How to start an auto repair shop- My dream auto repair workshop layout.

Auto repair shop heaven!

Every auto repair shop owner could give you a list of equipment and machinery that they would love to have in their workshop.

This is my list of the automotive repair shop tools and equipment I would love to have. I would need to start with the building itself first though.

Big premises.

My ideal premises would be large enough to accommodate 4 built in auto lifts/hoists plus a mobile belly lift.

I would also have space for air-conditioner recharging, brake disc and drum machining, welding, fabrication and a small engineering shop with as much space as 2 bays to work from.

The building would have an abundance of windows and transparent roof sections to allow as much natural light as possible over the hoists..

This is a nice clean layout for an auto repair shop.
This is a nice clean layout for an auto repair shop.

Floor.

I get right off on good auto shop floors! My floor would be 6" concrete, painted with several coats of non-skid white paint. In fact the whole workshop would be white gloss on the walls, with a white ceiling. Areas where the mechanic stand at a machine to operate it would have rubber high density mats to relieve back and leg stress.

Office.

I have had one office in an auto shop built to suit my needs, but things have changed heaps since then. I had my office heavily sound-proofed and an oversized reverse cycle air-conditioner fitted with the noisy bit mounted outside.

With all the online problem solving data available to workshops, the modern office needs to be brimming with new equipment that is much more productive than in the past.

I would have very fast broadband and be connected to several of the excellent online programs that supply instant technical assistance and support.

Even having an internet connection will speed things up and ensure you are not overcharged for spares, show you lists of new suppliers, where to look for a new mechanic, the list is as endless as Google is.

If your mechanic is working on a fuel delivery problem with an early Honda Accord for example, with just a few words typed into the Google search engine you can tell him where the fuel pump is located. It is under the back door on several models and is a known weakness, yet I have known several mechanics who had trouble locating it.

A decent intercom in each work bay is another very useful item. Your mechanics can call for spares, and job progress can be monitored without anyone leaving their post.

A small lathe like this is very useful in an auto repair shop.
A small lathe like this is very useful in an auto repair shop.
Ammco 4000 series brake lathe.
Ammco 4000 series brake lathe.

Engineering equipment.

I need a few nice additions to a standard repair shop such as a metal lathe and brake lathe.

Ideally I would have 2 metal lathes. The small one would be for machining brake parts and making small items for inventions and modifications to existing parts.

I also want a fairly big one, that will allow me to machine long and thick metal, so that no matter the thickness or length of the job I can still fit it in the lathe.

I would use an older model Hercus for this job, with a long bed, (6ft,) with 3 and 4 jaw chucks, full gearbox, thread cutters and heaps of jobbing bits to suit any situation.

The brake lathe would have to be an ammco with chuck and light truck arbour and tooling.

I would use the Ammco as I have refurbished dozens of them and have concluded that they last almost forever, consumable and spares are reasonably cheap to replace and readily available. They are also dead accurate if tooled up properly and fine tuned, which is how you should run any brake lathe.

I always need one of these Corghi sit on finishing wheel balancers.
I always need one of these Corghi sit on finishing wheel balancers.

I can't help myself. I need wheel balance to be perfect. This is where the sit on balancer comes in.

This baby can find those difficult little balance problems and sort them out once and for all.

You would be surprised how many wheel balancing problems can be solved using one of these neat devices. On car balancers can save time and troubleshoot difficult jobs that are not tire related, such as loose or worn wheel bearings, worn struts and bushes.

They are also ideal for a quick balance check on a vehicle with a vibration coming through the steering when test driven after other repairs, or for a balance check after fitting a wheel with a new tire, and balancing it on a standard balancer.

Only the very best fully automatic air conditioner repair station that weighs, cleans, stores and recycles all gases.
Only the very best fully automatic air conditioner repair station that weighs, cleans, stores and recycles all gases.

Air-conditioner recharge station.

