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Torque Specs, Capacities, Intervals, etc

1996-00 Honda Civic

Helm Inc, Civic Shop Manual, Part No. 62S0324, Honda Motor Co., LTD. Service Publication Office, 1999, pp. 1848

Recommended Tools

These are tools that I can't live without that may be overlooked by the average enthusiast. Clicking on these tools helps support Cause For Alarm and doesn't increase the cost to you (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases). For the few that aren't the exact brand I own, I've made a recommendation after carefully weighing cost against reliable reviews, using what I know to be important in that particular tool. I am not sponsored.


3/8" Cordless Impact

This thing is rarely leaves my hand, it might as well replace an arm. Using a 20 volt, brushless, 3/8" impact compared to ratcheting on stuff is a whole other ballgame. It makes this hobby so much more fun. And it will blow your mind what this relatively small, lightweight, battery powered impact can do. Great for when you're at the junkyard and the parts that normally stabilize your part are gone, and you need to apply lots of torque to something flopping in the air. Removing the steering wheel on a loose column comes to mind. Cracking lug nuts off when the wheels are in the air. Any suspension bolt is cake. I will often try it first on axle nuts and crank pulley bolts, because it so often impresses me. And if those are too stubborn, then I grab the 1/2" version.

Using an impact pretty much eliminates stripping bolts. You save yourself so much heartache on suspension and exhaust bolts. Not to mention busting your knuckles open pushing on a ratchet when it suddenly gives way. It's a huge time saver over the course of a big project. You'll save hours on an engine or suspension swap, and you wont be all beat up and worn out afterward.

For years I ratcheted on things and thought I enjoyed it. I would sometimes switch to an electric drill with a socket adapter to zip bolts off after breaking them loose. I broke ratchets routinely 2-3 times per year. My hands were always cut and sometimes bruised. I had a pneumatic impact, but it was inconvenient to drag the compressor out and then irritating to listen to and wait for it to pressure up, only to drone on again after only a couple uses. Being attached to a hose SUCKS. I didn't use it in the evening hours out of consideration for the neighbors. It disappointed me often. The air equipment you're likely to have at home often isn't strong enough and you end up resorting to a breaker bar.

If you do your own maintenance, get this. If you're looking for a gift idea for a weekend mechanic, this is it. I regret not getting it sooner and thinking it wasn't a justified purchase. But for how often I use it, how much I enjoy it, and all the benefits to it, it's well worth it.

This is the entire kit if you don't already have any DeWalt 20v tools.

So just to be clear: get yourself the 3/8" Impact TODAY. Get the 1/2" on your next birthday.

1/2" Cordless Impact

This is the 1/2" Impact. It's too bulky to use on everything, but this is your lifesaver when bolts are stuck. This will zip off crank pulley bolts without much fuss and no need for a crank holder tool. It will zip off axle nuts without having to unstake them. Get one before you do an engine swap or any major suspension project.

The 1/2" Impact kit comes with a larger capacity battery than what comes in the 3/8" impact kit, but the smaller battery can be used interchangeably. The chargers are different. Battery size affects how long you can use the tool before charging, but the power output of the tool is the same either way. The 1/2" balances better in your hand with the bigger battery. So getting the 3/8" and 1/2" Impact kits is preferred. For max cost savings, you could get the 1/2" impact kit and the 3/8" bare tool. When you go to get the drill, reciprocating saw, jig saw, you can get them as bare tools.

The light kits are handy to be able to throw a battery on and get light, but they're not particularly wonderful to use. If you got money and can get a good deal on the accessory kit (as I did), then go for it. Otherwise there are better options for light.

Torque Wrench

This is a cheap but excellent quality 3/8" torque wrench. It goes from 10-80 ft/lbs which covers just about everything. For anything with a spec calling for over 80 ft/lbs (and isn't internal to the engine), I trust the 1/2" impact.

You should absolutely be using a torque wrench on lug nuts, brake jobs, valve cover bolts, and spark plugs. I used one on everything in my early years of this hobby and I consider it training. I still use it frequently on sensitive, critical and recommended things.

It's metal for durability, easy to clean, easy to use. And it's accurate compared to other torque wrenches I've tested it against.

Mini Sledge

It will surprise you how often you need this simple tool, and how many times it gets you out of a jam. Besides pairing it with a cold chisel, you can also use it like a manual impact with 2-3 sharp hits on a ratchet handle (for when the head of an impact gun wont fit). You also use it (WITH SAFETY GLASSES) to knock loose brake drums (make sure you released the parking brake) or even carefully tapping off stuck wheels or brake discs.

Cold Chisel

Essential tool for easily separating lower ball joints and inboard axle joints. My son struggled for hours on each of these applications. With the chisel he gets through it instantaneously and without causing damage.

Safety Glasses

This is not the point where I harp on you about safety. This is where I remind you that it sucks any time you go under the car and you get dust or some liquid dripping in your eye. Your gloves are greasy, so you end up rolling around under there like a fish on land. And I have this story about getting a rust flake drilled out of my eye. Yes, the doctor used a drill bit in my eye. Yes, I got the rest of my work day off.

I used to use whatever glasses were readily available. Then I visited a mine for several days for a job, and they handed out these 3Ms like kittens. They're exactly what safety glasses should be. Hundreds of burly outdoor miners give their seal of approval.

Lifting Jack

I've gone through many jacks, from vintage heavy steel floor jacks to lightweight, low profile, aluminum, cheapy HF jacks. This is my all time favorite, and it's cheap!

