In-house machine shops are rarely found in most auto repair shops. But for those that have them, the mechanics can go far beyond diagnosing and servicing vehicles by repairing, re-engineering, or re-manufacturing automotive parts. The special equipment in an automotive shop with an in-house machine shop allows for specialized cuts, sanding, drilling, grinding, knurling (cut in patterns to allow for a better grip) and welding parts to customize or repair them. In-house machine shops are also used for the manufacture of parts in metal or plastic.
With this technology, mechanics can offer fully functional parts they need to complete a repair, customers receive a faster repair, and the one-stop service often saves them money.
Rebuilding Major Parts
For vehicles, machine shops are used to modify vehicle parts for repair, build custom add-ons or to improve performance by fine turning a part. They are used on parts for brakes, clutches, transmissions, drive lines, and engines. Examples include rebuilding engines, which is a lot less expensive than buying another car, and can double the life of the car while improving mileage and performance. Carsdirect.com points out another option machine shops can handle – modifying your vehicle to install a lower-mileage engine.
The same reasoning applies to rebuilt transmissions. It’s a cost-effective way to get a vehicle back on the road without resorting to purchasing a new car. Transmission rebuilds are a major service in most shops with in-house machinery.
Replacing and Upgrading Parts and Systems
Machine shops can also replace many parts on a vehicle with a stronger one to improve performance such as replacing manufacturer torque converters with more powerful ones that improve transmission resilience and help improve fuel economy.
Clutch replacement is a popular service for drivers who want to convert from an automatic to a manual shift for a more exciting driving experience or to simply save on gasoline. With manual shifting comes clutch repair, particularly for drivers learning to use a clutch.
If you want to follow the car in Bruce Springsteen’s Racing in the Streets, machine shops can install a fuelie head, but not for your ’69 Chevy: fuelie heads are for Corvettes and only the ’57 Chevy. The 396 engines were too big for them, apparently but a good shop can rebuild the heads.
Popular Mechanics notes that today’s manufacturers have done a good job redesigning a lot of car and truck systems to meet stricter emission and fuel efficiency standards. Still, there are upgrades that can boost performance and are best done in a machine shop to handle any necessary modifications:
- Adjustable top strut mounts and chassis braces that replace rubber mounts and improve alignment.
- Larger, noise-reduction back exhaust catalyst
- Stiffer motor mounts to improve engine response and precision handling
- Less restrictive cold air intake to boost engine efficiency at higher speeds
- Stainless steel braided brake lines for faster response and reduced rupturing