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Independent vs Dealer Repairs – Which is better?

February 27th, 2011

Your car just broke down on the side of the road on a hot summer day. You called for a tow truck and you must decide where to have them take it. Do you have them bring it to the car dealership service center, or to a local independent repair shop?

There are strong arguments to be made in favor of both. The arguments go deeper, but the basic premise of each is –

Bring your car to the dealer. They know the car better than anyone, plus they have the best trained technicians and the best possible tools and equipment. They have the best Automotive Lifts, Tire changers and alignment machine. Further arguments in dealer’s favor would be that they get the latest updates from the manufacturer, are privy to information that the independent guys wish they could get, and you are less likely to get the 3rd degree when you need to bring it in for warranty coverage service if you’ve been getting your car serviced there all along.

The argument for the independent auto shop is simple. They are more affordable. They typically cost 20 to 40 percent less for the same repairs. Along with the cheaper labor costs, you may also enjoy better customer service from your local shop, as they typically are known to pay more attention to the needs and details of their local neighborhood loyal customer. Independent shop owners will tell you that as long as the shop has been certified through the Automotive Service Excellence program ( then you have assurance that the shop has met very strict standards and has the training and knowledge to get the job done.

So what about you? Do you bring your car to the dealer, or an independent garage?

Automotive Repair Shop

Alignment Machine Features From

April 26th, 2010

Many auto shop owners and service managers are always looking for ways to bring in new revenue. One of the best ways to accomplish that is to get into offering wheel alignment service.

While getting up and running for alignments can require a high capital expenditure initially, it can reap huge rewards down the road. Data shows that offering wheel alignment service is very profitable.

Once you’ve done your research and determined that offering this service is something you wish to do, then the next step is to determine what specific pieces of equipment you will need. First, you will need an alignment lift. There are many different alignment lifts on the market. We’ve covered them before in a previous post here about Alignment Lifts.

The next item that you will need is an alignment machine. There are many good manufacturers of alignment machines. One of them is Ranger. has been carrying alignment machines by Ranger for many years. They are surprisingly affordable and we get great feedback on them.

Some key features to look for are, the number of sensors it has, what type of sensors, what type of wheel clamps it uses and is it hard wired or wireless.  The Ranger model CRT380R alignment machine has 8 sensors. You would prefer an eight sensor model to a six sensor model because if you get in the way of one of the beams, you don’t have to start over. Everybody prefers a wireless model. The last thing you need is a bunch of wires cluttering up your work area. The Ranger alignment machine utilizes Bluetooth technology, which is state of the art and reliable and precise. The wheel clamps utilize heavy duty chrome rods with nickel plated screws and are adaptable to a wide variety of specialized wheels. Of course, probably the most important thing is that it is accurate.

Next, a very important thing for many shop owners and technicians is the support after the purchase. Anybody can sell you a piece of equipment and then forget about it. An alignment machine is a complex piece of machinery and it takes some training to learn how to master it. Ranger offers more than just an instruction manual. They will come out on-site to train you on it and set it up. Then, once you’re up and running, the one year warranty includes on-site service as well. Finally, they offer annual updates.

These are important considerations before determining what machines and which manufacturers to purchase. With such a large initial investment required, you must do your homework.

Ranger Alignment Machine