It's part steel, part aluminum. Relatively lightweight and not too bad for lugging short distances. Low enough profile for my use, and lifts high enough as well. Pretty quick to pump up without too much effort. It's perfectly sized for Japanese cars. Lifts my CRV high enough if you know where the jack points are, but if your only vehicles are CRVs or trucks, look into getting the higher lifting version.

Don't get the Pittsburg that Amazon recommends. It's a HF brand I had years ago, and it failed on me.

Pancake Air Compressor

The size of the air compressor tank doesn't affect the power it generates. The pressure is the power, the size is the capacity, or how long you can use it. If you are concerned about power and capacity, you need a true industrial compressor. Don't make the mistake and lug around a big electric compressor like I once did. I couldn't paint with and that wasn't powerful enough to make an impact gun useful.

Deciding to trade in my bulky air compressor for something convenient and practical was a no-brainer. Sweating over mixed reviews of a few dozen brands caused weeks of procrastination. I finally pulled the trigger on this one and I couldn't be happier.

The sound is relatively muffled. MUCH more tolerable than the big Craftsman I had for the longest time. The capacity is obviously much less, but it's fine for the jobs I use it for. Inflating tires, dusting out electronics and consoles, occassionally using an air hammer or die grinder. Everyone needs one, get it!

T Handle Bit Driver

A cheap yet essential tool. You need this so you don't strip disc brake retaining screws, MAP sensor screws, glove box mount screws. The shape of it allows you to apply downward pressure. I have a HF brand with the extension seized inside. After looking through the Amazon offerings and their reviews, this is the one I recommend.

Bit Driver Set

You also need a bit driver set. It should contain a wide range of Torx bits, preferably the security type. It obviously needs P0-2. I never use PZ or Hex and would rather they weren't in the set. 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm nut drivers would be nice.

I like my bit driver set but could not find anything comparable or even recommendable on Amazon, sorry.

Angle Driver

A genius tool. Can be awkward to use, but you'll love life when you need it and you have it. It's for the times when you can't get a screwdriver in front of a screw.

Electric Screwdriver

You can't be taken seriously as a Car Audio Tech without a small, torquey electric screwdriver. A lovely tool for stripping out interior for stealth alarm installs and also has many uses around the house. It pairs nicely with the same bit drivers you'll be using with the T Handle tool. My wife loved using it. I loved my wife. This is the past tense. Moving on...

I have an old Snap On and a Metabo kit, but today you have better and much more affordable options. This is the one to get.

3/8" Ratchet

You already have a ratchet, but you can get this one after you break it. It's fine tooth and nice overall. I'm happy with Tekton brand sockets etc.

10mm Flare Nut Wrench

It's at your peril if you don't get one of these for Honda brake lines. The wrench looks flimsy, but I like that it has 8mm and 10mm for bleeder screws. On the Crow's Foot, you insert the ratchet into the square, giving you more angles to work with removing the proportioning valve up against the firewall. These are some options - I honestly have a Craftsman and my son has an overpriced one he had to get from AutoZone in desperation. It's weak steel but it works.

10mm / 12mm Double Offset Box Wrench

A tool dear to my heart for the pain and suffering it has saved me. The length of it also provides good leverage for torque. I have a Craftsman and love it. The Craftsman brand is dirt, but acceptable for wrenches, ratchets and sockets. I was unsure about the no-name brands available on Amazon and don't want to risk recommending one without having tried it.

Ratcheting Wrenches

My brother got me a metric Gear Wrench set and I've been abusing them for decades. It's time for a new set but I'm not yet satisfied there isn't a cheaper option.

Rotary Tool

There are so many times I need to grind or cut a plastic or metal part to make something custom or make a repair, that I would put this on the list of tools you should plan to get. It's not used frequently, but it's an absolute life saver to have when you're in a bind.

I've had my Dremel for over a decade, but the lowest speed died on it almost immediately. It's been reliable besides that, but for the cost, I looked for what I would take a chance on if I had to replace it.


Spend an hour getting comfortable with testing 12v DC and continuity. Open up an entire specialty of possibilities. Become the envy of all your friends.

Solder Gun

Get it, get comfortable using it. Stop treating wiring like black magic. It's cake.


I swear by the Channel Lock 909s that I've used for two decades, but I posted a promising-looking cheaper alternative as well.

Crimping non-insulated butt connectors with heat shrink is preferred in some instances. Especially 10awg or thicker. It's bulkier, but arguably superior to soldering. You need crimpers for ring terminals, and these are good for cutting 16~10awg wire.

The flat side of the butt connector is inserted up against the protrusion on the crimpers, with the seam opposite of it. After crimping, turn the butt connector on it's side and crush it in the crimpers again to close the indentation together like you see on OEM crimps. Then heat shrink it and forget it.

Heat Gun

Switch to using heat shrink because insulated butt connectors are bulky, amateurish junk. Also for applying double-sided tape and removing tint.

Side Cutters

Pricey but justified. Knipex is the best. Essential for serious wiring work. You could get away with just the Crimpers and Wire Strippers if you're never planning to touch wires again. For a single alarm install I urge you to get a cheap set of Side Cutters at a bare minimum, but I wont recommend a crap product here.

Wire Insulation Strippers

These are nice to have and any cheap set will do, but you should practice using side cutters to strip wire insulation also.

Panel Poppers

Essential for removing interior pieces. Stop scarring and breaking your plastic.

Tools specific to Car Alarm Installation can be found on the Bench Prep page
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