Jim’s Blog: The Required Equipment

These days, I’m busy living the life of a new dad — up all night with a partying infant, running to doctor’s appointments, and spending more money than I expect at the baby store on a regular basis. From strollers to car seats, changing pads, diaper bags, bottles, pink room decorations, and more, I’m currently knee-deep in the equipment required to have a baby.

But every few days, I get an hour or so to go into my garage and get grounded with some kind of small project. And in sitting out there, looking around, I’ve realized that the required equipment for my car is way more extensive than what I’ve collected for baby Emma.

Having an old car requires, at the very least, a few special items: first is an inside place to store the car, preferably with good lighting and without big swings in temperature. Second to that is a basic tool kit and some basic tools.

From there, you need some sort of air compressor (I’ve tried living without one and won’t do it again), and you really should have a battery charger, too. Don’t forget a jack and some jack stands (or blocks), and if you ever plan to do any work yourself, you need a workbench with a vice.

Those are just the basics, but even so, in terms of cost, the sums add up really fast. Looking back at it, the support items for my old car probably add up to at least what I’d spend to buy another car. Maybe two.

For me, the most important thing I’ve added in was my tool box. I bought it when I was still wrenching — a Snap-On roll cab — and ended up taking out a loan on my pickup to get it because I was young and broke. But it’s a lifetime tool box — the kind of thing that has more than enough room for all my collected specialty tools and won’t ever wear out. I know right where everything is inside it, and it locks to keep little hands out. It may be a pain to move, but it’s by far the best non-car car item I ever invested in.

What piece of old car support equipment is the most important one to you? Let me know in the comments below.