When it comes to some “do-it-yourselfers,” fixing up one’s own car is gratifying and worthwhile, more so than simply having a mechanic take care of everything. For such people here on base, the chance to do just that is given at the Auto Hobby Shop.
As outlined in the Air Force Skills Development Program, “Arts and Crafts programs must reflect the base community’s interests and needs.” Located on Michelle Street as a long-standing part of the base, the Auto Hobby Shop runs alongside other Air Force services and aims to meet these needs for card-carrying Luke personnel.
“Basically what we do is provide services for the base population,” said Don Harris, the Auto Hobby Shop manager. “It is set up primarily as a ‘do-it-yourself’ operation for eligible patrons to come in and work on their own vehicles. We provide assistance and guidance, and repair.”
As manager, Harris is responsible for “the operation of the auto skills shop, to include the supervision of the facility, assigned personnel, and enforcing all policies, procedures and regulations,” according to the shop’s operating instruction.
Harris and shop are limited in what help they can provide, due to the more complex designs of newer vehicles, but their assistance does include repairs of brake, coolant and exhaust systems, basic suspension, and minor tune ups of engines and transmissions.
Bringing in an outside, professional mechanic is not allowed, but patrons are not completely left to their own devices. Rendering this assistance are two civilian contractors who work out of the Auto Hobby Shop, something fairly unique about the facility. They are full service and have their own tools necessary for the majority of work a vehicle may need.
“We also have full-service auto body and collision assistance for any vehicles that meet the criteria,” Harris said. “They are a USAA star facility for the West Valley.”
There are two types of stalls available to rent – flat stalls costing $3 an hour and stalls with a lift costing $5 an hour. The use of the shop’s tools are included in those prices.
The Auto Hobby Shop is opened 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, on a first-come-first-served basis.