Dan and Tom Tarkus, owners of Tarkus Complete Auto in Milwaukee, have been in business for 25 years; they started the shop as a speed shop for air-cooled VWs and Porsches. Their shop is remarkably clean and organized, with three main bays, a machine shop, and room to work on up to four more vehicles in a pull-through area alongside the bays.
They have evolved from speed into a specialist shop; specialties include diagnostic work, transmission work and especially import jobs, with emphasis towards European vehicles. The rest of their business is their own regular customers, and they do all repairs on any make.
They have three main toolboxes for the shop, one that holds their diagnostic equipment, scan tools and computer with Mitchell 1 connection, a second for basic hand and power tools, and the third holds more hand tools, but also a host of specialty tools and various pullers.
The diagnostic toolbox is next to the first bay, which has become the main bay for jobs that will be scan tool intensive. The diagnostic specialty work they get is credited to the fact that they spend money on diagnostic tools and updates every year.
“Basically a guy could do about everything” with the Mastertech, Dan said. (Theirs is Vetronix, the tool is now made by Bosch.)
“With this [Mastertech], you can test vehicle charging systems, it’s an ohmmeter and voltmeter, you can do temperatures, low voltages and high voltages … it even comes with a pressure transducer, works as a four-channel scope, does ignition systems,” Dan said, adding that having so much in one tool is a big time and space saver in the shop.
One time saver they’ve created in the shop is in their oil change area. Aside from just storing the oil filter wrenches and other lube equipment in one area, the oil disposal drain actually runs used oil to holding tanks behind the shop that then pump what’s needed back into the shop’s waste-oil shop heater. The way it is set up, the system does not take up any usable shop space (the drain line to the outside tanks runs behind a wall).
Dan and Tom have recently begun reviewing tools for PTEN, so look for more from these guys in future issues.
Dan & Tom's Top 10:
1. Vetronix (now Bosch) Mastertech
2. Launch CReaderV
3. Mitchell 1 subscription
4. Snap-on air ratchets
5. Mac Tools ET-50 code reader
6. Redline SmokePro
7. GearWrench combination ratcheting wrenches
8. Midtronics battery/charging system analyzer
9. Sunex crowfoot wrenches
10. Makita cordless screwdriver