Shop Equipment

This section is for new equipment or old equipment that we need for our shops.

I've listed some of the equipment that I know works but many of you have come up with better solutions. I want to hear about these and share the information so others may benefit.

We all have the on the car brake lathe and it work find, I wish it would do rear rotors or not vibrate the front end so much when doing say 4Runners or Land Cruisers. We normally have to support the other side of the vehicle when doing the machining to get a better cut.

The battery tester is great. I thought that when I got the bill how good could it be, just one more overpriced tool that was delivered. I was wrong and it works great. We are an Express Lube dealer and since the tester came out we test all cars over 3 years old as part of the service. We have sold many batteries since and have prevented the "car won't start and I was just there" phone call. I can't take credit for Toyota getting the same idea for their recent battery program, but it makes me wonder. Like all good tools we have to scale back on our recommendations since the tester is so good that the battery will last 6 months longer in some cases. We now use it a an advisory to the customer so they will think of us when they need that battery.

Parts washer. We researched the power washers on the market and choose the Hydro Blast model 50 over the others on the market. I have used these since they came out and they all work better than the Safety Kleen type of mineral spirits. The water based parts washer are 1000% better for safety, time savings and final part appearance. I can go on for some time as to how good they work but in all honesty they can clean anything that is not affected by water such as electrical items. The problem with water based parts washers is the waste. The water may need to be changed every 6 months or more depending on your shop size and machine use. That waste is hazardous and as you might imagine is costly to remove. The newer ones like the Hydro Blast use the heaters to super heat the water and evaporate the water leaving only a little waste to remove. Its not perfect but close.

Scanner update. This is an necessity to do business but at $500.00 a year to update, its seems a little much. If you look just at the Toyota dealers involved that means that the company gets $650,000+ each year and we are captive since OBD II we are constantly using them for daily diagnosis.

Transmission flushing. Years ago most of us, if we serviced automatic transmissions at all, just drained what we could from the oil pan. We now know that this is not good enough because for whatever reason we are seeing "sludge type" deposits in the transmission oil pan. I can't say that this is why we have some failures but I can say that you need to replace the entire fluid at least by the 50K mileage to prevent problems. The maintenance schedule says to do it at the 24 month point but each of us have our own schedules and 24 months means "X number" of miles as an the average. We found the BG companies machine to be the best in our area. There are several reasons: its simple to connect for all models, they don't charge for the machine and we have two (if you use their chemical package), and the training aid they offer sells the need itself to the customers. We offer this service at 50K or normally sell it for 119.95 on a special.

Coolant system flushing. This goes along with the transmission flushing. In the past we really did not have the proper machine to do the job quickly or efficiently. Many companies offered recycling and flush machines but they were expensive and the recycled coolant was normally brown in color. Today we have better service companies that will pick up our used anti-freeze and the price of new anti-freeze is much lower. The BG company also has a coolant flush machine that is easy to connect and does not require cutting any hoses. Its fairly quick and clean and does a great job. They supply the machine, we have two, at no charge as long as you use their chemicals. We include this in our 45 K service or charge 89.95 on a special.

Let me know what is working in your shop and we can spread the word.