PTEN tool reviewer Jim Gesell, owner of Gesell’s Automotive Service in Oconomowoc, Wis., has been running his shop for more than 10 years and is now looking to add a bay to improve efficiency.
Driving into the shop, there are three main bays with lifts along the walls, but Jim sees room for another lift just inside the main door for doing “quick services — like oil changes and coolant flushes.
“I’ve moved my bulk oil tanks [next to the proposed service bay], and I’m trying to get it setup to put in another rack here,” Jim said. “I’ve moved the oil filters and air filters over here, so once the rack is in, everything for the oil service tech will be right here.”
Once the quick-service area is finished, Jim will be able to move more complicated jobs into the main racks without worrying about having to take one down to get a quickie oil change done for a customer that chooses to wait.
“I’ve turned this area into the diagnostics stall,” Jim said of his first bay beyond the intended quick-lube space. He houses all the shop’s OE and aftermarket scanners, code readers, etc., in an Extreme Tools toolbox (he found the company through reading PTEN), and has a computer work station setup with online access to use Mitchell OnDemand and Identifix.
Next to the diagnostics equipment is the first of three work stations (each located centrally amongst the bays). One of the things Jim maintains at each bench is a uniform supply of chemicals.
“Every work station I try to keep stocked with the exact same chemicals, in the same places so the tech doesn’t have to search around,” Jim said. “Glass cleaners and glues, lubricants and more.”
In the middle of all the bays, Jim placed his parts washer and keeps the wheel service equipment, parts and tools in easy access nearby as well. The majority of specialty tools are hanging up in easy reach along one wall near the heavy-duty lift, since most of his specialty tools are for heavy-duty applications. Rolling equipment is stored together against one wall across from the bays (BraveVac, A/C machine, coolant machine, welder, EVAP smoke tester and more).
Jim said his favorite tool, the best time-saving device in his shop, is actually at the service desk and not in the bays: VirtualVehicleMD.com from CARQUEST. Virtual Vehicle MD, according to the website, contains “simplified animations of vehicle parts and systems … to easily illustrate over 165 of the most common customer vehicle concerns.”
“I use it often,” Jim said. “The animations help customers understand the service you’re explaining to them that their vehicle needs. It’s helped a lot for me explaining, for instance, about the brake system and why we need to replace calipers when the pistons don’t move smoothly anymore.
“It really helps [customers] understand what’s going on,” Jim said. “It’s a pretty neat program.”
Look for more from Gesell’s Auto as they continue to review tools for PTEN.
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