Auto Service World
News   March 23, 2023   by Greg Aguilera

From the Magazine: Workshop equipment: What you need to know

Having the right equipment in your shop means being safe and more efficient

Let’s talk about equipment. There are things you need to know to give your team the best opportunity to do the job right the first time.

As you’re either designing, building or updating a facility, the right equipment is a necessity. You know from your own experience what it’s like to have the unpleasant task of dealing with poor quality or unreliable equipment.

In general, most modern equipment is pretty good. But there are differences that should be taken into consideration when choosing equipment for your facility.

Let’s look at some key equipment for the typical North American shop.


You don’t want to compromise on quality here. And don’t confuse quality with price. The price doesn’t necessarily impact the quality. You need to know the purpose of your hoist. It’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario.

First, figure out what kind of shop you are. For those shops that say they do it all, you need to ensure that you’re getting the hoist that best fits the vehicles you’re servicing

Air systems

As we see more technician tool kits being driven electrically, the need for huge reserves of air in the system may not be needed. If you have, or are considering, air doors then this will play a part in how your air system is configured and how the reserve system or backup system might look.

I normally suggest repair shops have a main and then a small backup, both feeding a common system.

Wheel and tire equipment

Return on investment is key with all equipment. Wheel and tire equipment represent the fastest, or should I say, most obvious payback calculation for most workshops.

With so many options available, I tend to lean toward what I would call a semi-automated machine that will do the heavy lifting and guide the operator so they stay in control over every aspect of the tire change. But get one with a wheel lifter — tire sizes are not going down; they’re only getting bigger.

Battery chargers

From a cost-per-use perspective, this is the most used piece of equipment in the workshop. When you fully charge a battery during service that is a complete value-add to your customer.

Bench systems

Not only do bench systems contribute to the aesthetic of the workshop, but also to its efficiency.

Be wary of manufacturers claiming they have the “most” storage. In a well-run, properly organized workshop, there’s no need for excessive amounts of storage on a technician workbench.

The important items you should keep in mind when thinking about a bench system are: Space for a computer; great lighting; storage for everyday tools; battery charger (if not fitted to your 2-post hoist)

Oil drainers and AC machines can also be stored once for every three to five bays, depending on the use of the workshop.

One other item I’ve discovered to increase the overall efficiency of the workshop is the integration of sinks every three to five bays. This ensures hand cleaning is accessible for the team so they’re not leaving the workshop to clean up — an added efficiency.

When designing your workbench system, it’s key to think about the processes in place and to ensure your workplace is as efficient as possible.

Greg Aguilera is a director of IAC Canada, an organization dedicated to the management development of repair shops in Canada.

This article originally appeared in the February issue of CARS.

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