I often see off-brand equipment selling for much lower prices than the popular brand equipment. Do you have any advice regarding off-brand tools?
"Quick and simple: I purchased a set of box-open end Husky Tools for my box. It is not a common name, but has a common manufacturer—Stanley-MAC tools. Sometimes you can cut cost without cutting quality. And, there are hundreds of examples like this in the auto tool world. A little research on your end before purchase will serve you well."
I need to upgrade my shop's alignment machine, but I'm not sure I'm ready to invest in something new. What are some good resources for finding good pre-owned shop equipment?
"Check your local and regional tire distributors to see if any of their clients have upgraded alignment equipment. Another source: the classified department of regional or national automotive magazines or newspapers. Always make sure that there is some type of warranty with your newer-used alignment machine. I can't think of anything worse than to purchase a piece of equipment and not able to use it."
Have an automotive service-related question for Pam Oakes? Email it to Tire Business reporter William Schertz at [email protected]
ASE-certified technician Pam Oakes is the owner of Pam's Motor City Auto & Tire Center, an award-winning automotive service business in Fort Myers, Fla. She also is the author of the book series Car Care for the Clueless and hosts a weekly radio talk show by the same name on CBS Radio's The Sky and CoachMeRadio. And yes, she still "turns wrenches."