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Must-Have Auto Repair Equipment for a New Shop  

Two men working on a car

Some auto technicians consider starting a small repair business after gaining work experience with a more comprehensive mechanic shop. Operating a repair shop allows you to set your prices, hours, and specialties.

Whether you start an independent, specialty, or dealer shop, you must purchase standard equipment to repair your customers’ vehicles successfully. 

When to Purchase Equipment 

It’s a good idea to purchase any necessary equipment before you need it, rather than waiting until you have a vehicle in your shop that requires it. When you have the time to research and find the best equipment, you are more likely to purchase the right equipment and save a lot of money.

Conversely, if you are in a hurry to purchase, you may make a rash decision and purchase auto repair equipment that isn’t the right fit for your shop.

Lastly, consider purchasing your equipment over leasing, as your start-up funding should allow you to buy all the necessary auto repair equipment. In addition, if you lease equipment, you may lose access to it if you miss a payment.

Now that you know when to purchase your new shop’s equipment, it’s a good idea to know what equipment your shop will need. 

Vehicle Lifts

Every mechanic must get under the vehicles to perform essential inspections and diagnostics. Therefore, your shop will need a lift to raise the car to the height required for these services. 

There are several types of automotive lifts to consider, including 2-post, 4-post, scissor, portable, in-ground, alignment, and mobile column lifts. To purchase the right lift for your shop, you’ll need to know how much space you have and what type of vehicles you’ll be repairing.

Be sure to buy high-quality and name-brand lifts to ensure the availability of parts and service. Lifts are essential for your repair shop, built to last many years. 

Air Compressor

An air compressor is another essential piece of equipment for your new shop. 

It can help clean dust and dirt behind engine blocks with its pressurized air. In addition, a quality air compressor helps clean many mechanical parts, such as behind the fissures inside rotors. 

A high-quality air compressor also allows you to operate many tools in your shop, such as air ratchets, airbrushes, sandblasters, paint sprayers, air saws, and sanders. 

Lastly, garages with tire inflating tools can’t function without air compressors. Air compressors generate air pressure, which helps to inflate tires. Choosing a suitable air compressor can improve your productivity. 

Get the highest capacity you can afford to be sure you have the power you need for powering your shop’s needs – a good example would be a 60 or 120-gallon compressor.

Car Jacks

Of all the tools a small mechanic’s shop should have, a floor jack is undoubtedly in the top five.

Floor jacks come in various sizes with differing capabilities. 

A 2-ton jack is sufficient for simple jobs; however, purchasing a larger jack isn’t a bad idea. The ideal capacity should reach about seventy-five percent of the vehicle’s overall weight. Weight ratings are usually found on a driver’s side doorjamb sticker. 

The most common car jacks are the scissor, floor, screw, bottle, and farm jack. 

Oil Drainage Systems 

Services like oil changes and replacing transmission fluid require an oil caddy with a large capacity.

In addition, as your services expand and you work with vehicles on lifts, a standing oil caddy reaching the raised car will make the job easier and quicker.

Battery Charger and Jumper 

Many repair jobs deal with dead car batteries, so you need a good battery charger and jumper to handle these services. 

While you don’t need to purchase the most expensive battery charger and jumper, you need a high-quality one built to last. 

Engine Hoist 

If your shop plans on doing any transmission or engine work, you’ll need an engine hoist. An engine hoist can lift engines, transmissions, and other parts out of the vehicle. 

There are a few different engine hoists, including hydraulic, chain engine, and electric hoists.

Consider the weight capacity when deciding what engine hoist to purchase for your shop. Standard weight capacities for engine hoists are 1- and 2-ton, although there are higher weight capacities for larger engines. 

Many shops purchase a 2-ton hoist even though they don’t plan on working on engines that size. Going with a higher weight capacity is a good idea in this circumstance. 

Brake Lathe

When doing brake jobs, it lowers your shop’s efficiency if you have to take drums or rotors to another service to resurface. 

Buying a brake lathe for your shop will make brake services more efficient and profitable, so the investment quickly pays for itself. 

Be sure to purchase a high-quality name-brand lathe to ensure the availability of replacement parts when needed. 

Strut Compressor 

A strut compressor is essential if you’re fixing a vehicle’s suspension. The compressor reduces the size of the springs, making them easier to remove.

You need to find a sturdy, durable tool that won’t compromise your safety because handling springs can be dangerous. 

Air conditioning machine 

If you’re offering an air conditioning service, get an air conditioner machine that will recharge a vehicle’s air conditioning system and help recover and recycle it.

Having an air conditioning machine in your shop will make flushing and diagnosing air conditioning systems quicker and more reliable.


There are many reasons for using a press in your automotive repair shop, including separating rusted parts, straightening bent parts, and compressing used oil filters.

However, having access to a press in your shop will give you much more.

When preparing to open a mechanic shop, there are many things to consider. First, start researching the equipment that will suit your future shop’s needs and purchase the items when possible. 

When purchasing new equipment, it’s also a good idea to partner with a reputable automotive parts supplier to provide you with any necessary repair parts.

Let SVI be your automotive repair parts partner, whether you need air compressor controls, brake lathe, or lift parts. SVI is here to help you with your car shop’s needs!

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