When Cheap Garage Cabinets Are Really Expensive

📅 February 03, 2020

⏱️2 min read

Be warned: Consumers often experience sticker shock when they first look at some of the higher-end garage storage systems. If you are an automobile mechanic, however, you should probably not buy any garage cabinets unless and until you can afford the premium brands and models. When it comes to garages that need to support serious automotive work, cheap garage storage can turn out to be very expensive.

Let's face it. Most garage storage solutions are meant to house off-season clothing, sports equipment, Christmas stuff, a smattering of hand tools, painting supplies and/or gardening items. While each of those things requires its own storage solution, none of them presents the more demanding requirements of an auto mechanic. First, automotive tools and parts are heavy. A drill that cuts through metal is bulkier than the Black and Decker version wielded by the average weekend warrior. It has a bigger motor, stronger housing and applies more torque. Even the socket wrenches used for automotive work are heavier gauge than the K-Mart special you may have received as a Father's Day present.

If you put these heavy tools in a flimsy cabinet or in a drawer with an unreinforced plywood bottom, you are asking for trouble. Sooner rather than later, the storage cabinets will begin to break down, or the bases will fall out of the drawers. Affordable solutions that aren't lasting solutions are rarely a good idea.

Second, automotive spaces need to stay clean, and metal cabinetry cleans up better. (It looks better, too!) The image of the auto mechanic as a grease monkey is simply false, especially when calibrating ECMs, adjusting headlamp directions and doing other things that require precision. A stainless steel cabinet can not only hold the weight, but you can keep it clean and see when the tools get a bit dirty.

Homeowners who use their garage for auto mechanics will also need to invest in a rolling tool chest. This is likely to be the most expensive piece of storage equipment they buy, but it is also the most important. The chest needs to house all sorts of different wrench sets -- from small Torx wrenches to large spanners -- along with the host of specialty tools that modern cars require. Each tool system requires its own storage area, and a rolling tool chest is absolutely the best solution. Likewise, a workbench that can accommodate heavy metal parts and significant banging, grinding, drilling and other heavy-duty work is an essential component for this sort of "working" garage.