9 Essentials for the Ultimate Garage

Growing up in Northern Minnesota our garage at home consisted of a floor jack and an air compressor. Today many car enthusiasts are building the “Ultimate Garage”. But what should be included? Here’s my list!

1. Automotive Lift

This may sound crazy to the average person, but to the automotive enthusiast an automotive lift should be on the must have list. When designing your garage make sure you install vaulted trusses or have enough headroom to accommodate a lift. In reality, a lift is not that expensive. For $2,500 to $5,000 (£1606 to £3212) you can install an above ground model. Check out certified lifts by the Automotive Lift Institute.

2. Master Tool Set

I’m not talking about just a simple wrench and ratchet set here…get a master tool set so you are prepared and enjoy your work. A master set includes wrenches, ratchets, sockets, pliers, screwdrivers, hammers, pry bars, tire tools, measuring tools, electrical tools, cutting tools, oil change tools, inspection tools, and diagnostic tools. Nothing is more frustrating than looking for a tool and wasting time doing it…so keep your tools organized!

3. Tool Chest

To keep your tools organized, look for a tool chest that has slip mats in the drawers, swivel castors, security lock, and ball bearings sliders for the drawers.

4. Air Compressor and Tools

Pneumatic tools can make a difficult job easy…and considerably faster. Consider how long pit stops would be in a race if the pit crew had to use manual tools. Air ratchets, impact wrenches, cut-off tools, blower nozzles, and other air powered tools need a high quality air compressor to handle this job.

5. Car Creeper

If you can’t afford an auto lift or your garage isn’t conducive to one, invest into a quality creeper. It sure beats lying on your back on a cold concrete floor.

6. Wheel Dollies

Restoring a classic car can take years. Consider purchasing wheel dollies so you can maneuver your car around the shop while the engine is being rebuilt.

7. Engine Cranes and Engine Stands

And to get your engine out, a quality engine crane will be needed. Don’t trust an engine being lifted out and supported by a substandard device. SGS Engineering manufactures engine cranes and engine stands for professionals and Do-It-Yourselves.

8. Vehicle Service Manuals

Whether you have a classic car or modern sports car, invest in a vehicle service manual to assist with the task. You can purchase online service manuals, consumer service manuals (like Haynes or Chilton), or professional dealership manuals.

9. Safety Equipment

Even if you act safely, you will eventually get a cut or bruise. First Aid Kits are inexpensive and a must for every shop. Who should you trust for your safety needs – the Red Cross. Get an all purpose fire extinguisher – ABC rated – for your garage. An ABC rated fire extinguisher will put out A fires (trash, wood, paper), B fires (gasoline/petro, oil, grease), and C fires (electrical). Learn more about how fire extinguishers work at “How Stuff Works”. Safety glasses, goggles, face shields, disposable gloves, earmuffs, and earplugs are also must. Keep them handy and get in the habit of using them.

About the Blogger

Michael Gray is co-author of Auto Upkeep – a basic car care curriculum used by over 500 schools and thousands of homeschoolers in the United States and Canada. You can become a “Fan” of Auto Upkeep at Facebook.com/AutoUpkeep.

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Auto Upkeep 4th Edition

Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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