Not surprisingly, since the rise of expensive high technology Auto Service Repair Equipment, many customers choose to purchase used machines. The cost of owning and maintaining a repair facility is extremely high. Many of the popular brands are of such high quality, they last for many years, some can last decades!
Car Lifts is one item that can surely last long-term and can be bought as an alternative to New. This statement is only true if you choose high quality brands such as Rotary, Mohawk, Hunter, Forward and Challenger Lifts. Never choose no-name brands as they are poor quality and have no spare parts availability. When looking for Two Post Car Lift designs, make sure the lift can be seen working or is being sold by an actual Lift Installation Company. Two Post Lifts when removed from service must be stored standing up, this insure the cylinder seals stay round, once laid on the ground flat for a long period, the seals can oval out and once put back in service will leak! Four Post Lift designs are extremely durable but do suffer from cable and bearing issues, many repair shops run lifts without proper maintenance. A close inspection of pulleys, bearing and cables is a good start when inspecting a used Four Post Car Lift, also inspect the cylinder and piston area for oil seepage, many that have been leaking long term have collected a haze of dirt around the cylinder. Rebuilding of main cylinders on a four post design may be required before installation.
Alignment Machines have become more complex in recent years, AMA only recommends Hunter and Rotary brands as potential used options. Hunter Engineering in 2020 announced all older Automotive Alignment Machines will have spare parts phased out with the exception being the Hunter HawkEye and Hunter Hawkeye Elite Models, do not even consider buying older 411, 611 or 811 models. Any Hunter Aligner prior to the Hawkeye Series of machines is a waste of money, if they break, No more parts! Rotary Lift now sells alignment machines which are of high quality and made in Italy. Rotary Lift has a 95 year history of making high quality machines and part supports will be offered Long Term. Hunter and Rotary brands also have Service Technicians Nationwide, most other brands have nearly no technical support.
Tire Changers and Wheel Balancers are a mixed bag as a potential used option for your shop. Tire Changers are mechanical machines with few electrical parts and if you are buying a good brand, can be serviced by any mechanic. Air hoses dry and crack on Tire Machines, once you fix one leak on an old machine, guarantee another leak will be popping up soon. Once you get a leaky tire machine, replace All Air Hoses. Some older Hunter Tire Changers have Air Motors, stay away from these machines, they cost thousands of dollars to repair. Obviously, only high quality brands with parts support should be considered, Never buy China made. Wheel Balancers are very difficult to repair, all the internals are complex electronics and only a few people know how to service them, even top brands rarely keep every electrical component stocked. I would suggest a used tire machine purchase but only a few wheel balancers are known for to last long term.
Call us at Automotive Machine Advisors, we will do our best to get your shop high quality used equipment.