News: Auto Hobby Shop teaches auto skills
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Whether service members and their families want to learn how to work on their vehicles or just save money Marine Corps Community Services’ Auto Hobby Shop is the way to go.
People enter Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s Auto Hobby Shop to work on their vehicles, hoping to get some routine work done, an oil change, or to replace brake pads. Others are customizing their vehicles and working on their ‘hot rods’.
Mike Bray, the manager of the Auto Hobby Shop, said that at some places if a patron does not know how to do something they are on their own. That’s never the case at the hobby shop.
“Here, it's like a school,” said Bray. “You come in and we want you to know how to do it. You may not know how to do it this time, but next time you’ll know more until you can do it alone. At that point, we’ve done our job.”
With five Automotive Service Excellence certified staff members and a master technician, the staff members are able to field most questions and take pride in assisting patrons.
“I’m proud of all of the guys,” said Bray. “They’re here for the right reasons, for the Marines, the sailors and their families.”
Using a system called ALLDATA, the hobby shop is able to provide factory-correct diagnostics, repairs and collision information for vehicles. This information is printed and given to patrons for reference while working on their vehicles. If they have any questions, employees make themselves available at the shop to assist.
The shop has 23 bays, some of which have lifts to raise the vehicle. Each bay comes with a toolbox, and there is also a toolroom for specialty equipment.
Some fall under the misconception that they may be judged if they’re new to working on vehicles.
“They’re nervous,” said Bray. “They’re afraid the guy in the stall next to them is going to laugh at them, 80 percent of the people who come here are learning. Once we explain that to them they become regulars.”
Patrons have been known to rotate back through the shop as they advance their careers. A Marine Bray met as a lance corporal recently came back as a master sergeant. There was a service member who drove down from his new duty station in Virginia to use the shop.
“That’s what we’re looking for,” said Bray. “We want everyone to be that comfortable here.”
“Mo” Morris, the automatic mechanic leader, is a hot rod enthusiast who is a National Hot Rod Association member and takes part in races. He often helps patrons who are working on their own project cars.
“Some guys come in to hang out with their friends while they work on their cars,” said Morris. “They modify their suspension, they modify their brakes, or they’ll build a ‘hot rod.' However, we encourage them to take their racing to the drag strip.”
Others come based on necessity. They have problems they need to solve and the hobby shop is an affordable place to do it.
“I believe there is no comparison between our shop and the shops out in town,” said Bray. “The shops in town may do their best to give [the military community] good service, but they are out there to make money. Our facility exists to save them money.”
Date Posted:03.16.2012 11:08
Location:CAMP LEJEUNE, NC, US
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