A fully automated air conditioner recharge station can make a nice income with very little labor involved.

I know the Ariazone 5001 quite well, and am familiar with the company's service. It is exemplary as is the machine itself. An airconditioner service is a great addition to any workshop, and I would go for a new machine and this is the best of the best.

I find it easier to use an all in one fully automated unit, providing it is not prone to breakdowns.

In a hot climate it is possible to keep two of these machines flat out if you have good floor traffic.

Spring compressor.
Spring compressor.
Wheel dolly.
Wheel dolly.
Transmission Jack.
Transmission Jack.
A folding engine lifter/crane/hoist is handy for many other lifting jobs around the workshop as well as lifting engines in and out of cars.
A folding engine lifter/crane/hoist is handy for many other lifting jobs around the workshop as well as lifting engines in and out of cars.

My ideal workshop would be fitted out with all the labor and time saving equipment available.

It would also be safe.

Air compressor.

Mounted outside the building or in it's own sound insulated room.

Rotary with EARS manifold.

Air Tools.

All air tools to be Ingersoll Rand or equivalent quality.

All tools fitted with E.A.R.S silencing and return.

Here is a link to learn about EARS and what size compressor you will need to run a range of air tools. http://www.earsnorthamerica.com/earsandairtools.html

Suspension spring compressor.

A spring compressor saves a lot of effort and risk of injury and is essential if doing suspension repairs.

Wheel dolly.

Heaps better than man handling heavy wheels and faster too, as you can adjust it so that the wheel is the right height to slip straight on to the wheel studs..

Transmission Jack.

Another device that saves time and risk of injury. Use a heavy duty trans jack to remove heavy 4 wheel drive gearboxes safely.

Folding engine lift.

I prefer a folding type, because it saves so much space and can be unfolded ready to work in a minute. Get a heavy duty one as it can be used for so many other lifting jobs around the repair shop such as relocating heavy equipment. You can also put it on your ute if you have a job that requires loading something heavy for the workshop then unloading it when you get back to your shop.

Tire changer.
Tire changer.
A small inert gas welder
A small inert gas welder

Tire Changer.

To do wheel and suspension work once again it is better and easier with the best equipment, Butler and other quality tire changers are well worth paying a premium price for, as they make an otherwise difficult job far less labor intensive. You also need side assist on a tire changer to take care of ally and run-flat wheels.

The Butler shown here is a very nice machine to use and requires very little effort. You can buy many makes of tire changer, but my advice is to stick with the big brand names and the up market models for faster cleaner tire changing.

Welder.

Apart from oxy-acetylene for cutting and brazing, I like to have an inert gas welder for arc welding. The versatility with these little tigs and migs is phenomenal. You can even weld very thin body metal and weld without causing too much local heat. I have to admit one of the reasons for having a welder that will do fine work is for repairing older cars where a weld can mean saving a body part or even an entire body by stitching it back together when the metal has been ripped apart. This is mainly for my restoration hobbies.

Snap-On make several very good ones. They are much better and cheaper to buy than they used to be.


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Comments 43 comments

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 5 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

Love all the equipment, would be neat to have some of this especially the space.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA

earnestshub - This is a very good article for anyone who is considering going into the auto repair and maintenance business. Although I am not about to do that, I have an observation to make that is also useful. Don't bother getting into the business unless you know what you are doing. All the tools and space in the world won't help if you don't have that to begin with.

Gus :-)))


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Steve you make a great observation. Space. With enough space you can use some of the older and heavier equipment like huge milling machines and drill presses as well.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Gus, I agree completely!

Without being a top mechanic with bags of drive and good people skills it is a waste of time setting up shop.

