Whether you’re a skilled mechanic who has his own auto shop or you’re looking to establish one, there are certain automotive pieces of equipment that you shouldn’t lack in your arsenal.
The same case applies to those of you who are motor vehicle enthusiasts and hobbyists… there are some tools and equipment you should consider investing in and putting in your garage to make your work easier, faster, safer, and more fun. In other words, for you to get a seamless motor vehicle maintenance and repair experience, it will take more than just your mechanical skills and creativity.
This having been said, there’s a wide range of automotive tools and understanding what you want and distinguishing them from what you need will make a huge difference. After all, it will cost you millions and millions of money to purchase everything that a garage could ever need. With careful consideration of the basics and the kind of equipment you really need in your garage or auto shop, you won’t have to spend an arm and a leg to pursue your career or enjoy your passion.
Here are some pointers on automotive equipment you NEED, as well as a few that you will obviously WANT to own in your garage or service bay as time goes by.
1. Jacks and Jack Stands
One of the most important tools in any auto garage or repair shop is the jack. This is because even the smallest of repair and maintenance tasks such as changing a flat tire will need this incredible piece of equipment.
The floor jack, for instance, allows you to temporarily raise your vehicle so that it becomes easy to access important parts of the car from underneath it. Also, a pole jack will come in handy when you need to support certain components of a raised vehicle, like axles, for instance. You will also need to have some sturdy jack stands, whose basic function will be to support the vehicle while elevated. If you’ll be performing such tasks regularly in your garage or repair shop, failing to have these handy tools can be a big mistake.
2. Vehicle Lifts
Some mechanic tasks require you to elevate the vehicle to heights that an ordinary jack may not be able to hack. As a matter of fact, especially when the jack you’re using is faulty, getting under the vehicle while it is raised could be a huge safety risk. If you guessed right, this is where vehicle lifts come in handy.
According to this guide from auto equipment experts, there’s a wide range of auto lifts that you can choose from based on your needs, vehicle weight, power requirement, safety features, accessories, auto-lift capacity, and construction. As for construction, the two most common types of vehicle lifts are 2-post and 4-post auto lifts, which are briefly described below.
Two Post Auto Lifts
As you can tell from the name, 2-post lifts are constructed to feature to sturdy posts along with strong stabilization arms for extra support. They are also the most commonly used auto garage lifts on the market. Especially if you’re a mechanic who is just getting into the auto repair industry, these lifts can be a more economical option for you. They are also space-saving and will leave only a small footprint in your repair shop or garage. However, the small downside is that they may not be able to lift those extremely heavy cars. Common options of two-post lifts include symmetrical, asymmetrical, and very symmetrical variants. In addition to these, other types of 2-post lifts include overhead lifts (the equalization cables and hydraulic hose run through the top side) and floorplate lifts (have equalization cables at the bottom).
Four Post Auto Lifts
If you’ll be dealing mostly with heavy cars, a 4-post lift will be ideal for you. Compared to their 2-post counterparts, four post auto lifts often have a higher lifting capacity, and if you guessed right, this is mainly because they have two extra posts, which provide additional support. They are also known to be user-friendly and in addition to being utilized in many professional vehicle repair shops. They’re also common among car hobbyists and high-end home garages. They often don’t require floor anchors to use. Another advantage 4-post lifts have over 2-post lifts is that they require less voltage to operate and are available in a wider variety in terms of weight capacities and accessories. However, the slight downside is that they happen to be costlier and may consume more space depending on the specific type.
Since vehicle lifts are one of the most important investments when starting an auto repair shop, you will want to be keen on the equipment’s quality before purchasing one.
1. Engine Hoist
Some vehicle repair and maintenance tasks require you to remove the engine, either to rebuild it, repair it, or replace it. For this, you will want to have a powerful engine hoist to make the lifting and transfer easier.
The trick is to invest in one with the capacity to lift the heaviest engine you might encounter in your garage or repair shop. You may not critically need a hoist in your home garage, unless you’re a professional mechanic or a die-hard automotive hobbyist. All the same, still, there’s nothing wrong with owning one now or in the near future, considering the many benefits that vehicle hoists have.
2. Brake Lathe
Brakes are one of the most vulnerable parts of a motor vehicle to develop problems. Especially if you’re running an auto repair shop, higher chances are that you will be encountering brake service jobs from time to time. For resurfacing of brake rotors and drums, lacking a brake lathe in your shop can cost you a lot of profits and business.
This piece of equipment may seem initially costly but it will be worth your while with time, considering how fast they pay themselves back. All the same, it may not be worth having for your home garage unless, of course, you’re a trained mechanic or you own a huge fleet of cars and you’ve got some skills on brake repair.
To be able to perform certain tasks and keep certain tools in good order, you will need the right kind of compressor. An air compressor, for instance, will enable you to operate on tools such as some auto lifts and pneumatic hand tools. Also, a strut compressor will come in handy for tasks such as suspension system replacement. But if you guessed right, this shouldn’t be on your list of must-haves.
4. Battery Charger and Jumper
Dead batteries and charging issues are common problems with cars. When a client approaches your repair shop with such problems, you will need to have a quality battery charger as well as a battery jumper to be able to sort them out. As time goes by and you add some more rides to your fleet, owning these tools will be an added advantage.
In summary, auto garage tasks can be quite tedious and troublesome if not impossible without the right tools and equipment. However, the above are just some of the equipment you will want to carefully consider owning in your vehicle repair kit for easy, convenient, safe, and efficient operation. Of course, these include some that you can do without in your garage, but owning them won’t hurt if it’s okay with your pockets!