Feature Search

Auto Hobby Shop empowers community for do-it-yourself repairs

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jacob Skovo
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs

The electrical hum of yellow automotive lifts drowns out the popular rock songs emanating from a radio in the maintenance bays of the Andersen Auto Hobby Shop.

In different corners of the garage, both seasoned and amateur mechanics dig through assorted vehicle parts under a lifted car, peer over an engine cavity and pry off tight lug nuts to rotate tires.

The shop is a self-help facility for valid Department of Defense ID card holders over the age of 16. For a low fee, patrons can rent lifts, working spaces and tools needed for their auto repair project.

“Customers can come in, rent the bays and perform their own repairs, and we are here to provide that assistance so that if they do need help we’re there,” said Syomi Dodd, 36th Force Support Squadron director of skills development programs. “We provide step-by-step instructions and help them when it becomes too technical.”

A variety of classes taught by shop employees are scheduled throughout the week. By attending the classes, customers can learn to align their cars, change their oil, run diagnostic scans, replace brakes and repair tires. Appointments may also be made to take a class outside of the scheduled window. Additionally, the shop provides vehicle storage for extended projects and deployments.

 “Let’s say someone walks in today and they need an oil change. While we don’t change the oil for them, we will guide them through the process,” Dodd said. “We provide classes and walk them through lifting the vehicle and draining and replacing the oil.”

Shop users save money by taking advantage of the opportunity to service their own vehicles. Many specialized tools available at the garage are unrealistic for an individual to purchase for home use.

“We redid the whole front end suspension of my truck here,” said Staff Sgt. Josh Snyder, 36th Munitions Squadron conventional maintenance crew supervisor. “We couldn’t have done it at my house. The lifts and tools here helped a lot.”

Shop instructors also perform Guam vehicle safety inspections and provide assistance during more technical repairs when customers may encounter obstacles they do not yet know how to tackle. This, Dodd said, may help novices gain confidence through the classes offered at the garage.

“They’re life skills that once you’re taught, it’s like riding a bike,” Dodd said. “If you learn how to do it, you’re saving money in the long run as well.”

Many customers of the shop are surprised at how simple some routine car maintenance can be – and realize they do not need to rely on commercial mechanics for simple tasks, said Ken Roserie, an Andersen Auto Hobby Shop mechanical helper.

“After I taught a customer to change her brakes, she was like, ‘What? That’s it? That’s all we have to do?’ and she was happy. That made my day,” Roserie said. “She’s like ‘I can’t believe they’re charging me $350 to do this.’ I showed her the front and she completed her back brakes on her own.”

Social Media