ArchivesApril, 2011 | Car Lift Blog - Part 2
BendPak is always on the leading edge of innovation. They are one of the premier car lift and automotive equipment manufacturers in the world. So when they came out with their new adjustable width XPR10 Two Post Lift, we said, “Here they go again”.
For quite a few years now, BendPak has made their two post lifts in both a narrow and a wide configuration. Some shops are tight on floor space, and the narrow model is perfect for those situations. We recommend most customers go with a wide model. As long as you have the floorspace, it’s a no brainer. It just makes life so much easier in every way. you can open your doors wider, drive in between the columns easier, and just plain work around the vehicle easier.
Well now you don’t have to decide which one to get! You can get the adjustable width model, and determine which width to set it at when you assemble it. Now you can make the decision of which width to set it up at the time you assemble it. Now you don’t have to worry if you got the wrong size lift. Simply set it up once you get it once you’ve assessed your available floor space as compared to the lift.
You can set it up at the wide setting, which gives you 145 inches from outermost point to outermost point, which is the flanged out base plates at the bottom of each post. The narrow setting would keep you at 132 inches wide. There are asymmetric, and symmetric car lift models available. The asymmetric option has the ability to position the vehicle symmetric as well, so you get the best of both worlds.
Once again, BendPak is leading the way when it comes to innovation.
The hazards of highway driving are evident on many freeways here in the USA. Last year there was a massive wreck on a California freeway brought on by fog and poor visibility. Last Friday, there was a huge 80 car pile-up on a highway in Germany that claimed the lives of over 80 people that was caused by a freak sand storm. You can view some video for coverage from NBC of the incident below. All it takes is one inattentive driver during low visibility situations to cause a chain reaction crash.
What can we do do prevent these tragic and costly events from occurring? Probably the most important thing is pay attention. Drivers are so distracted by modern electronic appliances. Increase time and space between you and the driver in front of you. And slow down, especially when encountering low visibility conditions. Otherwise you may find yourself in a situation where you car is up on an Automotive Lift, getting some body work done. Consider yourself lucky if that’s all that happens too.
In a seemingly futile attempt to decrease the amount of fuel Americans burn each year, the government has increased the allowed percentage of Ethanol in gasoline. The maximum percentage mixture previously was 10 percent. This caused all kinds of problems especially for small engines as it ruins components such as seals, gaskets and hoses. Engine manufacturers had to modify the components in order to prevent harm to them.
Now the government has increased the allowable ethanol percentage to 15 percent. This change will once again raise headaches for consumers and technicians alike as the increase will cause similar problems for engines and fuel systems once again. Our CarbonClean Fuel System Cleaner by Motorvac is a great piece to add to your auto shop to help clean out the fuel sysem from all the gum and deposits that build up in your fuel system.
One other side effect from this increased demand for corn based ethanol is that it is causing corn prices to go up. US Reserves are at their lowest point in 15 years because of increased demand from ethanol producers. Corn prices are skyrocketing and products made from corn are following suit.
The big secret is that it actually costs (in terms of energy) more per gallon to produce ethanol than the savings that it provides. From the machines that plant and harvest the corn to the actual chemical process that converts corn to ethanol, we end up burning more fuel creating the fuel substitute. So we must ask the obvious question, why would we continue to produce it? If it’s strictly for political reasons, and it provides us with an artificial sense of accomplishment that we are doing something about the energy issue, then we need to start taking a harder look at our policies.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you’ve most likely noticed that fuel prices at the pump have been steadily increasing. Some folks blame it on the problems in the middle east. Others blame it on “greedy oil companies”. Others site the cause as being related to the simple rule of supply and demand. Countries like China, India and Brazil are growing exponentially and therefore require more energy to fuel their growth. If that’s the case, there’s little we could do here in the US to slow the rate of growth in the price of a barrel of oil. Except maybe produce more of our own oil.
The price of a barrel of crude just topped over $112 a barrel for the first time since 2008. This comes at a time when the national average for a gallon of gasoline hits $3.75 a gallon.
$3.75 seems to be the tipping point according to industry experts when it comes to effecting consumer behavior. They predict that consumers will begin to curb their driving, cutting down on unnecessary trips and driving less miles per week. There is some evidence that we are already beginning to see signs of restraint when it comes to consumer behaviour already. As a reaction to rising gas prices, consumers are gravitating to purchasing smaller cars. Sales of 4 cylinder cars are up 26% for the 1st quarter of 2011. Hybrid sales are up substantially as well.
