When Should Your Shop Buy Equipment? We recommend buying your equipment before you start operating, instead of waiting until you need them. Buying these things in advance can save you a lot of money as you are more patient and level-headed.
When you need something quick, and you are stressed with running the rest of your business, you’ll be missing out on any deals and may even impulsively buy something that isn’t high quality.
We also recommend you stay away from leasing your tools. Leasing gets people into sketchy territory if not careful, and leads to people losing tools they need if they miss a payment. When operating a new business, you should be able to buy the tools you need with your start-up investment.
Now, What Equipment Should You Buy?
This is a list of things every shop that has an auto repair service center needs:
SCANNERS – THERE ARE MANY MODERN CARS INTEGRATING COMPUTERS INTO VEHICLE SCANNERS TO HELP IDENTIFY THE ISSUES. MAKE SURE THEY CAN DO OBD TO OBD1, AND OBD2 COMPUTERS.
A/C machine – Service A/C on customer cars with an A/C machine. It makes it a lot easier when you need to recharge systems properly.
Air compressor – Make sure you buy quality air compressors. A 60-gallon compressor will do. Buy a good one like Champion brand. Quincy and IR industrial models are also decent options for shops. These power your garage and your shop tools, so ensure you get a quality one. This should be the first thing you buy.
Jacks & Jack Stands – Buy North American. Jacks should last a long time and when you buy knock-offs or brands from China it’s much harder to get replacement parts or they can break down quickly. Blackhawks and Walker branded jacks are highly recommended as they last a long, long time. Ensure you also have more than one set of jacks. You’ll be servicing vehicles of all sizes, so you want to make sure you have the jack that can boost all customer vehicles. A trans jack is also a must – especially if you have a hoist. Shops use it a lot, and not just for transmissions. You can use a trans jack anytime you need to lift something heavy up and into the underside of a car. Pole Jacks are also quite useful. You can hold up axles and anything else you may need while working.
Oxygen & Acetylene Torch – Living in areas with a lot of moisture, rain, and snow leaves vehicles with much more rust than vehicles with drier climates. Get a good oxygen-acetylene torch to help fix customers’ rust issues with ease.
Buy a tall free-standing press – Ensure it can hoist at least 30 tons. Shops need the free-standing press for many things including axle bearings, struts, and much more. Don’t buy the smaller tabletop presses.
Brake Lathe – Service breaks quickly and efficiently with this handy tool. These are great for fixing noise and vibration problems that vehicles get which prolong the life of brake systems.
Engine hoist – These are absolutely indispensable to your shop. They are so helpful in engine repairs, so you can easily lift an engine block out of a vehicle and fix specific problems. Engine hoists are a very common tool in shops used to install gasoline and diesel engines in tighter, crowded engine compartments. We recommend an engine leveler to go with your hoist so everything remains level. They aren’t very expensive and make engine repair, and installations much easier.
Battery charger and jump box – Buy the best one you can afford. These are used CONSTANTLY in shops. The cheap ones/knockoffs don’t last as long and batteries die too fast. You’ll be needing to jump cars all the time when they come in on a tow truck, won’t start, etc.
Drain pans, drain pans, drain pans! You can never have enough drain pans in your shop. Extremely handy for catching drips & spills. Large aluminum baking trays work great too. They are thick, about an inch tall and you can slide them easily under hard-to-reach spots that are in spill zones such as under cars. You also don’t have to be very exact since they are so big.
A Quality Steel Workbench – Get a heavy-duty, quality workbench that can handle all of your heavy tools and the environment of your shop. Steel can handle dings, scratches, etc as opposed to wooden ones which can break much more easier.
Strut Compressor – People always need new struts, around 70,000 miles. This tool can make you a lot of money. It will make you faster, and you can do a lot more suspension work on customer cars. Get a heavy-duty one, that can handle bigger vehicles like Ford F-150s.
Lifter – These are a moneymaker. Lift vehicles with ease so you can simply get under them. These are used all the time in shops, it’s the centerpiece of service and repair bays everywhere. We recommend an asymmetrical, 2-post lift with a top bar with at least 10,000 lb capacity. Symmetrical lifts are ok too. It really depends on what you need for your shop so do some research into the tw0 so you get the lift that suits your needs.