There are many different tools that professional car electronic installers use in the car. We recommend specific tools, because they perform a task and it will prevent damage to your car. The most important tool usually is some short of hook tool, to tuck wires and to pull wires in hard to reach places.
Taking apart the dash is in most steps of working in a car. You need SOFT plastic tools which will not mar your dash. There are name brand ones, and generic types. The more expensive type ones will be made of better plastic and materials. You do not want to ruin your car with a nick or scar to any panels.
Sometimes you need to take apart the radio. There are very specific tools to do this. Look for the openings on the radio, to see if your radio needs these tools.
VW, AUDI, Mercedes and some European cars
Pontiac GTO Tools
To Run wires, you can use a grasper tool
The sizes of bolts and screws in cars are usually standard size. Most are 10mm in Non Domestic cars and even in some domestic cars. GM vehicles are usually 7mm. Ford is usually 8mm. They use 13mm for larger bolts and sizes in between. We recommend that you get a nutholder which is magnetic so the bolts do not drop into the dash.
If you are doing anything with electronics in the car, you will need to connect wires together. The simplest way to do this is to strip two wires back, and then connect them together with a connector and then crimp down on the connector. It will insulate it and also make the connection. To give an example, to wire a radio, there are at least 4 speakers. A positive and negative for each speaker, thats 8 wires just for speakers, plus power, ground, lights. Thats at least 10 connections just to wire a radio. Be sure to buy enough product for your installation so you will not get stuck.
You will need a wire stripper and a crimping tool:
In addition to the crimpers, you will need the connectors. Usually called butt connectors.
It is very important to remember, in the car — all wires are STRANDED. In the home, all wires are usually solid core. There is a difference, and you should use what is made for the car.
When you are finished with the crimping or any connection, you should seal it with good electrical tape. Better electrical tape will be thicker and will hold better in hot temperatures. We recommend 3M tape, 1700 or 33+ for the best installs.
For some alarm installations (remote starts) or for installation involving very thin wires, it is advisable to solder the wires. You should use a portable soldering iron (with the heat away from any sensitive equipment), so you can work in the car, good solder and then seal it with good electrical tape. There are name brand butane soldering irons, some recommended below
And you should use name brand solder
Instead of electrical tape, if you want a super good insulated finish, you can use heatshrink. You will need to buy heatshrink in the right size since they come in different diameters. Like tape, 3M is our recommended go to for Heatshrink.
If you are doing any type of testing in the car, you should do it with a digital multi meter. Do not use a test light. Most newer cars are highly sensitive and if you use a regular test light, even an LED one, it will back feed and damage circuits. There are many DMM digital multi meters. You will need one that is good for the car, DC usually– and functions that work for a car instead of buying DMMs which are designed for other purposes-such as HVAC, home installs, etc
Fluke is one of the best brands on the market at the moment.
A lot of screws in European cars, and even in some domestic cars are in TORX. You need to pick up a set of TORX bits, to make sure you are able to remove a screw .. and not get stuck.
Some cars such as Porsche, and other vehicles will have a HEX bolt on the radio location. You need a good set of right angle HEX or HEX bits
If you are working in tight spaces, need to screw in something in a glove for example or underneath the dash, you will need a right angle bit holder for your drill
You should get a magnetic bit holder for your bits, so anything you remove will not fall and disappear into the dash when the screw is removed. If you have an impact drill, make sure you get an impact holder.
More installation tools