Economists worry that the rising costs of fuel will stifle the fledgling economic recovery that has only recently begun to show signs of hope.
Lets hope prices don’t go much higher. Otherwise you may need to stock up on fuel in our John Dow Gas Caddy shown below. Anybody remember those odd / even days and gas lines from back in the 1970’s?
The earthquake in Japan has caused industry experts to lower their ratings for Toyota. In the wake of this, along with the anemic economy, and the recall issues last year, Toyota can’t seem to catch a break. They just announced plans to shutdown their North American plants. Toyota claims the parts shortage due to the disaster in Japan has caused this move at least in part. They indicate that the North American manufacturing should begin shutting down as early as late April.
This is not only devastating news to all those employees directly effected by the shutdowns, but also local businesses that offer support. A wide variety of support businesses will be effected by this unfortunate occurrence. Everyone from local cleaning companies who clean the offices of the American facilities, to vendors who supply food and drink to the staff, to parts suppliers, and even the local municipalities who rely on the property taxes that they pay.
Others effected would be Toyota car owners. They may have difficulty getting parts for their cars. When they have their vehicle up on a Car Lift, and they’re waiting for a component to get the job done, it’s a hassle for everybody involved. Of course any time there is a shortage of parts, there’s also a possibility of pricing increases as well.
One other concern is a shortage of new Toyota automobiles. Some vehicles will be affected more than others. For instance the Prius is almost completely manufactured in Japan. Toyota is working on solutions to this problem but it will be slow going for the immediate future.
This tragic event shows there are many repercussions to a local event like this in this new global economy that spread well beyond it’s own borders.
People often ask us to post their automotive industry related events. They have tuned up their show cars on their Automotive Lifts and are ready to show them off. So here is a list of upcoming events –
April 8thTri State BBQ and Music Festival in Dothan, AL – at the Houston County Farm Center. Lots of classic rides will be there. 334-669-1475
April 16 – Main Street Car and Tractor Show in Mount Vernon, KY at the Mount Vernon Elementary School. Trophies, Dash plaques, doors prizes, Food. 606-219-0908
May 2 – 4 Car Care World Expo – at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, NV. Contact is International Carwash Association, Chicago, IL 888-422-8422
May 7th – LA County Music Museum Classic Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show in Marthaville, LA at the Rebel State Historic Site. 888-677-3600
May 18 – 19 Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont IL, Contact Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association 301-654-6664
June 4th 6th Annual EJK Car Show at Xavier High School in Middletown, CT. Food, raffle, DJ, trophies. 860-347-5951
June 5 – McDonald’s Super Saturday Classic Car Contest Pea Ridge AR. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. 479-451-2060
June 7th – Annual Coolfest Car Show on Friday nights. Includes a live band and food vendors and games for the kids. Train rides and more. 205-465-2281
June 18th – 8th Annual The Cars Are The Stars Show in Somers CT at the Pleasant View Cafe and Golf to benefit the Gene Pitney Scholarship fund. Food, trophies, prizes and DJ. 860-872-1818
July 10 – 10th Annual Charity BenefitCar Show in Simsbury CT hosted by the Valley Collector Car Club. Food, vendors, goodie bags, trophies. DRC-FM prize Van will be there. Proceeds donated to local charities. 860-379-4745
If you would like your upcoming event posted in a future post, just send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
No list of must-have auto shop equipment would be complete without mentioning battery chargers. This is a vital component to add to any garage owner’s arsenal of tools and equipment. They are not only needed for charging batteries of disabled vehicles, but also for starting them if necessary.
But what type of Automotive Battery Charger should you get? There are so many different types and styles that a consumer who doesn’t know what he is looking for can be overwhelmed. First course of action is to determine the purposes for your charger. Do you need it just to trickle charge some car batteries, or will you also need it for jump starting cars as well? What type of vehicles will you be using it on? If you’re focusing mainly sports cars, then you probably don’t need a very large or powerful charger. Maybe a bench top charger with a 10 amp maximum charging rate along with a lower 2 amp trickle charging rate when needed will suffice. Then again, if you service a fleet of trucks, you’ll want to make sure that the charger you get has plenty of power and charges at a variety of charging rates, along with a powerful 200 to 300 amp starting rate.