All of it is learnable though, so the drive and love of mechanical things is a big part of getting started. That and a willingness to do whatever it takes to protect the customer from your mistakes when learning. In other words being prepared to work all night for nothing more than the satisfaction of the consumer when you get it wrong.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Very, very interesting, even for me. I emailed it to my son.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you Hello, hello. I admire the fact that you support your son's ambitions with practical assistance and information. You are a great parent.


ron 5 years ago

with the price of oil set to go up to $1,80 plus a litre in australia and oil shortges big time from 2015 it may not pay having auto shop , try selling weed,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

An interesting thought Ron. If oil prices remain as high as they are now, all the world's economies will be flattened like a pancake, so it won't matter much what we sell. I reckon it would be best to smoke the weed to ease the pain in that case!


eddiecarrara profile image

eddiecarrara 5 years ago from New Hampshire

I would like to add one tool to your list, it saves a boatload of time and finishes parts like they are new. Sand blaster, to remove rust build up on the back side of brake rotors, this causes a lot of brake pulsation problems on Honda cars. Just a thought, nice hub


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Good call Eddiecarrara.

A sand blaster of course!

I agree, a must-have in a well equipped shop. Thank you.

Also brilliant for cleaning up castings, motorcycle barrels and a squillion other jobs around the shop.


Hugh Williamson profile image

Hugh Williamson 5 years ago from Northeast USA

As long as we're just talking and not buying, how about an overhead electric hoist on a track?


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

A wonderful addition to any auto shop Hugh, and one that I have had in one of my own shops. Need a strong RSJ across the roof of course, but a traveling overhead hoist that runs the length of the building is a terrific idea.


mohammed 5 years ago

am i have no mechanical knowledge but i live in nigeria were getting a good workman in an equiped shop is almost imposible.so i am looking to open a fully stocked workshop and am looking for patners from all over the world.pls only serious businessmen thanks.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Good luck with your Nigerian workshop Mohammed, I believe there is a big automotive equipment supplier in South Africa where you could buy used machinery and auto shop equipment.


bob9125 profile image

bob9125 5 years ago from United States

That is alot of fascinating equipment. I know a few people that would be interested in reading this hub


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks Bob, I will be adding more equipment as soon as I can find where I put the rest of my photos. One of my friends has every item listed here in his auto shop and more. He keeps buying more buildings next door to each other. So far he has expanded 5 times, so his business now takes up half of one side of his street.


Tim Wasmer 5 years ago

I have been digging thru your hubs (even the one about cats;)

What a great source of information. There are 3 of us looking to start a shop and your insight has been a treasure. My two associates are both Master BMW technicians and I am a computer business owner (and car geek).

Thanks again for posting all this great information

Tim


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you Tim, feel free to email me from my profile page with any ideas you would like to run by me. I am always excited at the prospect of seeing people with the necessary skills make it. I reckon it's hard to fail if you over deliver. Net retainable profit is very low in repair shops generally, so your focus needs to be on customer coercion rather than profit. If your BMW guys are good you can make very respectable net and also run a business that will attract customers like flies. Good Luck!


Mayor 5 years ago

Please, I'm a young engineer (mechanical) in the making and really interested in automobiles. I'm dreaming of having a standard auto workshop. Having all the space and tools without experience would be a disaster. How can one effectively gain this invaluable experience?


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hello Mayor, the best way to gain experience is in an apprenticeship with an experienced mechanic. Working alongside a good motor engineer will teach you skills that you need. If you have the time, offer to work part time in a repair shop to get the feel of it.

I used 50cc motorcycle engines to train my mechanics on engine reconditioning. The tolerances are very fine on many of these little gems, and being able to run the motor and see the results of a rebuild is cheaper and requires less space to work on. All internal combustion motors are basically the same, and what happens in a single cylinder motor is the same as for a multi cylinder motor. As these little engines have the gearbox and clutch built in, you can learn about the drive train at the same time.


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Informative hub which i enjoyed a lot.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you crystolite. I'm happy you enjoyed it.


