What Complete Shop Equipment List is Needed to Open an Auto Repair Store?

Are you looking for a guide to the items your new shop will need on day one? Get started with this auto repair shop equipment list.

When you’re getting ready to open an independent auto shop, you’ll need to ensure it’s adequately stocked. Having high-quality auto repair equipment at your disposal will make it easier for your technicians to do their jobs. As a result, they’ll be able to complete their work more efficiently, keeping your customers satisfied and increasing your car count.

Get started with this auto repair shop equipment list, which covers everything from the auto repair basics to more complex (and expensive) types of equipment.


Transmission Jack

Anyone with an auto shop needs some way to lift vehicles to take care of underside repairs. Jacks are a great way to take care of these tasks (but should be in addition to having a lift, as you’ll read about later).

Not all jacks are created equal, so it’s imperative to be sure you have the right jack for the task you’re trying to complete. As you might expect, transmission jacks are ideal for working on a vehicle’s transmission. You can use a high-lift jack and a vehicle lift, or a low-profile jack in combination with jack stands.

Do you already have a floor jack for your shop? If so, you may not need to buy a new transmission jack to go with it. Instead, consider the possibility of using a transmission jack adapter (though it should be noted that not all jacks work with these products).


A commercial-grade press is a must for anyone working with metal, from welders to jewelry makers. In your garage, you’ll rely on presses to separate rusted parts and straighten components that have been bent out of shape.

Along with their more obvious uses, presses can make your shop more eco-friendly. When you’re dealing with used oil filters, you’ll need to drain them before throwing them away–but it’s difficult to drain these filters completely with conventional methods. Instead, crushing oil filters will totally remove any remaining oil in just a few moments.

Brake Lathe

By their very nature, drivers’ brakes are constantly wearing out. That means your technicians will probably spend a lot of their time repairing brake components like rotors and drums. Instead of letting someone else handle your resurfacing needs, invest in a brake lathe to save time and money on these jobs.

Oil Drain and Caddy

When you plan to work with vehicles, you’ll need to be ready to handle and dispose of used oil safely. A press can allow you to drain old oil filters thoroughly, but you need somewhere to put the unwanted oil, too. That’s where oil drains and caddies come in–these devices are ideal for removing and transporting oil from cars at your shop.

Strut Compressor

The techs at your shop will also commonly deal with suspension problems, which means they’ll have to have access to a strut compressor. These pieces of equipment specialize in reducing the size of springs, making them as simple as possible to remove. Since springs can be dangerous when they aren’t dealt with properly, be sure your strut compressor is reliable and durable enough to take care of this task.

Air Conditioning Machine

You’ll need to have equipment that can recover, recycle, and recharge the A/C systems in your customers’ vehicles. These pieces of equipment don’t always come cheap, but they’re indispensable if you want to offer air conditioning service at your shop.

Air Compressor

In today’s professional garages, some standard pieces of equipment include vehicle lifts and pneumatic hand tools. But there’s a catch: these types of equipment can’t operate without a bit of help. That help will come from your shop’s very own air compressor.

Since an air compressor will play a crucial role in the operation of other types of equipment in your shop, you can’t afford to skimp on capacity. Pick up the highest-capacity air compressor your budget can reasonably cover to ensure you have the power you need. As a rule of thumb, aim to pick up a compressor in at least the 60- to the 120-gallon range.

Vehicle Lift

No well-stocked auto shop is complete without a vehicle lift. This piece of equipment raises cars, allowing techs to quickly take care of inspections and diagnostics involving vehicles’ undersides.

Your lift will likely become the centerpiece of your garage, so it’s essential to buy one that meets your needs. Pick your lift based on whether it has two-post or four-post construction, its lifting capacity, what safety features it delivers, the accessories it’s compatible with, what its power requirements are, and other variables.

No matter what lift you settle on, the most crucial element of the purchase process for this type of equipment is buying a lift from a trusted brand. Your shop’s lift is an investment, and it needs to last for years to come. By purchasing a name-brand lift, you can be sure parts and services will be widely available throughout your lift’s lifespan.

Engine Hoist

Sometimes, you’ll need to remove an engine from a vehicle to give it the attention it requires. When you have to remove or transport an engine, an engine hoist is the best tool for the job.

There are three types of engine hoists to choose from: hydraulic, chain, and electric hoists.

Hydraulic hoists are affordable, easy to use, and have low maintenance requirements. Because of that, they are the most popular hoist variety on the market.

Battery Charger

Not every repair your techs will handle will involve heavy lifting and in-depth repairs. Sometimes, a customer will simply need you to take care of their car’s battery and charging problems. As a professional garage, you should have access to something more advanced than a set of jumper cables. Instead, it’s wise to invest in a standalone battery charger and jumper.

Jack Stands

If your garage has a hydraulic jack (or any other type of jack, for that matter), you shouldn’t use it alone. Pick up a trustworthy set of jack stands to support vehicles while using your jack.

Increase Technician Efficiency

There are countless types of automotive equipment out there, which means a single article can’t cover everything your technicians might need. However, if you have all the items featured on this auto repair shop equipment list, you should be off to a great start.

With that said, even the best equipment can’t maximize your garage’s efficiency on its own. When their workflow is interrupted, techs can find it difficult to turn over jobs quickly. Along with buying the right equipment, you’ll need to find a way to minimize interruptions for your team.

To increase car count, create consistent work for techs, streamline your workflows, and market your shop, consider Unite Equipment as a partner.