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Buying An Alignment Machine


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Hey Everyone,

 

I am in the market for a new alignment machine for my shop...

 

There are so many options out there and the price variance between brands is unreal. I have experience with the Hunter Hawkeye, but I don't think that what the machine does is justification for the price.

 

What machines do you guys use? What lifts do you use? Is your alignment bay also used for other work when you are not doing alignments?

 

The Atlas Edge 601 is a great price, but I don't know anyone that used it. Anyone here have any experience w/ it?

 

I don't want to get something used even though I am looking for something affordable.

 

Let me know what you all think...

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I personally use an older Hunter and when I get ready to replace it I will only buy Hunter as we have a really good local repair rep for the basic maintenance. You get exactly what you pay for. I like using a company that has been around a long time with a good name.

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Hi Joey N,

We bought the John Bean/Snap-on aligner several years ago after only using Hunter Aligners for 20 years. I have been very happy with this unit, it's easy to use, fast, accurate and has all the features we use except for steering angle resets. Steering angle reset info we get from Alldata or scan tools. We do between 6 and 8 alignments a day. We upgraded our rack last year and I did stay with a Hunter Rack, it's expensive but they last forever.

I was unsure of making the financial commitment to buying alignment equipment, but when we did our steering/suspension repairs went up significantly. It really was a huge impact to our sales and profits above just alignment sales.

Good luck,

Russ

Tires Too

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Hey Everyone,

 

I am in the market for a new alignment machine for my shop...

 

New or accurate?

 

There are so many options out there and the price variance between brands is unreal. I have experience with the Hunter Hawkeye, but I don't think that what the machine does is justification for the price.

 

Have you done a ROI on it? Have you looked into other work it may bring to offset the ROI (most don't factor this in)

 

What machines do you guys use? What lifts do you use? Is your alignment bay also used for other work when you are not doing alignments?

 

I have a Hunter (non target). Hunter four post. Yes we use it for other work as well.

 

The Atlas Edge 601 is a great price, but I don't know anyone that used it. Anyone here have any experience w/ it?

 

No comment on this equipment

 

I don't want to get something used even though I am looking for something affordable.

 

It may be better then a new unit as well as affordable. You may wish to re think this one.

 

Let me know what you all think...

 

You got it

 

 

The target systems have had an issue for a long time. It may be cleared up soon but I'm not sold on them just yet. They have been pushing speed but not accuracy. This has been the main reason I have held back. 2nd, not much has really changed with doing an alignment that requires new. I have chossen to spend my equipment dollars on equipment that has.

 

Spence

Edited by Spence
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Joey - There are (or at least have been) several Atlas machines. The "good" models are made for them by an Italian firm called RAV and are pretty good machines. I tested a couple units and found them to be pretty accurate (within 1-2 10ths of a degree). This was using an Atlas scissor-type rack as well. Nicest thing about them was that you could buy a calibration bar and recalibrate them without paying for a service call, and you could run the whole system from any one of the wheel sensors.

 

Pay close attention to the different models, though. They had some lower line ones that were from a Chinese outfit that made pretty good tire machines, but were new to the wheel alignment scene. Those cheaper machines would probably be ok for a low volume guy, like someone that does restorations or works on his own, but for the everyday hard use of a shop, stick to the better Atlas models if you do decide to go with them.

 

At the time I was testing them, the better models could be identified by their 4 color coded controls. Don't know for sure if they are the same now. It's been a couple years ago.

 

I used to work for Greg Smith (GSES), the US distributor of the Atlas Edge machines. I did technical support and a little product development for them for a couple years (wheel service equipment mostly). They are ok to deal with on most things, but they don't have the field rep support like Hunter or some of the other guys. However, the RAV reps here in the USA were helping them with additional field support on the Edge machines when I left GSES about 2 yrs ago. Can't say if it's changed since then.

 

Hey Everyone,

 

I am in the market for a new alignment machine for my shop...

 

There are so many options out there and the price variance between brands is unreal. I have experience with the Hunter Hawkeye, but I don't think that what the machine does is justification for the price.

 

What machines do you guys use? What lifts do you use? Is your alignment bay also used for other work when you are not doing alignments?

 

The Atlas Edge 601 is a great price, but I don't know anyone that used it. Anyone here have any experience w/ it?

 

I don't want to get something used even though I am looking for something affordable.

 

Let me know what you all think...

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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