Archive

Archive for the ‘Our Shop’ Category

They don’t make tow trucks like this anymore!

They don't make tow trucks like this anymore!

Advertisements
Categories: Auto Repair, Our Shop

Changing Your Oil is Like Brushing Your Teeth

Wow! It’s been quite a while! But we’re baaaccckkk!

None of us like going to the dentist out of fear of getting a bad report card from our dentist. Many of us are also probably afraid of taking our vehicles to the repair shop for the same reasons because we know we’ve been negligent in routine check ups and maintenance.

Changing the oil in your car is like brushing your teeth. You can forget to brush your teeth every so often  but forget too many times,  and you’ll be paying more out of pocket at the dentist. The same goes for changing your oil. You can forget to change your oil every so often, but forgetting too often or too many times leads to sludge build-up in your engine which can result in a  big repair bill. Here at Adolf Hoepfl Garage, we want to help you avoid that.

Changing your oil is the cheapest way to ensure your car is going to last a long time. But how long can you go between oil changes? Car companies in the old days said  could go no further than 3,000 miles (or 5,000 with synthetic) without changing your oil. But nowadays Chrysler now says you can go 7,000 miles; Honda says you can go 10,000.  But  this is at a time when car companies are struggling to sell more vehicles. Just as there are new and improved toothpastes, there are new and improved oils and vehicles. But we have to ask ourselves if the new oils and cars are really that much better than the old ones. New and improved toothpaste doesn’t mean you stop brushing your teeth as often, and the same can be said about oil changes. Think how much longer your engine will last with regular, traditional maintenance schedules. To play it smart, it’s good to have a routine for changing your oil every 3,000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first. Many of our customer cars have over 250,000 to 300,000 miles on them!

We’re here to help you remember to change your oil routinely. Just like you have to learn good brushing habits, you have to learn good maintenance intervals. We’ll send you a letter in the mail or by e-mail reminding you when it’s time to change your oil. Also, we provide Car Care Clinics throughout the year where we’ll teach you where the fluids are in your vehicle so you can check them for yourself and be able to tell when it’s time to get something changed.

One Thing Always Leads to Another

Our Anniversary Bench

Three years ago, a customer named Lorine came in to have her car worked on, and we started chatting.  She told me about a great cafe  inside a historic hotel in Blessing, Texas.  The hotel was established  in 1906 when the town of Blessing was a major train stop. She went on and on about the home cooked food, the atmosphere, the friendly people, and my mouth was watering just to hear her talk about it.  Our 29th wedding was coming up and my husband and I decided that would be a fun thing to do.

So, on June 3, 2007, off we went to Blessing, Texas.  For some reason, we left late, probably because of something at the shop so we didn’t pull into the parking lot until 2:05 p.m.  For those of you who wonder where Blessing is, it’s not far from the coast between Victoria and Palacios, Texas.  It’s really in the middle of nowhere, and it’s a very small town. We found the hotel easily, walked in, and an elderly lady wearing a large white apron said, “We just closed five minutes ago.”

The Blessing Cafe and Hotel

By this time, we were hungry, and I was devastated. It’s our anniversary and THE PLACE we had picked to celebrate was closed.  I could feel the tears welling up and big fat lump rising in my throat. This was supposed to be a blessed occasion, and I didn’t feel blessed.

What to do?

The lady was nice enough to let us look around, but we left because we were in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday with  no place to eat.

Palacios was less than an hour away and it was the only city anywhere on the map. So off we headed in a stony silence.

Fortunately, we found a nice seafood restaurant and had a good meal.  Then we decided as long as we were there, we might as well look around Palacios and see what there was.

Off the main road was a shop called Texas Furniture owned by Glen Barnette.  When we walked into to his work shop, Sybren immediately noticed that Glen was building model airplanes, the kind Sybren used to fly in his teens.  So he and Glen hit it off right away.  While they’re talking up a storm like they’ve been friends for 50 years, I noticed Glen’s cabinets, tables and chairs, a model of an Australian house Glen hoped to build one day, and I remembered that we had wanted a bench for our customers to sit on outside while they were waiting for their ride.

I had a paper towel in my purse, and I sketched out what we wanted.  A big oak bench that could seat five, with cup holders on each end, curved legs and most important, a Texas Star centered in  the back.

Glen said he could do it, and it would take about a month and a half.  We left a deposit and drove back to Houston, much happier than when we left Blessing.

Six weeks later, we drove back to Blessing.  Got there at 11:30 a.m.  We loved the meal.  It was every bit as good as Lorine promised it would be.  Then we headed to Palacios and picked up our beautiful anniversary bench.

Food is served on antique stove tops.

When we brought it to the shop, we realized that it was too nice to set outdoors without a plan.  So, for several months it sat inside one of the bays while we tried to think of how we could use it without it getting stolen, getting ruined, or being a hassle. Nothing came to us, so it just sat there gathering dust.

Then one day, one of our customers let us know that one of the two chairs inside the waiting room was broken.  Someone too heavy had sat in it and bent it out of shape.

We had to have a replacement right away.  We often have customers who wait and they had to have a place to sit.  Then we remembered!  The bench.  We took out the chairs and lo and behold, the bench was a perfect fit.  It was meant to be.

Sometimes, when all the customers have left and we’ve closed the shop, we’ll sit on our bench and hold hands.  We now know how blessed we are.

Our Anniversary Bench

Rain Brings Memories of Flood

It’s been raining off and on all day today.  This reminds me of  how I used to worry every time it rained.

Will the shop flood?

Our business is not in a flood plain, but it’s situated at a low spot where Shepherd’s inlets clog easily.  We had them cleaned out about seven months ago, and so far we haven’t had any rain in the shop since.

In the past, our shop flooded a couple times a year.  At the first sign of water coming into the shop, I would make a beeline to the closet and grab my galoshes.  I would pick up any boxes with parts and get everything off the floor.  I even bought special bed risers from IKEA  for our waiting room bench.  It’s our anniversary bench and I didn’t want it ruined.

When it would start to rain really hard really fast, our technicians dropped what they were doing, grabbed  push brooms and prepared to shove water out the bay doors.

The water would first seep, then pour into the parking lot as cars whizzed by.  The fact that the street was virtually invisible did not deter motorists from plowing ahead at the highest possible speed.  Soon, car-generated waves would roll into the shop.  It also flooded  from the rear when the side street went under water.

When the flooding began, we established a rhythm: a wave rolls in; we push it out.  One or two men would be stationed at each bay to repel the water.

Another tech would grab the sandbags that our founder Adolf  Hoepfl had set aside for this purpose and pile them in front of the office door.  If the rain was really bad, we would use a pulley and hoist the state inspection machine out of its hole in the ground in order to keep it dry.

When it was over, we set up giant fans all over the place to dry out the floor when it was all over.

I am so glad that doesn’t happen anymore. That was a lot of work.