Mico 5 years ago

Auto shop requires a big premises, good mechanics and a nice software. http://tonysreview.com


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you Garage equipment. I will continue to expand these auto workshop hubs.


broken tool 5 years ago

had a shop looking to do it again, thanks for the insperation


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

You're most welcome broken tool.


fashion 5 years ago

very informative hub.I knew nothing about it but now I have a great knowledge.Thaks for posting.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you fashion, I'm glad it was informative.


CollisionBlast profile image

CollisionBlast 5 years ago

I agree, this would be great to have some of this equipment. Great post and info....thanks for sharing!


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

You are most welcome CB. It takes a lot more equipment than many would imagine to run a workshop that can do a wide range of repairs.


Rismayanti profile image

Rismayanti 5 years ago from Tropical Island

exellence hub


Jon 4 years ago

Also a tap and die set for stripped threads and some type of tool to get stripped bolts out. Pipe wrenches work of there is enough to get a good bite on sticking out or they also have a type you can hammer on and then you just screw out the stripped bolt.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 4 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Eazy-outs is what we call them here, and a tap and die set is handy for sure.

I use American vice grips for studs that are seized in sometimes, especially on motorcycle exhaust studs that have broken off in the head.


car geek lover 4 years ago

lovely.. pretty nice article..

please do visit my blog.. http://cargeeklover.blog.ca


skofitting 4 years ago

SKO Industries Co.,ltd Specializes in different types of pipe fittings,Valves,flanges and pipeline products made of different materials. Our products are widely used in such industries as petroleum, petrifaction, paper making, pharmacy, food, beer, electric power, shipbuilding, natural gas, sewage and architecture.

With strong R&D strength and many professionals in this industry, we can ensure the stability and reliability of our products. We insist on the quality guidelines of "perfect management system", "improving continuously", "creating excellent products", and "exceeding customers' expectations".

Our company owns advanced production equipment: Numerical control machines and advanced facilities for shot blasting, acid cleaning and passivation. We also have advanced inspection machines and relevant inspection techniques. Direct reading photoelectrical spectrometer is introduced into chemical analysis; Omnipotent mechanics tester is for the testing of tensile strength, yield strength, elongation rate, and reduction of cross sectional area; X-ray, ultrasonic and liquid penetrants are for non-destructive inspection tests; Sclerometer is for rigidity test; And thickness tester is for testing of thickness of walls.

Our products are well sold in Europe, the USA, Russia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. SKO wishes to create a prosperous future and develop with our clients together.

Butt Welded Pipe Fittings

90D Elbow,45D Elbow,180D Elbow,Cap,Straight Tee,Reducing Tee, Concentrical Reducer,Eccentrical Reducer,Cross,Bend

1) Standard:ASTM/ASME/ANSI B16.9/16.28, DIN 2605/2615/2616/2617, JIS B2311/2312/2313, EN10253

2) Type: butt welded and seamless pipe fittings (Elbow,Cap,Tee,Reducer,Cross,Bend)

3) Size:1/8 inch-48 inch SCH10,SCH20,SCH40, SCH80,SCH160,SCHXXS

4) Material:Carbon steel: ASTM/ASME A234 WPB, WPC, WPL6

Alloy steel: ASTM/ASME A234 WP5, WP9, WP11, WP12, WP22, WP91

5)Packaging Detail: wooden box, wooden pallet

6)Payment: T/T or L/C

Forged Steel Pipe FIttings

High pressure pipe fittings, 90 degree threaded/socket elbow, 45 degree threaded/socket elbow, elbow weld, threaded/socket Tee, reducing Tee, threaded/ socket union, butt welding union, coupling, half coupling, red coupling(swage), end cap, hex head nipple, round head nipple, half nipple, reducing nipple, bushing, hex head bushing, cross, outlet, pipe plug, lateral 45 degree, deflected swage, butt welding Tee, boss, Street elbow(in & out threaded elbow), Tee union, forging fittings, forged steel pipe fittings, hose fittings, instrument fittings, adapter, pipe band.

