Jamison Guice, Campus Carrier features editor
Kelsee Brady, Campus Carrier asst. features editor
Mya Sedwick, Campus Carrier staff writer
There are many auto repair shops available in Rome where a person can take their car when it is experiencing problems. However, the availability of so many shops may create confusion when choosing where to go. Below includes information, such as prices on basic maintenance, warranty polices and even general car maintenance tips given by four auto repair shops that the Carrier staff hand-picked.
Mike Ford’s Auto Services
Located only two miles away from campus at 531 W. 12th St., Mike Ford’s Auto Services offers a variety of services such as oil changes, tire rotations, general repairs on vehicles and more. Owner Mike Ford said they accept drive-ups; however, calling ahead is preferred. Ford said they offer set prices on basic maintenance such as an oil change.
The price of an oil change may be slightly higher at Mike Ford’s Auto Services compared to other places at the rate of $42.89, because while it is being serviced, the mechanics also check transmission and wiper fluid, tires and air filters.
“The biggest thing is, if you live in North Carolina and you’re ready to go home, you don’t have to wonder if your car is ready because we’ve checked all of your tires, we’ve checked your spare and we make sure you know where your spare is,” Ford said. “Not just for college students, but for everybody.”
Ford said the business buys their parts from different parts stores. He said that when looking for parts, they look for quality. It is difficult to find good parts from stores that will last, so they buy from stores like Advance, AutoZone, O’Reilly Auto Parts and the National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA).
“Quality of parts is a real issue today,” Ford said. “It’s very difficult to get quality parts, some parts like remanufactured alternators right now, we’ve had a very difficult time for the last two years to get one on quality.”
In recent years, Ford said he has noticed some common car care mistakes when customers come into the shop. First, he said not to Google the problem and then buy the car part. Unless the person is able to properly diagnose the problem, Ford said that this can prove to be unreliable since it may not be the correct part. For example, he said a car scan offered at a parts store is not specific enough when trying to find what is exactly wrong with a car.
When experiencing car troubles, Ford recommends going to a mechanic shop that is trustworthy and provides a warranty on parts and services.
The Garage (Knight’s Garage)
The Garage is one of the local auto repair shops college students can visit when experiencing car troubles. Also known as Knight’s, it was named after the Knight family who has been a part of Rome’s independent auto industry since the 1970s. According to Service Manager Trina Rohner, The Garage is understanding of students’ busy schedules and tries to accommodate them to the best of their ability.
Rohner said students do not have to wait on their car while it is being worked on and do not need an appointment for services. The Garage even provides transportation back to the college, so the students do not have to wait while their car is being serviced. This is especially convenient since The Garage is located at 1321 Martha Berry Blvd. NE. and is about one-and-a-half miles away from Berry, so it is a quick commute.
“We can work while you work, is kind of our motto,” Rohner said.
Rohner said that, while their prices may not be the cheapest, they are fair and the parts used are quality. She said she trusts in the products she purchases from AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts and assures customers that they are getting the best quality for their money.
“I look at a non-factory part versus a factory part and then from my experience, what’s going to be the best thing for you,” Rohner said.
The Garage provides estimates before they begin work on vehicles. Basic services such as tire rotations and oil changes are reasonably priced, according to Rohner. On most cars, a standard oil change is about $36.95, and a tire rotation is $16.95.
Payment for services is requested after the vehicle is worked on, and there is a 12 month or 12,000 mile warranty on most parts and services that extends nationwide. Though they do not have an in-house towing service available, Rohner said she will recommend a specific company to customers.
As winter approaches, cars require special attention during the cold weather.
“One, tire pressure is always the number one,” Rohner said. “Tire pressure and tire wear is extremely important. Keeping your battery checked, and keeping your fluids fresh and keeping them clean is the key to longevity.”
For more information about The Garage, visit thegaragerome.com.
Matt Lloyd Automotive
Matt Lloyd, owner of Matt Lloyd Automotive, said his company’s primary parts supplier is Carquest, but they also use TechMet shops. He said TechMet shops require vendors to meet certain qualifications such as training and a two-year warranty on parts. Lloyd said his shop does not use store-brand parts, but rather they purchase the best parts.
In Rome, students have the choice of going to an auto repair shop such as Matt Lloyd Automotive, which is located at 195 John Davenport Dr., or a parts store like AutoZone. However, an auto shop and parts store offer different services. Lloyd said at AutoZone, if a person pulls in with the check engine light on, they will run a diagnostic test which assesses any problems within the vehicle. Then, he said AutoZone will likely sell you a part which may or may not fix the problem.
“One benefit of us is we don’t throw parts at cars to see if it’ll fix it,” Lloyd said.
If students plan on going to Matt Lloyd Automotive, they should know that drive-ups are available for problems like the check engine light being on. However, Lloyd said they prefer basic maintenance services to be scheduled. He said the wait period after initial drop-off is about three to four days.
Also, he said estimates are given up front and the bill has to be paid once the car is ready to be picked up. However, a price is agreed upon before work is begun on the car. For example, an oil change is different for each vehicle. Due to the wide array of oil types that can be put into various cars, there is not a standard price on oil changes.
“We are competitive with Brake Master, Quick Tune and Lube, Burt Brooks Tires,” Lloyd said.
While they do not have an in-house towing service, Lloyd said he has also used Danny’s Towing for thirty years, which provides twenty-four hour service. Berry students and staff are also offered transportation back to campus while their cars are being worked on.
Western Tires & Service
Western Tires & Service is located in West Rome, about four miles away from campus at 1900 Shorter Ave. At Western Tires & Service, Manager Moses Medina said work experience is important. The certified mechanics at the shop have passed a general knowledge test that verifies their skills. Medina also said that many of their mechanics have more than 25 years of experience on cars.
“Not being certified, that doesn’t mean you don’t know what you are doing, but sometimes it’s just you just don’t want to take the test,” Medina said.
Western Tires & Service buys their parts from about six suppliers because the shop focuses on same-day delivery. So, with more suppliers, the shop is able to have more options with stores such as AutoZone, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Advance Auto Parts.
“What we care about is to have that part as soon as it is possible,” Medina said.
The shop has a first-in, first-out policy, according to Medina. As a result, appointments made over the phone are not allowed. They accept and encourage drive-ups.
The price of an oil change ranges from $25.99 to $35.99 depending on the size of the vehicle’s cylinders or the size of the engine. If a car has six cylinders then the price will be about $29.99, according to Medina. The price is subject to change, however, depending on the current price of oil.
Before the car is worked on, Medina said an estimate is provided. He said the workers will talk about the vehicle’s problem and then the potential cost of the part and labor. Once serviced, payment is due in full. He said they do not accept financing.
Also, a one-year warranty on parts is provided along with a 90-day warranty on labor. For example, Medina said if the shop replaces a car’s starter and it fails performance-wise before the 90-day warranty is over, then it will be replaced for free.
“Whatever happens after the 90 days, you have a free part and you just have you pay the labor,” Medina said.
Medina often sees customers come into the shop who tried to fix their vehicle themselves but instead made the problem worse. If a person does not have knowledge in car mechanics, Medina advises them to take the vehicle to an auto repair shop. He said a professional’s opinion can be more helpful than the internet.