Most guys just accumulate a few hand tools and maybe some little ramps to run their Corolla onto so they can change their own oil. But you’re different. You want to build a real shop. Where do you start?
Get It Up in the Air
For safety and stability when you do real work on cars and trucks, you need lifts that are rated for the heaviest vehicles you’ll be working on. There are lifts that can lift up to 14,000 pounds – enough for a loaded commercial work truck. Another common load rating is 7,000 pounds, which works out to three and a half tons – plenty of capacity for a full size pickup truck, even if they leave their stuff in the bed. Be sure to check out the capacity of your concrete pad when you have it poured, as the weight per square foot will be a lot more than your living room furniture.
Go On a Bender
Custom exhaust work is a lucrative area if you’re doing commercial work, or a lot of fun if you’re doing work for yourself. The bendpak automotive pipe bender line allows you to create custom exhaust components that can increase the power of your car or truck. Custom pipes also make quite a statement late at night, so make sure you’re installing the right mufflers.
Tools With More Power
You’ll want to invest in a quality air compressor system, unless part of your game plan is to end up with forearms like Popeye. The pros use pneumatic tools because they can’t stop to replace batteries or rest their muscles. Air power drives all kinds of wrenches, along with tire mounting (and of course, pumping up tires), so make sure and buy a system that has enough capacity.
Clean Up With Your Own Garage
If you’re doing this for a living, we hope you’re cleaning up financially, but either way you’ll have to clean up oil spills and other fluids. Cat litter can be used to soak up small spills and prevent slips and falls, but used fluids need to be put back into bottles or cans and recycled. In small quantities, your local auto parts store will often take these waste products, but if you’re doing it on a commercial scale you’ll need to contract with a waste disposal company.
The right tools and equipment will make for a safe and efficient shop. Investing in a few essential things will pay off for years to come.