Tools for Small-Engine Care

You don’t need a full set of mechanic’s tools to care for small engines. The tools listed here will do. They are not expensive, and if you do general work around the house and on appliances, the car, and small gas engines, you should own most of them.

  • Slot-head screwdrivers: You should have small, medium, and large sizes.
  • Phillips screwdrivers: Again, you need small, medium, and large sizes.
  • Adjustable wrench: The medium size (8 inches long) is good for a wide variety of work.
  • End wrenches: A set of these wrenches, with both open and closed ends, is vital for reaching into tight spots and is generally useful for many jobs.
  • Hammer: A 16-ounce, curved-claw hammer is best for general house and shop use.
  • Needle-nose pliers: These slim pliers allow you to work in tight places. Most have a wire-cutting edge near the pivot point.
  • Slip-joint pliers: These are useful for gripping hard-to-hold parts on an engine, and they adjust to two different sizes. However, do not substitute them for wrenches on nuts and bolts, which are easy to damage.
  • Socket wrench with sockets: This item costs a little more than a single tool, but it is well worth the price. The sockets slip over hard-to-reach nuts and give the socket wrench more gripping and turning power than an adjustable wrench.
  • Locking pliers: These are a cross between pliers and a wrench. They can grab and hold a nut that is otherwise impossible to turn. As with the slip-joint pliers, the locking pliers may damage the nut, but at least you’ll be able to get it off and replace it.
  • Spark plug gauge: see Tuning Gasoline Engines.
  • Funnel: see Caring for Power Equipment.
  • Flywheel holder: see Adjusting Breaker Points.