Automotive Education/Info

Do You Need Special Tools For Electric Vehicles?

EV’s Will Soon Make it to Independent Repair Shops

With the rapid ascent of the battery electric vehicle in 2023, it’s likely that independent automotive repair shops will soon start to see Tesla, Rivian, Ford and even GM EV’s start to trickle in over the next few years. What started with Elon Musk and the Tesla brand has rapidly grown into a global agenda to replace the combustion engine with the newer electric vehicle engine. It’s now more pertinent than ever that Indy shops start to gear up and prepare their techs to start working on electric cars and trucks that may require special equipment.

In this post, I want to go over and review some of the newest tools and specialty equipment on the market designed specifically for working on the high-voltage battery electric vehicles now being mass produced all over the world.

It’s my hope that by the end of this post, shop owners and technicians will have a good idea where to start when it comes to finding the right tools for electric vehicles and decide which tools they are going to need going into this automotive revolution taking place at the moment.

What Tools Will I Need to Work on Electric Vehicles?

As you might imagine if you have any sort of electrical background, the most important difference between tools made specifically for EV’s and regular old tools is the insulation from current. Consider that the average passenger EV runs on 400V while some buses and trucks run on as much as 800V. It’s also important to note than many electric passenger vehicles are adopting 800V batteries as well. If you need some basic education on electric vehicle and hybrid batteries, check out this resource on EV electrical system technology. 

With typical light duty applications running a 12 Volt system and most heavy-duty using 24 Volts, it’s easy to see that dealing with 400-800 Volts on electric vehicles will be an adjustment for independent technicians. One of the biggest changes for techs working on EV’s for the first time is the tools they will need to safely get the job done.

Essential Tools When Working on EV’s for the First Time

Education and resources will be the most important tool you have when working on EV’s or hybrid vehicles. These systems are fairly new and they should not be touched unless you have a good understanding of how to do so safely and what clothing materials you will need.

Some of those essential tools you will need to get started repairing electric vehicles include, but are not limited to the following.


If you’re interested, check out- Autel Scan Tools Versus Snap-On- a Review 

EV Insulated Screw Driver Set

It might not sound like an insulated screw driver set is all that important, but with the design of EV’s and working on the battery specifically often requiring the removal of many small fasteners. Of course there will be the suspension, steering, etc. that will require larger tools and insulated sockets in some scenarios but screw drivers are one of the most often overlooked tool that a mechanic can not live without. Period.

Klein 32288 1000v insulated screw driver set in orange and black product is laid out nicely with a white background chowing all 5 options for EV screw drivers
The Klein 32288 is a great insulated screw driver set for working on EV’s produced by Klein- one of the most reputable brands in electronics.


If you don’t have one already, you can buy a nice little set on Amazon that won’t cost as much as your house. In fact, Amazon sells a Klein brand insulated screw driver set for less than $50. In case you aren’t familiar, Klein is one of the most trusted brands in the trades. Electricity is the company’s specialty which means the 32288 set is likely a top-quality set. Snap On’s only alternative as far as I can tell as of now is the IHT60K IHTP and at a price of over $200, I can’t justify it.

High-Voltage DVOM for EV Diagnostics

Its important when a tech starts to work with 800-1000 volt systems that his or her tools are also equipped to handle said voltage. Possibly the most used tool for working on EV’s is going to be a High-Voltage DVOM due to the complex electronics, super high voltage and battery systems on electric vehicles with lithium batteries.

Any attempt to use a traditional DVOM will almost 100% end with a fried tool and possibly a fatal or disastrous electrocution. It’s required that any multimeter for use on electric vehicles be rated CatIII (cat 3) and have special test leads.

Klein tools automotive DVOM et600 125v 250v 500v 1000v insulated voltage meter in orange and black digital with test leads
Klein tools will keep showing up in your search for electrical tools because they are one of the top brands for electrical diagnostics.

With almost everybody predicting that around 40% of all new automobile sales will be fully electric by 2030, it’s not going to be optional soon for repair shops to work on EV’s. The shops and techs that are late to the party on purchasing tools and acquiring training will be the ones left holding the bag.

EV Battery Diagnostic Kit

Buying an EV diagnostic kit is one of the easiest ways to get all the essential tools without having to buy them all individually. As you guys know, when it comes to electrical tools of any kind, Autel is my favorite brand. Luckily for both of us, the company behind ground breaking scan tools and electrical probe testers also makes a full kit with the main purpose of diagnosing and repairing EV’s and the batteries that power them.

The Autel MaxiSys Ultra EV is designed with the diagnostic and repair of battery systems at the forefront. In order for independent auto repair shops to offer service to EV’s that employ rapidly changing tech and dealer-specific features, they will have to invest a bit of money into high end diagnostic tools designed to work on all types of electric vehicles and the battery systems that run them. Going with a tool like the MaxiSys Ultra EV would be a good competitive advantage over the other shops in town.

