you could get by without having these, it's not worth the hassle or potential fire risk from poor wiring by not having them.

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Other Tools You'll Need For Off-Roading Work

So that's the big stuff covered, but there are a few other odds and ends that'll make your job a whole lot easier when you're working on your off-roader, and we'll start with what we call a BFH. The first word in that is "big" and the last is "hammer" - you can figure out the rest. A mini sledgehammer can be used to persuade just about anything to go where it needs to go. We like to use a three pound hammer, not always for brunt force though, because a lot of times the extra weight of the hammer will provide a little extra control or stability from wanting to rebound as much when it's hammer on metal contact.

Another must-have tool for the garage, and handy to have in so many different projects, is a cordless drill. It doesn't necessarily have to be cordless, but they're much easier to deal with and much less obnoxious than a corded one. Plus, you can bring a cordless drill in your vehicle when you hit the trails - but even a drill with a cord is better than no drill at all.

And of course, unless you're always working in a well-lit area, having a way to see what you're working on is another must, and a great way to do that is by having an LED headlight or an LED magnetic light, or just any kind of bright battery-operated light. Rechargeable battery-operated LED lights are great to have because they're another useful tool that you can bring with you in your vehicle and out to the trails.

Shop Aftermarket Off-Roading Tools at TrailBuilt Off-Road

So that's about it, and we hope that you'll be able to get all the stuff we mentioned so you can get that added peace of mind the next time you head off the beaten path. Check out our parts and accessories store at TrailBuilt and grab everything you need to be prepared for the ride ahead - we'll see you out on the trails!

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