Man repairing car. Raising car hood and looking at engine. concept: Auto Shop Equipment
Timothy R
By: timothy-ronaldson
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Most Profitable Auto Shop Equipment: Grow Your Business

If you’re in the auto shop business, one thing that could be standing in the way of growth is a lack of auto shop equipment.

In industries like yours, equipment is essential in helping you take on more jobs that you may not be able to handle right now. Of course, if you’re already up and running, there is plenty of basic auto shop equipment you have in your repertoire. At the same time, there is some that you may be lacking that’s holding you back from achieving greater profits.

Let’s take a look at some of the specialized auto shop equipment that could help your business thrive.

Portrait of Worker at Factory. concept: Auto Shop Equipment

7 most profitable auto shop equipment

There are lots of choices in auto shop equipment. The key to running a successful business, though, is recognizing which equipment would give you the greatest return on investment

In the end, this auto shop equipment will be just that—a significant investment. So, it’s extremely important that you understand what goes into purchasing this equipment, as well as what you could receive in return.

1. Brake lathe

auto shop equipment: Brake lathe

Many people have problems with their brakes: they could make too much noise or have too much vibration. In fact, brake jobs are among the most common reasons people will bring their cars in for service.

A brake lathe is a piece of equipment that can help correct variations in thickness on the rotor caused by rust or uneven contact with the brake pad, among other reasons.

In some cases, auto repair businesses will take the drums and rotors to another shop for repair. By purchasing your own brake lathe, though, you can keep all of that work inside your own shop.

Having your own brake lathe will make your operations more efficient and more cost-effective. Not only will you not have to pay another company for work, but you’ll also be able to complete jobs quicker. 

A brake lathe could cost, on average, between $6,000 and $7,000.

2. Air conditioning machine

auto shop equipment: Air conditioning machine

Another common automotive problem is air conditioning. When a car’s air conditioning system goes, they’ll need to take it to an auto repair shop to get it fixed.

If you don’t have an air conditioning machine, taking on these jobs in a timely manner will be quite difficult. These machines will help you recharge, recycle and/or recover the air conditioning systems in your customers’ cars. 

You can diagnose and flush an air conditioning system manually, but these machines make the job much more reliable and faster.

Again, the job’s speed and quality are a huge factor in helping your business become more profitable. 

An air conditioning machine could cost, on average, around $4,500.

3. Vertical auto lift

auto shop equipment: Vertical auto lift

For many auto repair jobs, you’ll need a repairman to get under the car itself to diagnose and fix the problem. Access to a lot of the parts in a car must be done from below.

A vertical auto lift is a piece of auto repair equipment that makes accessing the areas you need to access much quicker and easier. The lift allows you to raise cars to the necessary height to perform services such as replacing tires and other diagnostics and inspections that require the car to be lifted off the ground.

A vertical lift not only makes the job quicker and more efficient, but it’s also much safer for your technicians than manual lifts or cranks.

These are expensive pieces of equipment, but they are well worth it in the end. They’ll allow you to complete jobs much quicker and more efficiently than any other option you’ll have.

A vertical auto lift could cost, on average:

  • 2-post could cost between $4,000 and $7,000 or up to $20,000 for more specialized ones.
  • 4-post could cost between $5,000 and $8,000 or up to $100,000 for heavy-duty ones.

4. Hydraulic press

auto shop equipment: Hydraulic press

This specialty piece of equipment will allow you to easily bend or crush metal materials. There are a lot of uses for a hydraulic press, in fact. They allow technicians to separate any rusted auto parts, straighten any bent metal pieces or oil filters that may have compressed.

Cars can often have bent parts if they are involved in some sort of collision. Repairing this equipment rather than replacing it entirely makes it much cheaper for drivers. This, in turn, will bring you an entire wave of customers that you may not have had before. 

This is a piece of auto repair equipment that will also help the environment. They can help remove every last drop of oil from a used oil filter, allowing you to dispose of them much more safely. 

A hydraulic press could cost, on average, between $1,000 and $8,000.

5. Advanced diagnostics

auto shop equipment: Advanced diagnostics

The one big challenge for drivers and auto repair businesses is diagnosing what the problem might actually be with a car. Drivers often bring their vehicles into a repair shop, not knowing what’s wrong. They may hear a noise or feel a jerk when driving, but they don’t really know what the culprit is.

Quickly and accurately diagnosing the problem is essential for the driver and the auto repair shop that is looking to pick up more clients. If you cannot identify the problem, you most likely won’t get the job because there will be nothing to fix. Or you might get the job but spend countless hours trying to figure out the problem, hours you could use to fix other cars.

Advanced diagnostics tools allow auto repair shops today to plug into various vehicles and get a report on what might be wrong. They can help measure different levels of fluids and other potential problems a car may be experiencing.

These pieces of auto repair equipment can also be expensive, but they can help you gain new loyal customers. If you’re able to diagnose problems quickly and then fix those problems efficiently, you’re likely to attract new customers who will come back to you whenever they have a problem with their car.

Advanced diagnostics tools could cost between $3,000 and $8,000.

6. Oil change bays

auto shop equipment: Oil change bays

One of the most profitable services an auto repair shop can provide is an oil change. It’s something that all drivers need to have done to their car, no matter how new the car is and what shape it’s in.

Oil changes can be quite difficult for the average person to do at home on their own, so they take their car to an auto repair shop to perform the job. One way to increase your profits is to set up your shop efficiently for these oil changes.

This could require you to purchase specific auto repair equipment that will streamline this process. It may include specialty lifts, oil change bays with proper disposal, and other equipment. While this would involve a significant investment, it will make good on the investment in a short time.

For example:

  • An Oil Filter Crusher could cost, on average, between $2,000 and $5,000.
  • An Oil Exchange System could cost, on average, $10,000.

7. Smog check machine

auto shop equipment: Smog check machine

States have certain requirements when it comes to emission standards. To pass regular inspections, cars must pass these emissions tests done by a certified provider.

Auto repair businesses can pick up easy and profitable work by having specialized smog check machines to perform this diagnostic work. The great part about this equipment is it can help you get customers in two ways.

First, you can pick up customers who will come to have their vehicles run through the emissions test. Then, if any of these cars fail the check, you’ll likely also pick up the work for fixing whatever may be wrong.

A smog check machine may be an expensive up-front cost, but it will significantly expand your potential customer base.

  • A simple smog check station could cost, on average, around $3,000.
  • Tailpipe testing equipment could cost, on average, around $40,000.

A Handsome mechanic job in uniform working on car. concept: Auto Shop Equipment

You can invest in new auto repair equipment

Having the right auto repair equipment can take your business to the next level. 

That’s exactly what Rafael and Maria Reynoso did when they purchased a smog check machine for their business, El Tucan Smog Check. 

graduate, loan, camino financial, debt refinancingBy changing their auto shop business they had run for 20 years into a specialized shop offering smog checks, the couple was able to bring in an additional $300 to $400 per day in income. 

The Reynosos used a small business loan from Camino Financial to help make their dream a reality. They used the money from Camino to purchase the equipment and pay it down over time—as they were raking in new dollars from new customers.

A loan from Camino Financial is a great way to purchase new auto repair equipment that can help take your business to the next level, too. No matter what equipment you need or what direction you want to take your business, a small business loan is a great tool at your disposal.

Every day, we work hard to help our customers reach their full potential. We work to live up to our motto of “No Business Left Behind” by providing great small business loan products and educational and inspirational tools.

Take your auto repair business to new heights:

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