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Buying a Brake Lathe: What to Look Out For

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Buying a Brake Lathe: What to Look Out For

Nick C.
November 3, 2007

Brake lathes, like many pieces of equipment available to mechanics, are available from a variety of different manufacturers and distributors. Like most things, the quality of a brake lathe is dependant on many things, and some models are known and trusted better than others.

It is important to ensure that you know what you should be looking for when you’re buying a brake lathe, partly because you want to know that you have the right equipment for what you’ll be doing, but also because brake lathes can be expensive, and finding out that the lathe that you got isn’t the one that you wanted (after having spent thousands of dollars) is a very frustrating thing.

Look for the following when you are shopping around for a brake lathe: 1. Spindle motor – Different motors are available depending on your particular brake lathe. We recommend that you purchase a lathe with at least a 1 horsepower spindle motor.

2. Interchangeability – How easy is it to switch from drums to rotors? It may seem unimportant, but how much time do you really want to waste changing components? Certain brake lathes are able to change over quicker than others, and while brake drums are a rarity in today’s car market, chances are that you will be encountering them from time to time.

Make sure that the brake lathe that you buy is capable of turning both drums and rotors, as not only will you be able to work on more types of vehicles but you will also be able to accept more kinds of work.

3. Expandability – Many brake lathes can be expanded via the addition of tooling and various components. Suddenly your brake lathe can work on heavier duty materials, flywheels, and other components, saving you money as you no longer have to buy additional equipment.

4. Cost – This is (obviously) important. Brake lathes range from $1,500 to $10,000 (and more). How much are you willing to spend on a brake lathe? It may be wise to determine what features you want and at what cost you’re willing to spend before you go shopping.

5. Reliability – Some brake lathes are better known than others. Do a bit of reading and research before you buy a lathe. Check for information pertaining to reliability, performance, and maintenance.

Having all these aspects in mind before purchasing is really important for maximum results.

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Nick C recommends http://www.equiptool.com which provides a wide range of accesories for your car, truck or motorcycle. We specialize in Car Lifts, Tire Changers, Brake Lathes and Wheel Balancers. Visit our online store at http://www.equiptool.com and check all our stuff.



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