Equipment Essentials Series
Parts Washers: The main difference between manual and automated systems
Parts washers are basically pieces of equipment that aid you in cleaning machine parts. If you have a part that’s got layers of grease or build-up stuck to it, then you’re probably going to want to clean it before you put it back on—and this is where parts washers come in.
Basically every garage or shop is going to need one—but buying one is sometimes more complicated than you might think. The biggest choice you’ll probably face is whether to buy an automatic or manual parts washer—so this is what we’re going to talk about in this blog post.
Believe it or not, this choice might not always be quite as clear-cut as you may think. So in this post, we’re going to break down the benefits and advantages and try to help you navigate this initial, yet very important decision.
Manual parts washers
The main advantage to manual parts washers is that they’re much less expensive. They generally consist of some sort of basin that you then fill with cleaner. Cleaning parts basically consists of washing them in the cleaner with your own two hands. When the cleaner gets too dirty, you flush it and refill it.
That’s really all there is to it.
The main disadvantage to this type of a washer, however, is that it requires your constant time and attention. If you aren’t personally operating it, then parts aren’t going to get cleaned. Of course, if you have a ton of parts to clean during the day, you might find yourself spending too much time at the washer and not enough time on other things—which is why most professionals recommend that you upgrade to an automatic parts washer if you’re spending more than 45 minutes at your manual washer every day.
Automatic parts washers
The main disadvantage to automatic parts washers is the fact that they cost so much more. For smaller shops, spending that much money when they don’t have a ton of parts to clean might seem like a waste—which is why these types of shops may opt for a manual washer instead.
The main advantage to owning an automatic washer, however, is that it can operate without your attention. You simply throw parts into it, turn it on, and wait for it to finish. While it’s working, you can keep yourself busy with other things. You can continue to work on projects, clean up, help customers, etc.
For this reason, automatic parts washers are generally recommended for larger shops where cleaning parts takes up more than 45 minutes of time each day. If this number is used as a sort of ‘reference guide’, then most people agree that an automatic washer will pay for itself and make you money in the long run.
Of course, there are still a few things to consider—such as which type of automatic parts washer to buy. There are actually a few different styles, and all of them come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages.
But the main thing to keep in mind is that choosing which basic type you’re going to buy is the first and most important step. This initial purchase will require capital. You’re going to need to spend some money on it—so it’s important that you get the piece of equipment that’s right for your business.
There are definitely more things to consider in regard to this decision (manufacturer, warranty, price, quality, availability, style, etc.) than whether to buy automatic or manual—but remember that each feature will require a certain amount of research and thought if you want to maximize your investment. Make sure to think about how much the machine will be used and whether or not it seems like a good fit for your shop.
When you find a machine that seems perfect for you, make sure to check the warranty and ensure that you’re not going to be spending more than your budget will allow. Whether you are a small or large shop, automatic parts washers are just more convenient than the manual alternative and allow you to focus more of your time on growing your business. If you are experiencing budget restraints or have cash flow challenges, many automotive equipment dealers offer affordable leasing plans. Typically terms range from 12 to 60 months and monthly payments can be designed to meet your exact budgetary needs.
If everything checks out and you still feel good about it after looking at all of the applicable information, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to be happy with the purchase.