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Part 6 of our Auto Shop Equipment Essentials list is spotlighting Parts Washers. No shop can do without at least some type of Parts Cleaner. There are constant questions customers have when it comes to parts cleaners. The most common is – What type should I get?
The answer to that question requires some follow up questions from the person selling you the parts washer. A good sales person will attempt to better determine your application to fit you with the best choice for your situation. They won’t just try and sell you what they have in stock or the most expensive machine they can.
What kind of parts are you cleaning? How frequently are you cleaning parts? How big are the parts? Are the parts manufactured out of plastic, or do they have a painted surface? Is there any component that might not be compatible with certain solvents? What kind of dirt are you attempting to remove from the parts? Is it grease and oil, or some other type of dirt? Do you want a water based (Aqueous) Parts Washer or a solvent based parts washer?
That last question is one of the most important ones. Solvent parts washers have traditionally been the type found in most auto shops. But as disposal of waste detergent becomes more difficult and expensive, water based parts washers have rapidly grown in popularity. They require a larger up-front cost, but will eventually save you lots of money on detergent. Water based detergents come as a concentrate, and typically you would mix it 1 to 6 with water. The knock against water based detergents is that they don’t clean as well as solvent (hydrocarbon) based detergents. But with some of the better modern water based detergents, as long as it is the proper concentrate, and as long as your parts washer has a heater, you should be able to clean as effectively as solvent.
What type of parts washer should you get? A drum mount model, sink basin style, or top loading agitated models are all available. If you need to clean larger parts, with tough baked on grime, a spray wash cabinet may be in order. A Spray Wash Cabinet will do all the work for you so you don’t have to scrub away at the parts.
What ever type you get, don’t try to take the cheap way out. Inferior pumps and inferior finishes that leave you with chipping paint will leave you wishing you spent a few extra bucks for a quality machine.
For many years, since the Bush administration, the US has been attempting to close a free trade agreement with South Korea. Many European nations already have trade agreements with Korea, and the US and Korea were having difficulty closing a deal. This led to concerns that the US would be at a considerable competitive disadvantage.
Negotiators were finally able to agree to terms with Korea on November 3rd, and congress will finalize the agreement early next year. This means an increase in opportunity for jobs in the USA, as trade barriers and tariffs will be lifted and sales to Korean consumers will increase. The hope for the Automotive industry is that car sales will increase to Korea, as well as the aftermarket parts market along with automotive equipment, such as Car Lifts, parts washers, floor jacks and air compressors. Korea is one of the leading economies in the world, and their demand would welcome the high quality products that American workers produce. The US labor market is one of the most skilled in the world.
This follows the last significant trade agreement, which was the USA / Columbia Free Trade Agreement. We’ll keep you posted on any future deals.
Being in the automotive service equipment sales business for over 14 years now, we’ve seen a lot. One trend we’ve been seeing more frequently lately is the self service auto shop.
This is an interesting idea that we think will catch on more and more in the future as car owners who want to save money. It should also be popular with those who like tinkering on their own cars, but don’t want to invest in all of the expensive equipment that is necessary to be a full service shop.
Sometimes it’s just a case where a car owner used to work on his own car back when vehicles were simpler to repair, and they grew out of touch with all of the modern technological advances. Sometimes it caters to the customer who used to work on his car, but during better economic times in years past, deferred that work to the professionals, but now that money is more scarce, they would prefer to go back to working on their own vehicle.
Whatever the reason, these shops are springing up all over the country.
Case in point, a recent article in the Charlotte Observer points to a garage in north Charlotte aptly named, “Fix It Yourself Garage”.
The great thing is, if you are fairly proficient at some of the common aspects of servicing a vehicle, but need supervision, they will walk you through it, assuring that the job is done right, and best of all, at a much more reasonable price. Typical pricing will run about $20 per hour, and includes disposal of fluids. Plus, you can bring in your own parts to save even more money. Sure beats the $80 per hour you find at the car dealership, doesn’t it?
Plus, with less new cars selling these days, these older vehicles out on the roads need more service than ever. The average vehicle age has worked it’s way up to over ten years old, vs 8 years back in the 1990’s.
Now, the average Joe can have access to full service Car Lifts, along with all of the best auto shop tools and equipment on the market, including hand tools, parts washers, Tire Changers, brake lathes and more. Basically, you can have a fully outfitted auto shop at your disposal anytime you want. And you’ll get expert instruction as well as be able to meet with others with similar interests. The one concern for owners of these kinds of shops is liability. Insurance could tend to be a prohibitive cost.
Keep an eye on this trend. We predict this trend will expand.