So you’re hoping to start your tire repair business. Given the constant beatdown the average wheel bears daily, you’re looking at a very profitable business. A tire shop is also a more economical option over opening a full-suite auto repair center. You can operate in a relatively smaller space, even from the comforts of your garage.
However, this implies that you’re a tire specialist. You need to have the right tools for the trade. If you want to know what pieces of equipment your tire shop should have, here’s a brief rundown:
At the least, a tire changer should be able to mount and dismount tires off the rim. Various types of tire-changing equipment are for sale on the market, and they differ based on the make and size of the automobile’s wheels. For your beginning tire shop, the simple semi-automatic tire changer might fit best because of its small operating footprint.
You will also need a handy air compressor in your garage for various purposes but mainly for inflating tires. A two-stage compressor will probably bear the load best, as compared to a single-stage compressor meant for lighter use or a tire inflator that’s only suited for tire use. Note that you will also need an air hose, Teflon tape, fittings, and a filter for the outlet coupler.
Wheel and tire-balancing machines center the wheel to determine where to equalize weight so that it stays balanced and runs smoothly at higher speeds. These help operators detect vibrations caused by irregular tire wear or bent wheel and tire. Choose a balancing machine that has a small chassis and gives ultra-accurate readouts by simulating all balancing modes and road conditions.
Once you detect anomalies with the balancing machine, you can fix it by applying wheel weights. These balance the wheel and tire and extends the life of your bearings, shocks, and other parts of your suspension system.
A brake lathe for your professional garage is essential for fixing thickness variations on the brake rotor caused by uneven contact or corrosion. There are on-car lathes and off-car lathes. Both are high-maintenance tools that tend to get misaligned from debris or frequent use. They can also be space-consuming, so consider buying one an investment for your shop.
You’ll have to have different wheel weights depending on the car’s rim profile. You might also need a rim gauge to determine this.
Your shop will also constantly adjust and align a vehicle’s suspension system. Thus, wheel aligners are essential. Your chosen wheel alignment system must be able to measure camber and toe alignment.
Also, since cars today are built with advanced driver assistance systems or ADAS, performing mechanical alignments should not tamper with these preset safety features.
Safety cages are more precaution hardware than an actual garage tool. These cages keep you safe from untimely tire explosions, mainly if your air compressor or tire inflator is manually operated or doesn’t have an auto-shutdown feature. These cages also save wheels and tires from deflation, deformation, or damage if they are otherwise stacked or leaned.
Aside from these, you will need a hoist, jack stands, torque and lug wrenches, bead seaters, and a trusty toolbox replete with sockets, ratchets, splitters, scalers – the whole bunch.
As much as space is an issue for your small and starting tire shop, you’ll have to remember that it’s about skills. If you know what your client needs, then they will coming back.