Still the Big Show

Tradeshows in Las Vegas are always big, but in this industry there’s nothing bigger than AAPEX and SEMA.

Like the New York International Auto Show, where automakers introduce new models, AAPEX is where new products for the automotive service industry are unveiled. Usually new tools and equipment are brought to market as soon as they’re ready, because you need them now, so most of the tools we see at the show are familiar. Some are updates or evolutions of familiar tools, but a few are genuinely new. There are usually a few game changers too, the kind that makes you wonder why nobody thought of it before.

For instance, this year I saw a laser that paints a green line on the floor between the posts of a lift. When you pull a car in, the line appears on the hood and dashboard, making it easy to get the car straight and centered between the arms on your first try. For me this one little idea really stands out because, while not exactly low-tech, it’s simple and reliable, and I think it will eventually become a common feature in every shop.

That’s just one of the new things I saw at AAPEX. What did you see?