Size: 1/8" -4"(DN6-100)

Joint: SW / NPT / BSP

Standard: ASME, B16.11, B16.9, JIS B2316, MSS SP83/SP79/SP97, DIN

Material: Stainless steel: (A182 F44(UNS31254)F304/304L, F316/316L, F321/321H, F317L, F310)

Carbon steel 20#, A105, A350 LF1/LF2/LF3, MSS SP44&A694 F42/46/52/56/60/65/70),

Alloy steel (A182 F1/F5a/F9/F11/F22/F91)

Pressure: 2000LB, 3000LB, 6000LB, 9000LB

Thickness: Sch40, Sch80, Sch160, XXS

Delivery: 10, 000PCS/Month, Packing: Carton/Wooden case.

Steel Flanges

Welding Neck Flange,Slip on Flange,Lap Joint Flange,Thread Flange,Socket Welding Flange,Blind Flange Spectacle Flange

Size: 1/2" -60"(DN15-DN1500)

Joint: WN/SO/LJ/SW / NPT / BSP

Standard: ASME, B16.5, B16.47,B16.48 JIS B2220, MSS 44,API 650, DIN2576,DIN2527,DIN2632,

DIN2543,DIN2633,DIN2634,DIN2544,DIN2545,DIN2635,DIN2573,DIN2631,DIN2576,DIN2632,

Material: Stainless steel: (A182 F44(UNS31254)F304/304L, F316/316L, F321/321H, F317L, F310)

Carbon steel 20#, A105, A350 LF1/LF2/LF3, MSS SP44&A694 F42/46/52/56/60/65/70),

Alloy steel (A182 F1/F5a/F9/F11/F22/F91)

Pressure: 150LB,300LB,400LB,600LB,900LB,1500LB,2500LB

SKO Industries Co.,ltd

Email: chengsko@163.com Msn: chengsko@hotmail.com

Web: www.sinokoo.com

ADD,NO.8,ZHENGNING STREET,HUAINING,ANQING,ANHUI,CHINA


Wadadli 4 years ago

Really appreciate the wealth of information you have provided.

Is there any dyno testing equipment on the market that you would recommend which is not too expensive and offers excellent durability and performance?


Arthur 4 years ago

I am at the process of setting up an auto center for car service of all models/makes, tire sales with wheal balancing and a vip car wash. All in one location. Its a good biz here b/c there are very few. With a population of 150, 000,000 people investing here will be very lucrative. I invite anyone interested to partner with me. My email is wall_street.mart@yahoo.com


reagu profile image

reagu 4 years ago from Los Angeles

Sounds fantastic. People love cars and I like taking my car for maintenance to an independent mechanic who really knows what he's doing. Sounds like you do too. And to top it off, you seem to know about running a shop efficiently as a business.


Ali 3 years ago

Please let me know where I can find a layout for modern Automotive mechanic repair shop


pipefitting 3 years ago

SKO Industries Co.,ltd Specializes in different types of pipe fittings,Valves,flanges and pipeline products made of different materials. Our products are widely used in such industries as petroleum, petrifaction, paper making, pharmacy, food, beer, electric power, shipbuilding, natural gas, sewage and architecture.

With strong R&D strength and many professionals in this industry, we can ensure the stability and reliability of our products. We insist on the quality guidelines of "perfect management system", "improving continuously", "creating excellent products", and "exceeding customers' expectations".

Our company owns advanced production equipment: Numerical control machines and advanced facilities for shot blasting, acid cleaning and passivation. We also have advanced inspection machines and relevant inspection techniques. Direct reading photoelectrical spectrometer is introduced into chemical analysis; Omnipotent mechanics tester is for the testing of tensile strength, yield strength, elongation rate, and reduction of cross sectional area; X-ray, ultrasonic and liquid penetrants are for non-destructive inspection tests; Sclerometer is for rigidity test; And thickness tester is for testing of thickness of walls.

