Essential Car Body Shop Equipment & Repair Tools
Jan 10, 2022
Car body shops and detailers are essential businesses within the automotive industry. Vehicles require regular maintenance to keep them in roadworthy condition, compliant with laws, and prevent breakdowns and accidents. An annual service at a professional garage, often paired with an MOT, is one of the best ways to maintain a car. A complete repair is recommended if an accident occurs to avoid further issues down the line.
This is where body shops and detailers provide valuable services to drivers. Generally speaking, an auto body shop specialises in fixing significant damage to the car. Detailers are often associated with extensive cleaning and minor repairs such as dents and scratches. However, there is plenty of crossover between the two, and the type of services offered will depend on each business. Regardless, both types of businesses are vital for keeping vehicles in a high-quality condition.
So, what types of car body repair tools and equipment do automotive businesses use to carry out repairs and maintenance jobs? From spray guns to heat lamps, there are several tools that body shops and detailers find essential. This guide will look at some of the crucial body shop equipment…
If you operate a car body shop or are thinking of setting one up in the future, there are several considerations to consider to ensure your operations run smoothly. Perhaps most importantly, you need to consider what services you want to offer and your maximum capacity. For instance, will you carry out advanced repairs, paint resprays and MOTs, or just a small selection of jobs? Will you need a SMART repair heat lamp, allowing you to complete minor repairs without replacing full panels? Do you intend to be able to work on multiple requests from customers at any single time, or will you be limited? Many of the answers to these questions will depend on the demand in your local area. The population, competing businesses and accident rate are just a few factors determining how busy your body shop will be.
For body shops and detailers, productivity, cost and time are three critically important elements. Your business only makes money when a job is completed and the vehicle is returned to the customer. As a body shop, you will want to swiftly move on from one car to another, while the customer will want their prized possession back in their hands as soon as possible. With that said, you cannot sacrifice quality for speed, and it’s essential to get the job done right, especially when customer retention and word of mouth are crucial.
Investing in the right equipment will help you increase productivity, improve the smoothness of your operations, automate processes, and free up your staff’s time to work on other tasks. Ultimately, it will save you time and money and ensure that you can continually accept new work on an ongoing basis.
So let’s get into the thick of it! Below is a summary of just some of the different types of equipment that auto body shops may use. We will update this guide regularly, so keep checking back to discover more car body repair tools!
Body Repair Kit
First and foremost, a body repair kit should be the number one priority for any body shop. This kit is a pack containing some of the most essential stuff needed to carry out a car body repair. The pack’s contents may vary, but typically, it will include a hand pump, extension tubes, attachments, a serrated saddle, and a hydraulic ram. It often comes with a carry case so you can quickly and efficiently carry everything you need in one storage box.
There are several reasons why a vehicle’s bodywork may need a fresh lick of paint, such as if it has been involved in an accident. Even if a part is replaced, a paint job may be required if the colours do not match. Drivers may also opt for a respray if they fancy a change in style. Whatever the reason, it is highly recommended that car owners hire a professional to respray their car, as DIY attempts can look shoddy and reduce the car’s value. One of the best ways to paint a car is with a dedicated spray gun built for the automotive industry. Spray guns are designed to achieve precise results, lightweight operation and fast cycle times.
Before you apply paint to a car, it’s important to smooth the surface with an air sander. A sander helps smooth the bodywork, apply polish and buff, and remove any old paint or varnish. You can invest in several sanders, including an orbital sander, a belt sander, a straight line sander, and a mini sander. When finding the perfect sander, you must consider high manoeuvrability, precise performance and comfortable handling.
Infrared Heat Lamp
We are quite the experts when it comes to infrared heat lamps! One of the last parts of the car repair process is allowing time for the paint to dry and cure. However, air drying can take too long, which is why most garages use a professional solution. Due to its powerful heat source, an infrared lamp can cure paint in just a few minutes compared to several hours. Infrared curing lamps are the optimal SMART repair equipment for body shops. They are designed with productivity and efficiency, ensuring that vehicles are quickly returned to customers and work can commence on another job.
Body shop equipment is not just about functional tasks like painting and repairing. You also need to consider organising your working environment and maximising storage potential. Damage to a car’s bumper is one of the most common accidents, especially in parking incidents. Due to this, it’s highly likely that at some point, you will need to store replacement bumpers until they can be fitted. The last thing you want is to carelessly place a car bumper only for it to become damaged and unusable. Bumper racks provide vertical storage, helping to keep bumpers off the ground, maintain a tidy environment, and prevent unnecessary damage.
Let’s face it, spraying paint can get extremely messy! You want to avoid getting paint on unintentional surfaces. But more than this, paint can also be a dangerous substance. Paint fumes can irritate the skin, eyes and throat and create a fire hazard. A spray booth is an excellent way to provide a controlled environment when painting a vehicle. Not to mention, the booths also prevent contamination from external particles such as dirt and dust. Lastly, the booth’s controlled environment ensures that paint is applied stably and durably via a consistent air temperature.
Door Removal & Install Stand
Removing or installing a car door can be highly sophisticated, and there’s no room for error. Getting the process wrong can damage the door or the vehicle’s interior. A dedicated door removal & install stand can be really useful for simplifying the process. The stand allows you to singlehandedly install and remove doors with ease. You can align the door and hold it in place while installing it to the hinge.
