Six tips for setting up a car workshop at home

Carrying out automotive work can be a great hobby – or just a money saving project. Either way, you’ll need to consider the space, safety and skills required to carry out maintenance and repairs on a vehicle at home. Here’s some tips on setting up a home-based car workshop..

1. Budget comes first

You have to know what you can afford to spend on this project before you begin. You really don’t want to be left with a half-finished garage. Make a list of all the equipment you’ll need and be clear on what you hope to be able to achieve and how. If you don’t do the math, everything else falls apart.

2. Set up shop

Do you already have a large garage or outbuilding you want to convert? Ensure you have enough space in the building for your needs before you start construction. Ideally you want to have about 13-15 feet width for each vehicle you plan to house there.

You may also be considering creating a new structure for your workshop. If you want to build something from the ground up, choose a structure that will be durable, and can be customisable to your needs. This steel building guide will cover how to build a space that works for your garage, workshop and storage needs all in one.

3. Safety is key

This should be one of the first things you consider when creating your own workshop. Don’t cut corners – play by the book so you’re not at risk. Choose from a portable jack – one that can travel with you if needed – or invest in a hydraulic car jack if your budget and space allows. Ensure that you have correct insurance for your property or as a private mechanic for the type of work you’ll be doing too.

4. Create storage that works for you

You will need plenty of cupboards, a workbench, wall shelving and pegboards to hold all your gear. If you’re trying to make a small space into a plausible workshop then consider how to make the most of above head storage. Keeping family bikes, other sporting equipment or general boxes of junk on trusses will free up a bit of ground space for your workshop.

5. Pool noodles… yes, really

A good cheap trick to save you any harm and extra repair work is to buy a few pool noodles. You can use a foam noodle to cover any sharp edges around your workshop and this might be an inexpensive way to save some car doors from nasty dents.

6. Don’t forget lighting and comfort

Ensure you have sufficient lighting to carry out your work. Whether you are underneath a vehicle or inside the hood, you’ll need to be able to see what you’re doing, without having to hold a torch in your mouth. You’ll potentially be spending a lot of time in this workshop, so install heating and cooling units so that you can work comfortably in all weathers. 

Car repair can be mentally and physically demanding and rewarding, so enjoy your new workshop in comfort and security knowing you’ve created the best setup you can.

Tom Brown
Tom Brown is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United States. He holds a diverse background in automotive marketing and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.