Just think how much more business an Indy shop with the ability to repair and diagnose EV’s would have over a shop that has not invested in the right tools to safely and effectively work on them. To my knowledge, the Electric Vehicle version of the MaxiSys Ultra is the only computer diagnostic kit with EV capabilities on the market as of right now. That will definitely change as BEV’s gain more and more traction, but for now the Autel is your best option for diagnostics as an independent repair shop. Here are some of the other perks.

  • Battery Reset Capabilities
  • Necessary adapters to perform battery analysis on electric vehicles.
  • Intuitive topology mapping.
  • Intelligent diagnostics and repair assist.

If you already own a MaxiSys Ultra or several other models, you can get the benefit of EV diagnostics at a fraction of the cost by purchasing just the adapter kit to use with an existing Autel scan tool. It’s sold on Amazon right now for under $1,000 so now is the time to scoop it up. With the cost of EV maintenance higher versus the average cost of legacy vehicles, it’s likely the price of the kit will pay itself off very quickly. Here’s a picture of that kit which is compatible with many of Autel’s newer scan tools.

Circuit Diagnostic Tools (Probe Tester, DMM)

Although electric vehicles are using much higher voltage than the traditional 12 Volt system found on most vehicles, electricity is electricity. Because you are dealing with voltage, it’s important for an independent tech to have at the least a DMM but ideally a probe circuit tester like the PS100 from Autel. You can also look into competing probe testers from Snap-On and Power Probe if you aren’t interested in the Autel.

If a probe tester isn’t your thing (which is unfortunate), then you should at least have an electric multi meter to use diagnosing the complex electrical system employed on these new EV’s and hybrid vehicles.

Safety Clothing for Working on EV’s

Battery electric vehicles carry such high current that manufacturers recommend an assortment of safety clothing that is designed with insulation from electricity in mind. Some of the clothing items that the manufacturers suggest are insulated rubber gloves, dielectric boot coverings and insulated body aprons. All of which can be found online if you look for a few minutes. These insulated gloves below for working on EV’s is only $20 on Amazon right now.

Also Read- Does this Screw Driver Set Compare to Snap-On Hard Handle?

Insulated Tools For Working on Electric Vehicles

If you plan to do any kind of work on battery electric vehicles, it’s important to have a set of tools that are insulated to prevent electrocution on the job. It’s also important to first do your research or look into training to learn how to repair EV’s without causing an accident. Once you have done that, you will want to have at the least a basic set of insulated tools to do small and large repairs on a vehicle with such high voltage. Here are a couple good options that I have found that can be bought on a budget.

Titan 68100 3/8 Insulated Socket Set

Ill be honest, Titan tools has not ever been considered a favorite of mine. Usually when it comes to mid-level tools, I recommend Tekton. I don’t have a lot of experience with the company’s tools, but with that being said- when you first start working on EV’s it’s likely to be a here and there scenario. Unless you are starting at an EV dealer like Tesla service, buying a budget set of insulated sockets to work on EV’s will probably be an acceptable investment.

Set of Red Titan 68100 3/8 insulated socket set for working on EV vehicles With a reasonable price of under $200, the Titan 68100 makes a great starter set for mechanics working on electric vehicles.

Sealey AK7947 Insulated Tool Kit for EV’s

When it’s time to start working on EV’s more consistently, you may want to invest in a larger kit of insulated tools like the Sealey AK7945. Along with the basic 3/8” socket set, the Sealey EV tool kit also comes with ADE approved insulated wrenches, pliers, screw drivers and some other small accessories. For a little bit more money that the Titan tool kit, you can buy a tool set designed for working on EV’s that has all of the basic tools you might need.

As you can see if you clicked on the image of this tool kit, it’s less basic than the first mentioned ADE approved insulated tool kit and comes with several other essential tools you might need to fix an EV.

Who Needs Special Tools for EV’s?

If you’re reading this post, it’s likely you have at least some interest in working on electric vehicles or are anticipating that you might be in the near future. If either of those are the case, you are the technician that needs special tools for working on EV’s. Unfortunately, when it comes to cars that are running on 800 volts, it is no longer enough to just hope that you will stay safe. Working on these highly electrified vehicles means that safety must be the number one priority and using the right tools designed for the job combined with training and research is the single best way to prevent accidents related to EV repairs.

By John Green

I’m John Green. I’m a 33 year old auto technician from Upstate New York. I have 18 years of experience as an automotive light duty and heavy duty truck mechanic. Cars, trucks and anything with moving parts are my passion in my professional life.

Aside from my life as a technician, I am also a seasoned investor and consider myself very financially literate. I use this other passion combined with my passion for cars, trucks and tools to look for ways to save money for my technician friends.

Raising my three girls and teaching them the proper way of life is my personal passion in life. If you want to know more, just ask! I’m on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as well!