Our products are well sold in Europe, the USA, Russia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. SKO wishes to create a prosperous future and develop with our clients together.

Butt Welded Pipe Fittings

90D Elbow,45D Elbow,180D Elbow,Cap,Straight Tee,Reducing Tee, Concentrical Reducer,Eccentrical Reducer,Cross,Bend

1) Standard:ASTM/ASME/ANSI B16.9/16.28, DIN 2605/2615/2616/2617, JIS B2311/2312/2313, EN10253

2) Type: butt welded and seamless pipe fittings (Elbow,Cap,Tee,Reducer,Cross,Bend)

3) Size:1/8 inch-48 inch SCH10,SCH20,SCH40, SCH80,SCH160,SCHXXS

4) Material:Carbon steel: ASTM/ASME A234 WPB, WPC, WPL6

Alloy steel: ASTM/ASME A234 WP5, WP9, WP11, WP12, WP22, WP91

5)Packaging Detail: wooden box, wooden pallet

6)Payment: T/T or L/C

Forged Steel Pipe FIttings

High pressure pipe fittings, 90 degree threaded/socket elbow, 45 degree threaded/socket elbow, elbow weld, threaded/socket Tee, reducing Tee, threaded/ socket union, butt welding union, coupling, half coupling, red coupling(swage), end cap, hex head nipple, round head nipple, half nipple, reducing nipple, bushing, hex head bushing, cross, outlet, pipe plug, lateral 45 degree, deflected swage, butt welding Tee, boss, Street elbow(in & out threaded elbow), Tee union, forging fittings, forged steel pipe fittings, hose fittings, instrument fittings, adapter, pipe band.

Size: 1/8" -4"(DN6-100)

Joint: SW / NPT / BSP

Standard: ASME, B16.11, B16.9, JIS B2316, MSS SP83/SP79/SP97, DIN

Material: Stainless steel: (A182 F44(UNS31254)F304/304L, F316/316L, F321/321H, F317L, F310)

Carbon steel 20#, A105, A350 LF1/LF2/LF3, MSS SP44&A694 F42/46/52/56/60/65/70),

Alloy steel (A182 F1/F5a/F9/F11/F22/F91)

Pressure: 2000LB, 3000LB, 6000LB, 9000LB

Thickness: Sch40, Sch80, Sch160, XXS

Delivery: 10, 000PCS/Month, Packing: Carton/Wooden case.

Steel Flanges

Welding Neck Flange,Slip on Flange,Lap Joint Flange,Thread Flange,Socket Welding Flange,Blind Flange Spectacle Flange

Size: 1/2" -60"(DN15-DN1500)

Joint: WN/SO/LJ/SW / NPT / BSP

Standard: ASME, B16.5, B16.47,B16.48 JIS B2220, MSS 44,API 650, DIN2576,DIN2527,DIN2632,

DIN2543,DIN2633,DIN2634,DIN2544,DIN2545,DIN2635,DIN2573,DIN2631,DIN2576,DIN2632,

Material: Stainless steel: (A182 F44(UNS31254)F304/304L, F316/316L, F321/321H, F317L, F310)

Carbon steel 20#, A105, A350 LF1/LF2/LF3, MSS SP44&A694 F42/46/52/56/60/65/70),

Alloy steel (A182 F1/F5a/F9/F11/F22/F91)

Pressure: 150LB,300LB,400LB,600LB,900LB,1500LB,2500LB

SKO Industries Co.,ltd

Email: chengsko@163.com Msn: chengsko@hotmail.com


chuka 2 years ago

can there be recommended schooling for persons wanting to get into automotive repair? or better yet recommended apprenticeship for persons from Africa?


kush yadav 2 years ago

I want to increase my sales. What I have to do?


Thet Myint Lwin 15 months ago

I am not a mechanic or engineer. But I would like to open an auto repair shop. Is it possible to run an auto repair shop with a little mechanical knowledge?

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