Then there are other features that you may want to consider. Some chargers will have some very useful features that will help you diagnose vehicle charging system problems. Some of these features include a battery load tester to confirm the battery is good. Some chargers can test the alternator to make sure it is supplying voltage to the battery. Some chargers have a timer that will turn it off after a designated time peroid. Others are automatic and will turn off when the battery is fully charged so you don’t have to worry about overcharging the automobile battery. Some chargers are UL approved for outdoor use.
Finally, you’ll want to consider which manufacturer you prefer. There are many fine manufacturers of automotive battery chargers. We carry several that are considered leaders, including Schumacher, Solar, and Christie. Stick with a leader and you can’t go wrong.
We previously posted about in parts 1 through 3 about some of the main staples of any auto shop. Air compressors, car lifts, floor jacks, wheel balancers and tire changers. This post will dive deeper into the shop equipment essentials wish list.
A Tool Box, Tool Cabinet, tool chest is vital to any technician. Most technicians can get by just fine with a moderate sized top tool box with a matching bottom tool cabinet with wheels. Some of the more experienced techs end up getting additional accessories,like a side locker to add to their cabinet. Of course, the box set up you get depends on your needs for storage. If you have a wide selection of tools, you’re going to get a larger box and cabinet combo.
Some recommendations for getting a quality box include –
Check the load capacity rating on the box. A good minimum capacity rating should be about 1200 lbs.
The drawers should be able to handle at least 75 lbs. each.
The drawer slides should slide with ball bearings. Keep looking if the box doesn’t have ball bearing drawer slides.
The box should be constructed of thick gauge steel with double wall construction, or better.
We carry Waterloo tool boxes. They are one of the largest and finest tool box manufacturers in the industry.
There are many fine tool box manufacturers out there. But there are plenty of inferior box manufacturers as well. So do your homework and don’t get burned.
Check out this video link below. It shows a Two Post Lift failure when a van caused the anchors to pull out of the floor and the lift toppled over. Fortunately, nobody was injured in this case and they were able to get the van down with minimal damage.
But this video is worth a good view for illustrating two things. First, how important it is to mount and use a two post lift properly. Second, what to do to safely get the car down once a lift has failed.
We can’t be sure why this lift failed as the makers of the video don’t provide an explanation. Possibilities include inadequate concrete thickness or hardness or possibly improper installation. One other potential possibility is the van started sliding due to unbalanced loading and because most trucks and full-size vans do not provide a flat stable lifting point at the rear. Many truck and van frame rails are inclined as they head up to the shackles and are typically covered with corrosion protection undercoating.
It is possible the operator failed to use frame cradle pads, and the pads did not stay securely in place on the frame rail once the truck started sliding. Then the full weight of the van landing on the lift arms could have created an extreme shock loading condition which would have damaged the lift components severely and caused the column anchors to fail. This is just speculation, but is a potential hazard. Therefore, any lift operator would be wise to use frame cradle pad adapters when raising a truck or van with inclined frame rails.
This is part 3 of this series. Previous posts dealt with car lifts, tire changers, and floor jacks. This post deals with air compressors. No automotive garage is complete without an Air Compressor of some kind. Most shop owners will spring for a 7.5 HP with an 80 gallon tank. But size should be dictated by the amount of air you require. The more technicians and bays you have, the more air you need, and the larger your compressor you will need to be. Don’t skimp when it comes to choosing a compressor for your shop. We’ve dealt with many people over the course of the past 15 years, and we’ve encountered many customers who were looking to save a buck, so they purchased a compressor smaller than they needed. After you get a compressor that is too small is not the time you want too find out that you chose a compressor that is large enough. The only true way to determine the size compressor to get is to take a good look at all of the tools that you will be powering and look at the air requirements of those tools. Add up the CFM requirements of all the tools that may be running at the same time and get a compressor that supplies more air than that.
As a guideline, A typical auto shop with a couple of bays will usually get a 7.5 HP reciprocating air compressor, while larger shops will dictate a larger model. Rotary screw air compressors are a better option for garage owners who desire a compressor with less noise and greater longevity, but you’ll need to have a larger budget because they are more expensive.
Air compressors are probably one of the most important purchases you can make for your shop.