Name of tool: Engine Vac
What it does: Enables fast oil changes in warm engines while dramatically reducing technician error
How it works: A wand is inserted into the oil pan through the dipstick tube. The oil is vacuumed out of the engine in about two and a half minutes.
Key advantages: Because the tech does not remove the oil drain plug, there is no chance he or she will strip the threads or forget to tighten the plug properly. Oil spillage from draining is eliminated, which reduces the need for cleanups and could lessen slip-and- fall accidents on the shop floor.
Infrastructure requirements: Wall- or floor-mounted units need a metal pipe to the used-oil recovery tank and an overflow protection system that shuts off Engine Vac when the tank is full. Cost to install is between $1,000 and $2,000, says Jim Moore, a regional manager of Samson Corp., which manufactures the system.
Maintenance required: Waste-oil filter must be cleaned weekly; inner air filter must be cleaned monthly. Suction hose requires monthly inspection
Special training: Techs need to learn how to select the proper size suction hose and insert it into the dipstick tube down to the bottom of the crankcase.
Where it's available: Engine Vac is marketed to new-vehicle dealerships through a business unit of Motorcars Honda called Next Gen Express. It is also available under its Samson brand name, EvacMaster, from petroleum supply distributors, automotive equipment distributors and several automakers' approved tool programs.
Who bought it: Motorcars Honda, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Cost: $1,995 for wall-mounted unit and $2,499 for portable unit through nextgenexpress.com. Prices vary elsewhere.
Comment: Oil services are generally not large profit centers for dealership service departments, so reducing time and tech error is crucial. This machine does both. Combined with either a pit or an efficient lift to get techs underneath the vehicle for access to the oil filter, Engine Vac can help dealerships win back business from quick oil change stores.
Name of tool: Ajon Mobility Device
What it does: Enables a vehicle whose suspension system has been removed to be pushed out of a bay easily while it awaits parts, freeing the service bay for other jobs
How it works: Adjustable mounting brackets bolt to a vehicle's frame or unibody after the suspension or subframe is removed. The vehicle can be lowered from the lift and pushed away.
Key advantages: It's light. It's compact. It's simple to use. It's affordable. And because it is adjustable, it fits everything from a Mini Cooper to a Chevrolet Silverado 3500.
Infrastructure requirements: None
Maintenance required:Lubrication for wheels and sliding assembly
Special training: None
Where it's available: General Motors-approved parts program for GM dealers. For other dealers, ajonmobility.com
Who bought it: About 75 dealers, including Martin Chevrolet, Torrance, Calif.
Cost: $895 from the manufacturer; price varies through GM tools program
Comment: A service bay idled by a dismembered vehicle waiting for parts loses revenue. Ajon Mobility Device lets technicians open multiple repair orders at the same time. "This device has saved us from lost productivity due to vehicles down on our racks," says Ben Guetterman, service director at Martin Chevrolet. "What happened before is that the rack was just down while the technician waited for parts. We bought two, and they have already paid for themselves."