Paint Thickness Gauge
Another essential piece of body shop equipment when touching up or applying paint to a car is a paint thickness gauge. Getting the painting process right is one of the most critical parts of the process. This paint gauge will help you measure the thickness of the car’s entire paint coating, letting you know how much paint you should apply. If a vehicle’s paintwork is too thick, it can cause several problems like cracks and bumpy surfaces. The gauge can also help you identify if there has been any damage or if the surface has previously been repainted.
Dent Pulling Kit
A dent pulling kit is the perfect car body repair tool for repairing dents of all shapes and sizes. With a dent repair kit, you can repair vehicle dents without the hassle of disassembling or replacing panels. Therefore, a pulling kit will help your bodyshop reduce downtime and increase productivity. Dent repair kits often include two main types of pullers, a suction puller and a glue puller. Suction pullers act like plungers by attaching to the surface and pulling outwards to remove the dent. Glue pullers, on the other hand, involve glueing a flat pulling tab onto the surface. You can twist the handle to pull the tab up and away, fixing the dent. Dent pulling kits are best suited for minor dents. Otherwise, a more professional repair may be required. Repair kits will include everything you need to fix the dent, such as the glue gun, tabs, hammers, clothes, and alcohol bottles.
Shot Blasting Cabinet
Shot blasting cabinets are another useful car body repair tool that can make the process simpler and quicker. Shot blasting, similar to sandblasting, is an abrasive technique used to smooth or roughen a surface, shape a surface, or remove contaminants such as paint, rust or coatings. A shot blasting cabinet makes it easier to grind, deburr or sand a vehicle’s bodywork. The cabinet usually consists of a metal box with openings, windows and attached gloves. An air or dry blast cabinet uses compressed air, while suction or syphon cabinets use pressurised fluid, air or water.
Air Recirculating Sandblasting Kit
An air recirculating sandblasting kit is an outstanding and affordable product for blasting in a small area. The kit is useful for car bodyshops and is particularly helpful when carrying out SMART repairs on a vehicle. Sandblasting kits usually contain all the valuable components you need, including rubber nozzles, blasting grit bottles, and a spray gun. You can use this product for various reasons, including removing paint, rust, dirt, debris and corrosion from a vehicle’s bodywork. With rubber nozzles of multiple sizes, you can choose a nozzle that bests covers your work area.
If you work underneath a car or need to reach difficult areas, you may require a lifting device to lift the vehicle off the ground. Lifting devices are excellent car body repair tools for garages, making it easier, quicker and more convenient to repair or service a car. You can consider several lifts, including the two-post lift, which is one of the most common. This lift has two upright columns on either side of the vehicle. Other post lifts include a single lift and a four-post lift. Each type of post lift has its advantages and disadvantages. Two-post lifts are cheaper and take up less space, while a four-post lift makes it easier to load and position a car. Another type of lift you may be interested in is a scissor lift. Scissor lifts don’t raise vehicles as high as post lifts, but they help you work at a comfortable height. Advantages of scissor lifts include portability, hydraulic controls, and affordable prices.
Trim and Spoiler Kit
Vehicles have many components, some of which can be difficult to work with. As a body shop, you will know how challenging it can be to perform tasks on items that are small, weirdly shaped, and awkward to handle. A trim and spoiler kit is a valuable accessory that can make your life much easier. This equipment can hold components like spoilers, mirrors, fuel caps, and door handles in place while painting or repairing it. The kit makes the process far quicker by securely holding awkward parts. You can complete the required work and quickly rotate the component to cover every bit.
Hammer and Dolly Set
If you want to repair dents to a vehicle’s bodywork, we highly recommend having a hammer and dolly set to hand. This essential body shop equipment will help you repair dents and shape metal, helping you achieve top-quality results. The hammer and dolly set will often include hammers and dollies of varying sizes, helping you complete all vehicle repairs and dent removals. The set will also have a case so you can easily store the tools and access them when needed. The hammer and dolly set is an affordable yet valuable product for bodyshop experts and DIY enthusiasts.
Another vital body shop equipment is an air compressor, which can be bought at most tools and machinery stores. An air compressor is a device that uses power to create compressed air. Air compressors can help inflate tyres, spray paint, sanding, nailing, stapling, and grinding for automotive garages. When searching for an excellent air compressor, you will want one that is highly reliable, guarantees low noise, and incorporates an anti-vibration design.
Working in a garage can involve paint sprays, welding and using extraction booths, so you will likely need adequate ducting solutions. Ducting is needed wherever an extraction system is used. The ducting provides a passage for substances to transfer from one point to another. For example, an exhaust hose safely handles toxic fumes to protect workers from inhaling harmful pollutants. There are various websites where you can shop around for commercial-grade ducting supplies.
Now that you know more about the range of car body repair tools, why not invest in an infrared lamp? We sell cutting-edge infrared drying solutions worldwide, specialising in supplying automotive businesses such as car body shops and detailers. We are trusted by some of the biggest names in the industry, including McLaren, Nissan, Mercedes, Toyota, and BMW.
Our cost-effective lamps can help your business grow due to their many benefits. Infrared paint curing lamps are guaranteed to maximise your efficiency, improve finish quality, increase productivity, and save time and money. Due to their strong power and time-saving advantages, the lamps also make the perfect SMART repair equipment! Upgrade to an InfraTech lamp, and you will be on the way to offering customers the best possible service, allowing them to receive their vehicle in perfect condition in no time.