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What's your minimalist toolkit kept in the car?


Fanking Champion 1993
Jan 8, 2015
College Station, TX
I rounded a corner tonight and when I got back on the gas the rear end kicked out to the left. I pulled over asap and found the trailing arm pivot bolt on the passenger side barely in the hole. The nut was long gone.

I usually carry my work tools in my trunk, but today I left them at work. So I was without tools. There was no amount of wiggling I could do to get the bolt back in place. I called my wife and she brought me a few things. When I had a decent pry bar it was pretty simple to get the bolt back in, then I snapped a vice grip on the nut side to hold it in place and drove the 20 miles home.

It got me to thinking. What tools do you carry all the time in your 240?
I carry my top 3 tool bags with my everywhere I go, but I also only go places I plan on bringing tools (and only drive terrible cars everywhere).

If I was to list off a most efficient setup I would think:
Screwdriver handle bit driver
Complete bit set
3/8 to 1/4 adapter
1/4 1/4 magnetic bit socket
3/8 long handled swivel head ratchet
8mm-24mm 3/8 socket set
several 3/8 extensions
Mid sized pry bar (just the right size for a HF bag)
2lb ewing hammer you find on the side of the road
Klein wire crimpers/cutters/strippers you also find on the road
Long needle nose pliers
Best set of channel locks you can justify buying
Needle nose vise grips (yeah that's right I like them Jack)
Normal vise grips
2x hose clampers (for those heater core emergencies)
Milwaukee fastback
Adjustable nut rounder
2x Long jumper wires
Multimeter (I bring the powerprobe but for some reason not everyone has one)
A nice pair of gloves

If you have the space and $$ than add:
Milwaukee 2767
1/2 to 3/8 adapter
1/2 extendable ratchet
Can of breakclean
Can of your favorite penitrating fluid
Aviation gasket sealant
HF aluminum racing jack
8mm-19mm stubby wrench set
Deep 8mm-24mm 3/8 sockets
8mm-19mm crows foot set ( in place of wrenches )
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I have a broken leatherman-knockoff multi tool, some screwdrivers and stuff, and zipties. Any more than that is just too much weight. And it was enough to fix my snapped throttle cable on the side of the highway last year.

I don't keep any tools in the Saab because it's not a Volvo.
This is pretty much it:

Always carry a leather man. I also have a set of 3/8 sae sockets and a ratchet from harbor freight along with an adjustable wrench and one of those cheap 4 in one screwdrivers that harbor freight gives you every time you walk into the store. I have a pair of random pliers too but I hope to get my hands on some parallel jaw pliers too. the butt end of the screwdriver and side of the ratchet are both sufficient hammers. This may not count as tools but I carry an extra set of points and either a guitar pick or some feeler gauges. I am currently living risky but I usually carry an extra fuel filter. Every time I’ve broken down it’s been a fuel filter except the one time the wire from the ignition coil to the rotor popped off. Good old 140. Roadside repairs seem frequent but usually optional and easy to fix.
This is pretty much it:


Perfect for removing spark plugs.....

These are the pliers I’m speaking of and they’re really really good. Imo they beat an adjustable wrench for most small and medium size bolts. Plus the added wire cutters.
i used to have a 5 gallon bucket filled with miscellaneous tools (all of them) kept in the trunk but now i've trimmed it down/consolidated.

kept on me almost at all times in laptop bag:
mini bit and socket set
A disposable pair of side cutters
end-type wire stripper
5" pliers wrench
electrical tape

kept in the trunk:
3/8" ratchet/socketset
1/2 breaker bar with lug sized socket
air pump
10" pliers wrench
torx allen key set
PH2 and flat blade screwdriver
multiple fluid film cans
various quick epoxies
old milk jug (to store catch can goo)
roll or two of paper towels and microfiber

I barely use any of the tools in-field for car related stuff anymore tbh.
I used to keep my entire modest tool set (minus the expensive Milwaukee impact) in the back of the car.

1. Socket set Stanley 96-011. The blow molded case was really high quality (at least for my 2015 one) and fits perfectly in the 3rd row seat compartment, which locks and is hidden from view.
2. Harbor Freight breaker bar, fits across the compartment horizontally. Was my "lug wrench" so usually lives with the appropriate size socket and a short 1/2" extension on it.
3. Old leather briefcase from Goodwill. This is the "every other tool" container and also fits nicely in the 3rd row compartment next to the socket set. Socket extensions/adapters, screwdrivers, pliers/Vice Grips, oil filter wrench, hammer, wire crimper/cutter, etc etc etc.
4. Box of electrical crimps, fuses, and multimeter. Bouncing around in 3rd row compartment.
5. Home Depot plastic tote (one of the cheapo black and yellow ones) sitting in the back to hold bottle jack, 2 jackstands, any random aerosol cans of penetrant, contact cleaner, WD-40, etc - also usually held a bottle of whatever fluid I was leaking that month and a box of any random spare parts I'd generated. Strapped down to the cargo tie-downs so it doesn't slide around.
6. Torque wrench wasn't always in the car, but it fit in its case nicely between the briefcase and socket set in the locked 3rd row compartment.

Unfortunately the XC70 doesn't have nearly as much room under the cargo floor so now all of this crap is filling up my apartment instead. :lol: I don't have to repair it nearly as often, but I miss being able to pull up next to stranded motorists on the road and unpack the whole shop to help them out.
When travelling out of the local area I always pack a dedicated box with typical hand tools, and also bring:

a small floor jack (my 244 Turbo is lowered; I got a flat years ago and the funky jack that came with the car would not fit / was unable to be used);


Portable jump starter /12V power box

test light

fuel pump relay

Memo: be sure to check your spare fuel pump relay; I forgot to do that and one day my 740 Turbo broke down, I tried the spare and it did not work. I had a 100 mile tow bill to my house, and discovered that yeah, the issue was two bad FPR's, i.e. the one in the car AND the spare were bad.

Lesson learned.
Memo: be sure to check your spare fuel pump relay; I forgot to do that and one day my 740 Turbo broke down, I tried the spare and it did not work. I had a 100 mile tow bill to my house, and discovered that yeah, the issue was two bad FPR's, i.e. the one in the car AND the spare were bad.

Lesson learned.
Or at least bring wire so you can hotwire past the dead relay!
somehow not mentioned anywhere - pen light (beats a phone flashlight by a mile (since you can see around it well). Always a janky knife in case you need to cut underbody gunk off a bolt head before a socket will fit.

A set of picks (like dentist tool looking stuff, not lockpicks). Handy for prying that list bit of whatever up enough to get it off or over something.